Four villages (almost!) full

Entries are now closed as the race nears its race limit. There are a handful of invites and manual entries to take care of. After that the race will reopen for the final few of places (less than 50). These places will again be via the Fabian website as before.

You can check you’re on the existing start list here:

See you in January!

Essar four villages half marathon on Facebook

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Four villages half marathon

Four villages festival of wind and running

Thanks to all our marshalls, volunteers, runners and spectators. Another brilliant event!

Some tough running conditions saw a Tipton Harriers 1-2 in the Helsby Four Villages Half Marathon this weekend. Martin Williams lead home the field in 1:08:32, with 89 seconds in hand over team mate Ben Gamble, who improved on two 4ths and two 3rds in consecutive previous years (albeit in a slower time, giving some idea of the conditions). Christian Prior, City of Chester Triathlon, completing the podium and first from a local club, a further 28 seconds behind.

This was the 31st edition of a highly regarded opener to many people’s season. The first race was established as a local answer to the first London Marathon. Both events draw an incredibly loyal and friendly crowd, with the Four Villages ever popular with north west club runners as well as attracting high quality club entrants from further afield, together with a healthy cohort of civilians.

In the women’s race local Gemma Connolly was first home in 1:21:05, improving on last year’s 4th, followed by Belgrave’s Louise Blizzard just 4 places behind and first F40, getting closer to a PB time set 8 years ago. Completing the trio another travelling runner, this time from the East Midlands, Nicki Nealin of Huncote Harriers (another strong F40).

The strong and blustery winds and an exposed course, meant that the course record was never under threat. Nevertheless further down the field were numerous PBs — including Adair Broughton first from host club Helsby RC in 24th with 1:17:49 — on what’s never an easy course. The steady climbing from mile 7 to 10 normally finds out any weakness in legs nearing their limit.

Despite the unpredictable wind, the weather gave us a good temperatures for running and a massive improvement on some forecasts. A personal highlight was seeing clubmate Dave Feakes get a pretty respectable PB on his 50th birthday. A great race, that always gets good feedback. Here’s to the next one!

Steve Riley

More pics at

Dave Pinnington’s pics on Flickr

Results and event video over on the main site at


Women’s results
Gemma Connolly 01:21:05 St Helens Sutton (55th overall)
Louise Blizzard 1:22:00 Belgrave Harriers (59)
Nicki Nealin 1:23:32 Huncote Harriers (70)

Men’s results
Martin Williams 1:08:32 Tipton Harriers
Ben Gamble 1:10:01 Tipton Harriers
Christian Prior 1:10:29(PB) City of Chester Triathlon Club

Summer hill handicap june 2011

Many thanks to Phil for having the vision to get this thing going, thanks also to Richard and Bev for the feast afterwards. And also to everyone else who helped out marshalling, taking pics, etc.

Congratulations to Lesley for a triumphal run!

Report from Phil below

Generally we all know our position in a race, we line up with the people of the same pace and end up having a few battles but those of us at the back never see what’s going on at the front and vice-versa.Handicaps are different

The fast ones who start last are not used to going through the field like butter (unless of course they turn up late) and the less fast of us who start off first are not used to the special feeling of finding the route and being chased…………and so it turned out on Wednesday 29th June, the date of the Helsby Running club summer handicap.
The event started off with Jackie marking out the course in the afternoon, Helen and her team of marshals meeting in the quarry car park and walking to their positions and, of course, all the runners meeting at the club at 18:30. The race starts off with a steep climb so the short run from the club to the quarry acts as a good opportunity to warm up, especially those calf muscles which can go twang and mean the end of your summer running.
Instructions were given and the first two runners; Betty and Lesley set off to thunderous applause, isn’t it funny how long a minute can seem when you see your fellow competitors sprint off into the distance, you want to chase them down but are held back by the seconds slowly slowly ticking away. Despite much creeping over the start line, all the runners set off safely.
As a spectator one of the advantages of a 2 lap course is the ability to see the race develop, after the first lap it was clear that Lesley and Betty had spent most of the year running well within themselves in order to get an advantageous handicap – they were streets ahead of the rest. However there were a few middle packers and faster runners who were looking useful.
The finishing straight along Middle Walk is thick with foliage and the first sign of our winner was a flash of fluorescent orange shirt streaming through the leaves like the first ray of sunshine of a summer’s dawn, followed by Betty’s beaming smile with Ivan rushing home next with the urgency of an expectant father.
A quick jog back to the club and showers were followed by a feast prepared by Bev and Richard and the summer handicap was over for another year
    Handicap time   Actual time  
Name Position Minutes Seconds Minutes Seconds
Lesley Feakes 1 25 53 25 53
Betty 2 27 24 27 24
Ivan Davies 3 27 32 20 32
Gareth Boyd 4 27 48 20 48
Dave Feakes 5 28 12 23 12
Colin 6 28 19 21 19
Jane Ashbrook 7 28 21 21 21
Mike Searle 8 28 27 22 27
Nester 9 28 35 26 35
Paul Potts 10 28 48 21 48
Steve Riley 11 29 1 22 1
Roy Gaskill 12 29 8 22 8
Albert Berry 13 29 25 23 25
Fran Wood 14 29 31 27 31
Mike Hallsworth 15 29 45 27 45
Ian Landucci 16 29 48 20 48
Adrian Jackson 17 29 57 24 57
Andy Smith 18 30 5 24 5
Vanessa Griffiths 19 30 12 24 12
Janet Robertson 20 30 21 24 21
Chris Igoe 21 30 41 25 41
Jackie 22 31 20 27 20
Graham Lloyd 23 32 58 27 58
John Thompson 24 33 50 28 50
Kevin Bell 25 38 30 36 30

Sandstone trail 2011 — Deeside version

As if the excitement of last month’s Challenge event wasn’t enough, Geoff Shaw lets us know that entries for the splendidly enjoyable Deeside Orienteering version of this event open shortly…

Sandstone Trail races on 2nd October 2011 open on 1st July 2011. Details of the 17 mile A race from Duckington to Delamere and the 10.6 mile Beeston to Delamere can be found on the Deeside Orienteering website.

Christleton 5k results – helsby road counter 3

Hi all

Please find attached results for Race 3 of the Road Counters, the fast and flat Christleton 5k.

In a very strong field of 214 runners 7 Helsby runners decided to stick on the green vest

Helsby position and times below

47th BROUGHTON, Adair 0:17:25
73rd LANDUCCI, Ian 0:18:29
131st SHAW, Geoff 0:20:45
154th SHAW, Carol 0:22:08
158th GRIFFITHS, Vanessa 0:22:29
181st HAWKER, Nesta 0:24:23
190th SHAW, Janet 0:25:55


For full results please see the Tattenhall Runners website here

Thanks also to Joe and Mario for support en route





Final border league race wed 27th april – wrexham ind estate 7pm

Hi all

Wednesday 27th April sees the final Border League Race of the 2010/2011 season.

This is a shorter and flatter course than the other Border League races at just over 6km

Please note the assumed start time is 7.00pm so for those wishing to car share I’d suggest meeting at the club at 6pm

Further (although not much) information can be found on the Border League website here

POSTCODE for directions is given as LL13 9RG but parking, start and finish is where the Half Marathon, or Helena Tipping 10ks go from, at the Clubhouse. There will be drinks and prizegiving available after the race for those that wish to stay.

Directions to the Clubhouse/Parking are here:

Will be great to see as many of you as can make it



Edale skyline virgin view

Edward Halliwell writes about his very first fell event…

Sunday 27th March saw my first fell race, and I decided to throw caution to the wind by starting with a biggy – 21 miles and 4000’+ of climbing. These numbers clearly instilled a good deal of respect in me, but I don’t think I truly understood the scale of the task until I drove through Mam Nick on the way there, and dropped down into the valley. You can then look around you and see the skyline you’re going to be running round, and it’s vast. Even though I felt I’d trained well enough and was looking forward to it, the sheer size of the valley still terrified me.

After some deliberation about what to wear in the car park (field, obviously), I ended up listening to my very skinny fell-running mate and put on an extra layer and went for the long-sleeved base layer. This would prove to be my downfall later in the race as the weather warmed up.

After sign-in and very thorough kit check it was time to go. The start of the race went pretty well for me, a trot then scramble up Ringing Roger, then a run along the tops to Crookstone Hill. The run down to Crookstone Barn saw me live up to expectations and take a tumble, but fortunately I chose a good place to fall. As one runner said, “at least he chose a soft place to land”, and his mate replied, “yeah, his head”. A quick forward roll later I was off again.

Next came the climb of Win Hill, I chose the narrow path to the left and tucked in behind a lady who was running in the top 10 women at that point. I was relieved to hear her breathing as heavily as I was, so that gave me confidence that if she could make it to the top then so could I, and soon enough it came, though by that stage I was sweating heavily.

Then came the descent of Win Hill. I would say this was probably my least favourite part of the race. The descent was way beyond my novice fell-running abilities and I was lucky not to be down again as I clipped my toes a couple of times on the way.

I managed to catch up the the people who’d dropped me on the descent going through Hope to the bottom of Lose Hill. I cannot tell you how relieved I was when everyone else switched to a walk up this part. It surprised me how my heart, lungs and legs were still hurting when we switched to walking, but I was so glad I wasn’t expected to run at that point.

I say everyone was walking up Lose Hill, but there was one madman who was still trying to run. “Hello Andy”, I said, as Mr Robinson rolled by. I managed to keep him in sight near the top of the hill (and managed to de-layer a bit on the way up) but the descent was a completely different matter as my legs were now starting to tire, and I was feeling cold in my wet clothes.

As I got to Hollins Cross and Mam Tor the lactic from the climb of Lose Hill started to clear and I managed to keep running over the top of Mam Tor and through the half-way check at Mam Nick, where there was some very welcome homemade flapjack, which merited a stop for a couple of minutes.

Then came Rushup Edge, which might not pose too many problems normally but was a bit of a slog by that stage. Then the race turned right and started off over the peat bog to Brown Knoll. This was where it all started to go wrong for me. I paid the penalty for the perspiration of the first half and the cramp arrived, first in my quads and then my calves. If there’s one place you don’t want cramp it’s a peat bog, when your muscles are having to work overtime to keep you upright anyway.

The remainder of the race after that was a case of walking until the cramp faded, then running again until the cramp came back, and then repeating the cycle. This was pretty frustrating as I felt I could still be running well, but at least I could keep going, albeit slower, and at least the weather conditions were fair so I feel sure the bog could have been much, much worse.

Eventually the bog ended, and I was actually glad to start climbing afterwards as it felt easier on my legs. The remaining four or five miles again were a case of running when I didn’t have cramp, but at least I could try and walk the uphill bits and run the flatter bits, and I didn’t seem to lose too many places.

The noise of race numbers being shouted signalled that the final checkpoint of Ringing Roger was near, and you could start to relax knowing there was only the descent back to the finish. This was extremely tricky with crampy legs, but by then just getting down was a satisfactory result.

The run across the grass to the finish was a truly great feeling, and I was smiling rather than grimacing as I crossed the line. My finish time of about 4 hours 9 minutes was better than I’d budgeted for. It could’ve been better without the over-layering and subsequent cramp, but I was just pleased just to have conquered it. On the stagger back to the car park I looked around at the skyline again – it still looked too big to consider running round, but somehow I can now say I have.

The Dark Peak club put on an excellent race. There were enough Marshalls to mean I didn’t have to get my map out. Admittedly this was partly because I’d memorised the main parts, and partly because I’d decided that the map would only contain bad news, but the Marshalling was excellent.


PS – Even managed a recovery run Monday lunchtime, and guess what – I still over-layered. I never learn. I’ll probably be stupid enough to try this again next year…

Border league race 4 results – details to follow

Great to see so many Helsby vests on Sunday for the Christleton Border League Race

Quite a cool and cloudy morning with a promise of rain but that did not seem to deter too many people. The course was slightly under 10k due to a slightly modified start, but once free of the housing estate quite a ‘pleasant’ run through country roads with a small muddy track 8k into the race and cobbled bridges to counter.

Gallant running from Dave Madders after cycling to the race and missing the start to finish strongly. Congratulations also to Albert Berry securing 1st position in his age category. Well done also to Nesta and Kay with very strong performances in what is their first Border league event. I’m sure we can all remember how tough that first event is!

Well done everybody as I know some members are training hard for various events and marathons approaching.

Having a full mens team and ladies team really secures our positions in the team tables and gives us something to build on.

Great support once again from Joe Beswick.

If you have any comments and thoughts about the event please add them to the blog. It’s great to have feedback.

For full results please follow the link below

Race Position Mens Position Ladies Position       Age Category Position
42 41   BROUGHTON, Adair 35:06 SM 24
71 67   LANDUCCI, Ian 37:03 V45 11
104 97   O’HARA, Jim 38:55 SM 42
116   8 ASHBROOK, Jane 39:48 LV35 3
164 146   SHAW, Geoff 42:18 V55 12
170 151   BERRY, Albert 42:36 V65 1
187 165   SEARLE, Mike 43:53 V45 31
195   28 GRIFFITHS, Vanessa 44:23 LV45 7
205   34 SHAW, Carol 44:56 LV45 10
211 175   KIDD, Tony 45:34 V40 26
223 180   MADDERS, Dave 46:40 SM 59
251   61 GRIEVE, Betty 50:29 LV50 5
252   62 PIRALI, Kay 51:02 SL 19
253   63 HAWKER, Nesta 51:11 LV45 16
258   67 SHAW, Janet 52:33 LV55 3