Four Villages charity donations

A big thank you to everyone who opted to donate their refund from the 2015 Essar Four Villages Half Marathon to our charity partners.

We’re delighted to announce we’ve been able to donate over £25,000 to local groups involved in the race and our two local hospices, Halton Haven Hospice in Runcorn and the Hospice of the Good Shepherd in Chester. We’ve already had fantastic feedback on the difference this money will make to these organisations. So a big thank you again.

We’re now planning for 2016 and are making some changes to try to ensure the weather doesn’t beat us again. As you may remember, we asked all 2015 entrants if it should be moved to later in the year. Around 1,500 entrants responded and over 70% wanted it to remain in January.

We’re pleased to let you know next year’s race will take place on Sunday 17 January 2016. Entries open 1 October 2015. Check back in September for entry details. We hope to welcome you again to our race in January.

Best wishes,

The Helsby Four Villages Half Marathon Team

Mike McShane

Mike McShane

Typical Mike (with hat) helping out last month at the Sandstone Trail Challenge. Efficient, self-deprecating, genial.

With great sadness we report the death of our stalwart member Mike McShane. Clubmate Mike Searle who knew Mike for over 20 years and also worked with him at Body4Life was asked by the family to speak at Mike’s service yesterday, 15 June (and with a fellow club member also on the funeral staff, it was a family affair in many senses of the word). Newer members of the club may be surprised to hear just how fast and how keen Mike was in his hard racing days!

I’m delighted to report back that we were able to give Mike McShane a very good send-off with plenty of ‘Green Army’ Hoodies in evidence. Mike’s family were very grateful for everyone’s attendance and they were delighted with our choice of ‘hi-visibility’ garments!

I first met Mike over 20 years ago when I ran for the first time with Helsby Running Club. Mike kindly shepherded me around the mid-week club run and over the following years he shepherded me a whole lot more. Mike was there with help and support when I was setting up my business 13 years ago and he was always there with help and advice throughout each of the next 13 years. We also trained together and travelled to races together.

The full tribute is here — not because Mike doesn’t deserve the space but precisely because the words should stay around longer than it takes them to drop off the first page.

Essar four villages half marathon on Facebook

facebook2The four villages half marathon now has its own Facebook page at

twitterFollow us on twitter at
#4vhm #greenarmy

Four villages half marathon

Sandstone trail challenge

Sandstone trail challenge 2014Many thanks to everyone who walked, ran and helped out. We had a great day, despite starting in a downpour and the miles of mud!

Full results for 2014 are available, Andy’s 2014 report about the event is up, with a few photos. There are over three hundred photos up on our flickr site now, with a few more to come.

See you on 9 May 2015!

Sandstone trail challenge

Sandstone trail challenge 2013Wow, what a day! Just a quick note to say thanks all for everyone that walked, ran, volunteered, photographed, cheered, baked and turned out. Andy Robinson and his team did a fantastic job and I’m sure you’d all join me in congratulating him on another superb event.

Loads of pictures from the day on

Go here for the results

Andy Robinson’s race report

Thanks to Ben for the picture

Leave a comment and let us know how your day went!

Joe Beswick and the Olympic torch live

Hi all

Firstly many thanks for the kind emails that people have sent me for organising the day. I think it organised itself really, just happy that Joe’s day couldn’t have gone any better. (Hadn’t put any sunscreen on, so I didn’t want to be burnt that day anyway.)

Steve Riley and I have added some photos to the Helsby Flickr Site as below. They hopefully go somewhere to showing how honoured and happy Joe is plus the excitement and warmth that the whole of Macclesfield and Joe’s family and friends showed.

I’ve added the name of the photographer although the better ones of mine were actually taken by Bill, so thanks to Bill for those.

Also available, and I presume for a limited time only is Joe’s TV appearance! It’s on i-player link below (but you may need Adobe Flashplayer installed to watch it). Joe’s on at about 25 minutes in and you can fast forward if you need too.

Big thanks to Chris Ashbrook for downloading Joe’s live run and allowing the world to view it on youtube, I’m sure I’m not the only one who has now watched it numerous times!

Thanks to everyone who has commented on the blog, one highlight for me was knowing Andy Smith was watching live in Australia. The world is a large place but people like Joe do their part for making it smaller and better. If you haven’t commented on the blog then please do.

I was going to write a short account of the day but decided after reading some words Mario wrote that they summarise the day fantastically and I’d be unable to add more. I’m glad so many were able to share the day and it was fabulous to meet all of Joe’s family and his sister Doreen who does as much as Joe in her own wayfor he community! So in the words of Mario….

Thirty first of May Two Thousand and Twelve was the year

‘twas the year that Joe with His torch would appear.

Close to the route was Beswick Street

Where Joe would proceed with His pattering feet.

Cheering Him along would be the Helsby Brigade

Who throughout all the years Joe would have given His aide.

For someone like Joe with His torch in hand

He must have felt like the proudest man in the land.

Mario  x

Thanks again


If you do watch Joe then please comment on the blog!

Gareth Boyd Race Report London Marathon 2012

Well Marathon number 8 is run/completed and whilst I’m doing a bit of a ‘robot walk’ on the whole, 24 hours after the VLM I’m moving ok. 4 weeks ago, even getting fit and ready for the start line was 50 50 (tendonitis) but by doing this radical new thing called ‘stretching’ and having acupuncture (thank you Jane A!), I was able to join my wife at Blackheath. The Harry Hill costume was a real crowd pleaser (see attached) and I’d lost count by the first 6 miles of how many ‘Come On Harry’ shouts I’d heard. Admittedly, I was surprised that a few spectators thought I was the radical chef- Heston B?!  However, the limited vision, warmer than anticipated weather and lack of training miles took its toll and after approx 19 miles, I lost the desire to wave continuously and just wanted to get it over with. Hats off to the ‘real’ fancy dressed runners – the rhinos etc – incredible and many with such fast times – at around mile 21 for instance, I was overtaken by a ‘dog’ called Alfie. A finish time of 4.08.03 was a tad disappointing but at least, a) I had no injury problems during the race, b) I overtook Iwan Thomas and c) I’d beaten my wife (she finished in a pb of 4.26.53).Obviously a BIG shout goes out to Jane A for another GREAT finishing time. Thank you for all the support and once again, a BIG thank you to Helsby Running club for giving me the opportunity to run this amazing event.

 Harry Hill London 2012

Many thanks



Runcorn town park NW XC results 15th Jan 2012

Hi all

Results are now available for the North West Series XC held at Town Park Runcorn 15th January 2012, see below for link

Some cold weather hardened what is usually a muddy course but with a beautiful blue sky and frost on the ground a near perfect day for cross country ensued.

Photos in the blog below courtesy of Mick Charman of Spectrum

Other photos online courtesy of Dave Pinnington of Penny Lane

Once again the Helsby ladies continued to impress which has now put them in lead position for the team results to date, so be sure to congratulate them! The mens team are currently 5th.

Many thanks also to the support on the day from Mario and Joe and friends and family and also to Kathryn Roberts who helped marshall on the day.

Helsby positions and places as follows:

Mens Results

10th Adair Broughton
59th Roy Gaskill
81st Steve Riley
91st Adrian Jackson
116th Andy Smith

Ladies Results

3rd Jayne Joy
4th Jane Ashbrook
16th Janet Robertson
17th Rachel Arnold

Please note the next NW XC will be on 5th February at Walton Hall Park, Liverpool, details will follow regarding that race.

Dunham massey 5k results 27th may 2011

Hi all

Please find attached results for the Dunham Massey 5k Friday May 27th 2011

Five runners out for Helsby with positions and times below

96th         Geoff SHAW                      20.32

135th      Janet ROBERTSON           21.46

139th      Vanessa GRIFFITHS         21.55

149th      Carol SHAW                        22.17

201st       Janet SHAW                       25.48

Joe was also out on the night supporting.

If anyone knows of any photos to link to then please let me know