The hospice half — 20,000 quid!

haltonhavenFor the first time in our 32 year history we had to cancel our January Half Marathon because of treacherous snow and ice conditions. Many of our suppliers were incredibly generous in waiving their fees with just 24 hours notice of the cancellation, for which we thank them. Just as significant though were the individual small acts of kindness of our runners who chose to donate their refunds to charity.

Particular mention to our headline sponsor Essar, for their continued support for the race that never was — great to rely on them in these changing times.

With some swift programming from fabian4 we were able to offer automated refunds for participants (after costs for things like traffic closures, race numbers, chips, etc) …but we also gave our runners the option to donate their entry fees, which they did overwhelmingly by two to one!

What all this adds up to is that we were able to make our usual contributions to the community groups that normally help us out on the day and make two very significant donations to our bigger causes — the Hospice of the Good Shepherd in Backford, Chester and Halton Haven, Runcorn — both providing incredible support to people with some serious health problems. Many of us in the club have been touched by the services they offer whether directly to loved ones or further afield to friends, neighbours, etc.

The two major donations of just over £10,100 each should make things easier for the two hospice organisations for a short time at least. Both hospices rely on donations to keep the doors open and it is a continuing challenge just to keep running, so were very pleased to be able to do our little bit. Rather than just post a cheque we decided to get a run in anyway and deliver the two cheques by hand…

hospiceSo it was that we met in Backford early on Sunday morning, 2 June. The cheque handed over and a lovely reception from the staff there and we set off into the sunshine, stopping off at the club some 8 miles later to pick up a couple more recruits and refresh with juice and jelly babies. We continued on familiar ground through Frodsham and out the other side towards Runcorn, with just a final miserable hill at 13 miles between ourselves and our final destination at Halton Haven …they all seem big after 2 hours running! Thanks to the 20 or so club stalwarts for turning out on Sunday morning for the Hospice Half, and for our drivers, photographers and juice providers. 14.6 miles all in, so a Long Half really!

Many thanks again to our suppliers, our race entrants and our supporters for making it possible and for the two hospices for looking after us so well. If you’re looking to do a bit of fundraising yourself we can’t think of a finer cause.

Lots more pictures from the day at

Town park xc

This Sunday (16 Jan), Runcorn Town Park for a 10am start. Parking at Brookvale Leisure Centre, Barnfield Avenue, with a short stroll to the start. About a 4.5 mile course with tea snd sandwiches afterwards! Get in.

Runcorn Town Park xc – Sunday 7th March

Rescheduled from January, when it fell foul of the snowy weather. Usual venue in Runcorn Town Park, organised by Warrington Road Runners. Map and directions of the course (PDF).

Stop Press: Helsby fields full XC team! Yesterday saw 6 adult males with nothing better to do than run around in the grass and mud of Runcorn’s Town Park. Well done to everyone for turning out, on what was actually quite a tough race for its modest distance. Thankfully devoid of long dull sections, there was always something to keep your interest. Sometimes it was a bit too interesting, as the small crowd gathered at the top of the ski slope will attest, witnessing the procession of runners slow to almost a grovel!

The rescheduling and subsequent clash with one or two other events, meant the overall turnout was down, so it was all the more gratifying to get a full team out. Adair Broughton, Steve Riley, Andy Robinson, Roy Tunstall, Chris Hatton and Andy Smith all seemed to enjoy themselves. Full results might be a little while yet. Let’s not forget the 7th man Joe, present  again in full voice. I for one was encouraged in the final stretch to try for a couple of extra positions by his vocal support, at a point when I was otherwise settled in for the finish.

Superb conditions for running: a still morning with plenty of sunshine, contrasted nicely with those stretches yet to see any warmth, still covered in frost.


PS That’s All Folks! Cross country season is OVER. Those with a taste for dirt and hills will have to look elsewhere, as the fell season starts to get into gear. See you on the hill!