Sandstone trail challenge 2014

Entries now open for the 2014 event, slightly later this year 7 June. Read more on the website: http://www.helsbyrunningclub.org.uk/sandstone-intro.htm

Great event, ideal first ultra, well supported, plenty of food stops. Equal numbers of runner’s and walker’s entries.

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Long trail series 2012

Sunday’s Sandstone Trail races marked the end of this year’s Long Trail Series races, so here’s a summary of the year’s events, and the results. I’ll soon be looking at what events to include in next year’s series, so if there are any you would like to run, just let me know. Any off-road timed event between 14 and 35 miles qualifies.

This may have been the best year in the club’s history for off-road endurance running. As far as I’m aware, nobody has ever matched Chris Baynham-Hughes’ achievement in completing the Dragon’s Back race. We also had two completions of the Bob Graham Round in the same year, again something that has never happened before. And once more we were well represented at the Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon, with four members competing.

The Long Trail Series itself went well again, with four of the seven events having four or more club members running, and one or two more club members starting to try out some of these longer runs. Here’s a brief event by event summary:

Wuthering Hike, 33 miles, 10 March: Only me on this one, which was a pity as it’s a great event. It’s a bit of a long drive to get there, which may have put some off.

Edale Skyline, 21 miles, 25 March: Four of us ran this Peak fellracing classic, with good weather for the third year running – too warm if anything. The main highlight was Chris Baynham-Hughes’ performance, finishing in 44th place in what is always a top class field.

Sandstone Trail Marshals’ event, 33 miles, 5 May: This didn’t happen as I was ill!

Gritstone Tryal, 15 miles, 29 July: Only Jackie and me for this one, but I think we should try to get more out next year, as it’s a great local event and it needs support. We both had a great run on the Staffordshire gritstone, and the navigation was reasonably straightforward.

Race the Train, 14 miles, 18 August: It wasn’t a normal running of this event as it didn’t rain at all. Five HRC runners competed: none of them beat the train this year, but Jane Ashbrook came closest. Dave Feakes being the only man among them picked up 20 points, with Jane being first HRC lady home yet again.

Open To Offas, 30 miles, 15 September: This was a great LDWA event, crossing the tracks of a number of the short fell races we’ve had in the Clwydian Hills. Most of the participants are walkers but there are some runners too, and the organisers would be happy to have more. We had the first three finishers, with Adair setting a new course record of 5 hours 4 minutes, and Jackie finishing joint first lady.

Sandstone Trail A Race, 17 miles, 30 September: Five of us ran this year, on a day when we were expecting rain, but in the event it stayed dry. The conditions were pretty muddy, but not nearly as bad as it could have been, given the flooding there had been only days before. A great event as always, with Adair leading the club home in 11th place overall.

Overall, Jackie and I competed in five events each, and Adair and Ian Landucci ran two each. One was enough for everyone else! Full results to follow…

Andy Robinson

2012 long trail series

Andy Robinson has been consulting interested runners and has proposed the following dates and events for the 2012 long trail series…

  1. Wuthering Hike (Haworth Hobble), Sat 10 March. 33 miles, 4400 ft of climbing. This is a great race.
  2. Edale Skyline, Sun 25 March. 21 miles, 4500 ft. Testing AL fell race. Fills up quickly, so enter early in the new year.
  3. Sandstone Trail Challenge Marshals’ event, Sat 5 May. 33 miles, 3700 ft.
  4. Gritstone Tryal, Sun 29 July, 15 miles, 2000 ft. This is a navigational event, so map & compass work will be needed. I’ve never done it, but it looks interesting!
  5. Race the Train, Sat 18 August, 14 miles. The only one for which entries are already open.
  6. Open to Offas, date not set yet, but probably Sat 15 September. 30 miles, 7000 ft(?). An LDWA classic in the Clwydian hills.
  7. Sandstone Trail A Race, date not set yet: either Sun 30 September or Sun 14 October. 17 miles, 655m of climbing.
Let us have your thoughts in the Comments box below!

Andy Robinson

Long trail series 2011

Sunday’s DEE Sandstone Trail A Race brought this year’s Long Trail series to a close, and here are the results:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Points
Men
Andy Robinson 20 20 20 19 20 80
Ed Halliwell 19 18 20 19 76
Chris Baynham-Hughes 19 20 39
David Feakes 20 17 37
Ian Landucci 18 18
Steve Riley 17 17
Women
Jane Ashbrook 20 20 40
Jackie Keasley 18 17 35
Lesley Feakes 17 18 35
Rachel Arnold 19 19
Janet Robertson 19 19

Races
1 – 12/02/11 Anglezarke Amble
2 – 27/03/11 Edale Skyline
3 – 14/05/10 Sandstone Trail Marshals
4 – 18/06/10 White Bear Way
5 – 09/07/11 White Peak Walk
6 – 20/08/10 Race the Train
7 – 02/10/10 Sandstone Trail A

So, it looks like I’ve won the men’s event again, and although the women’s counters were up on last year, nobody completed the required four events.  This time I had serious competition from Ed, who moved into running some longer races, and I should think he’ll beat me next year now he’s got a bit more experience of longer runs.  And we’d probably both get hammered if Adair and/or Chris B-H ran more of the events.  Well done to Jane for picking up maximum points in both the events she ran – but I’d have expected nothing less!  And thanks to everyone who ran in any of them, and to Adair for his help supporting the Sandstone Trail Marshals’s event.

Highlights this year from my point of view were:
1.  The Edale Skyline race.  This is just a great event to run, and I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys fellrunning and fancies a longer run.
2.  The Sandstone Trail Marshals’ run.  We had a great run out, and nobody knew what order we’d finish in.  I was surprised to come in first and I don’t think Chris will let that happen again!
3.  Chris’s run in Sunday’s DEE Sandstone Trail A race.  I wish I’d been there to see him finish.  The fastest HRC finisher and highest placing since 2002.  Watch out Adair!

I’ll start looking round for events for next year’s series shortly, so if you’ve got a favourite you want to be considered let me know.  Anything off-road and between 14 and 30 miles qualifies.

Andy Robinson

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.

Sandstone trail challenge — ready for take off!

Well the planning is in its final stages, the water jugs ready and the coach is warming up. 127 runners and walkers are thinking about which t-shirt to wear, whether and where to vaseline, which shoes to use and how many packets of jelly babies they need to buy.

After a lot of hard graft from a few people we’re pretty much ready to relaunch this fondly-remembered event. Several members of Helsby RC have had a bit of a thing for this route, both recently and further back. Indeed we’ve had quite a few completions in respectable times (records here) over the last weeks and months. It’ll be great to get the event back on.

See you on Saturday!

Sandstone trail – 9th April

Sandstone challenge – 9th April

The day dawned sunny and clear, not a cloud in sight. The hottest day of the year so far.  A good day for heading to the beach or alternatively to Whitchurch for a 34 mile trail run.

Just time for a picture for the charity, then off we go

Nice easy running for the first 3.5 miles following the Llangollen canal. Plenty of Good Mornings to the friendly folk on the canal boats as they passed through the locks at Grindley Brook. This part is definitely the quickest the GPS told me that I had broken 7 minutes for the only time on the run.

Willey Moor Lock Tavern is looking very inviting, the tables and chairs being set out for the customers to enjoy a leisurely pint whilst watching the barges pass. Before temptation becomes too much the trail takes a sharp left over the fields.

The next section of the trail is probably the most dangerous. I survive the first hazard by remembering to take the short diversion round the paddock containing the man eating llama. Then I sneak through the farm where rumour has it the occupant is not always friendly to people crossing his land. Luckily no sign of farmer or his dogs.

First and only Swallow of the day was perched on the telephone wires just after the Cheshire Wildlife head quarters at Bickley Hall farm which seemed an appropriate place for it.

Running going well on the very firm ground. Only muddy part of the whole trail was caused by a leaking pipe near a cattle trough. I keep going subsisting on my gourmet trail runners diet of new potatoes, High 5 Gels and copious amounts of water.

Next landmark is Michael Owens racehorse stables at Manor House Farm. No sign of the great man, suspect he may be at Aintree. Plenty of racehorses about though.

Not long after this it’s on to the hills at Bickerton, skirting round the wood then heading upwards to Maiden Castle. First of many cracking views across the Cheshire plain out towards the Welsh border.

On familiar territory now having done the longish Sandstone trail race several times. Really enjoying the running with the hills providing a welcoming breeze preventing overheating.

Drop down from Bickerton only to head straight back up to Rawhead, the highest point on the trail, don’t stop to take in the superb views but keep on running. Then it’s down from Rawhead across the fields and up over Bulkeley hill. Several big parties of walkers out enjoying the excellent day. Queuing behind one party there is mention of the Pheasant at Burwardsley. This excellent hostelry is only a short distance down the road, but like the last pub the trail turns off before temptation becomes too great.

Heading down the track towards Beeston Castle I make a quick call to ensure the support team are in place with supplies. They make a welcome site when I arrive there 10 minutes later.

Waving to the support crew at Beeston Castle.

Lunch consists of a banana, some Jaffa Cakes, a lot of water and a very welcome 5 minute rest to eat them.

Things going well so far. The half way point has been reached in a shade over 2 hours 30 Minutes and I’m still feeling good. Remind myself this is the easy part, just a long Sunday morning run really and the hard bit is yet to come.

And it’s off again

Steady progress is made across the fields North of Beeston despite getting a bit of stitch for the first few miles.  Now I’m back down to the Cheshire plains the temperature is warming up. Luckily I have that most useful of items a 30th Anniversary Four Villages Buff to prevent sunburn.

Things are getting tougher as I hit the hills again heading up towards Rock Farm and the pace is definitely slowing. Meet a group of lads on the Cheshire hike resting at the top of the first hill and they are well impressed by the fact that I ran up the hill. Even more impressed when I mention that I started the run in Whitchurch. Encouraged by their support I head on up the hill beyond Rock Farm. A steady plod for the next few miles sees me approaching Delamere Forest. Another quick call to the support crew to check they have made it to Barnes Bridge Gate Car Park. Unfortunately due to a slight miscalculation on time they aren’t there yet, but luckily they are not far away and make it just in time. More water is taken on board but don’t feel like food this time.

By coincidence this point is pretty much equivalent to a full marathon in distance. Happy to have got to this point in 4 Hours 10 Minutes. Legs starting to seize up now so after a very short rest head off before they do.

Now things start to get tough, pace drops to a very steady plod but keep running. Next rendezvous with support crew at Manley School.

Keep on trucking

Grab some more water and keep going.

Down the road at Simmonds hill then back to the fields. Pace dropping further and already looking forward to the next rendezvous at the Ridgeway. It’s only at this point that you realise how valuable support from a friendly face or two keeps you going.

Suddenly I am surprised and exceptionally pleased to spot a very familiar figure with a Baseball cap running towards me. Adair after completing the Llantysilio fell race only an hour or two earlier has come out to find me on the trail. He then proves invaluable running with me and giving me lots of words of encouragement.

Support just when it was most needed

Then follows what was for me to be the hardest section of the run, the trail up Woodhouse Hill. It feels like someone has added an extra couple of miles to this bit. Will the top never arrive? Eventually it does and start to follow the ridge towards Frodsham. Get asked how far I’ve come by a couple of walkers as I stagger up the steps at Jacob’s ladder and when I tell them they give me some words of encouragement. Every little bit helps at this stage.

Heading onwards being careful to look out for tree roots as I’m getting very tired now.  Looking ahead I spot the last climb before Frodsham memorial and what a bonus I get here. The Club’s number one supporter is waiting to meet me. I shouldn’t be surprised that Joe has turned up to make sure I get to the finish.

As I crest the hill and start the descent into Frodsham I realise that someone is starting to catch me up and on turning the corner at the first zig zag I realise that Joe is running down the hill. This inspires me to keep the pace up so I don’t get passed by a “super vet”.

Hit the road section in Frodsham and although tired I know I’m nearly there. Somehow this knowledge helps my pace increase slightly. As I drop down past the Church. The high Street is looming ahead and when I reach it Adair leaves me to head back up the hill to Joe.

Only a few yards to go now. The town seems quiet; perhaps they are all watching the Grand National. Across the main Road, dodging the shoppers. Narrowly avoid a car turning into Morrison’s and there in front of me is the Bears Paw.

Lights are in my favour so straight across and touch the Sandstone Pillar in 5 Hours 37 Minutes. Tired but Happy

Phew!!!!!!!


The following day

Still tired but recovering well, legs not too stiff yet, maybe tomorrow.

Very pleased to have done it in under 6 hours, not quite as fast as Chris or Adair but not far off. But I am in awe of the time Mario did on the old fire station race route, 4 hours 20 minutes.

Looking forward to marshalling the race on 21st May, I will certainly have respect for all those competing.

Many Thanks for their excellent support to the Support Crew; Deb, Emily, Beth, Sam, Ben, Adair and Joe

Ian L

Sandstone trail challenge Sat 21 May – help needed!

We need volunteers to help us on the day of the Sandstone Trail Challenge event that we’re organising in May.

We need around 20 people, the majority to man the checkpoints between Whitchurch and Frodsham, but also we’ll need help in other areas, such as ferrying retired participants back to Frodsham Community Centre, and help at the Community Centre.

The event will be low-key compared to the 4 Villages, but will go on all day. I expect to be at the Community Centre at about 5am and not to get home until 11 at night, but apart from the core team we’ll schedule everyone else who helps for reasonable shifts.

Please let me know if you can help out – we need you to make the event a success.

Thanks!

Andy Robinson

Sandstone trail challenge 2011

We’re relaunching the much loved Sandstone Trail Challenge for 2011. A formidable challenge for runners and walkers alike, this event has a long history of involvement from Helsby RC and we’re relaunching it as an LDWA event for the current year.

Not just for runners! We’re a running club, but this an event for walkers and runners. Indeed half the places will be reserved for walkers, so there’s no danger of them being outnumbered. There’s an interesting round-up from Andy Robinson here.

Find out more on the Helsby website. Any questions, ask at the club  or email andy@crewood.net. See you on May 21! Be warned, it’s likely to sell out, we’re already half full, primarily from word of mouth.

Sandstone trail A and B

Well done to everyone who ran in the Sandstone Trail races yesterday by the way, particularly Jackie for lifting the Ladies Over 50 trophy! Conditions were atrociously muddy underfoot and it didn’t stop raining all day. Placings:

A Race (161 finishers)

22nd Adair Broughton 2:11:01

28th Chris Baynham-Hughes 2:14:17

35th Ian Landucci 2:17:30

62nd David Sconce 2:30:09

66th Steve Riley 2:33:13

69th Andy Robinson 2:35:15

114th Jackie Keasley 2:55:21

137th David Feakes 3:08:25

150th Lesley Feakes 3:27:04

B Race (153 finishers)

53rd Andy Smith 1:41:29

56th Rachel Arnold 1:42:30

102nd Alison Meakin 1:53:05

127th Graham Lloyd 2:02:51

Team results

A Race: 5th

B Race: 9th

Andy Robinson