Helsby weekend round-up 23rd-24th March 2013

Hi all

Surprisingly we do have some results to send out this weekend, what with a number of key races being cancelled including the Excalibur Marathon and Ras yr Aran which had Helsby members preparing to run.

Some parts of Cheshire obviously saw less snow than North Wales which meant the popular Wilmslow Half was able to go ahead on Sunday.

Wilmslow official website for results and photos is below


Thanks to Ed for sending in the Helsby results and brief race report, “cold and windy, especially the last few miles back into the headwind”. Looks like Ed was only half a minute off the magic 90 minute barrier but a PB all the same. Times below for Helsby runners are chip times and position taken by gun time. Well done to everyone who ran! Hope you’ve warmed up.

320th                 Ed Halliwell                   1.30.21
536th                 Ivan Davies                   1.35.12
1047th                Helen Owens                1.43.10
1069th                John Thompson           1.43.35
2186th                Chris Igoe                     1.57.11
2221st                John Gallon                  1.57.38

Surely winning the weekend award for toughness and endurance goes to Andy Robinson in the Hardmoors 55. Some of you may know of this race as it was run by Chris Baynham-Hughes last year. Race report below, I’m cold again just reading it.


35th  Andy Robinson 10.56.35

Race was won by Duncan Harris, Sandstone Challenge record holder from Chester Tri in 8.33.15, with 16 DNF’s and 119 finishers.

Andy’s report “Still recovering from the Hardmoors 55 yesterday – the most knackering day I’ve ever had out outside the Lakes. The race was shortened by about 3 miles due to the conditions, but we did all the hard bits! Here’s some of what I posted earlier to the FRA forum:

‘What a hard day out that was. The cold wind blasting at us all the way across the moors was absolutely bitter. Not strong enough to blow you over, but enough to push you sideways at times. But so cold. I wore 3 pairs of gloves, & my fingers still went numb approaching Bloworth Crossing. My eyelashes froze up a few times too. There was a lot of snow on the tops: drifted new snow from Friday night on top of old snow. We had to go through quite a lot of drifted stuff – few long stretches of really deep drifts, but many snow ridges to get through. I wore my microspikes for a lot of the snowy sections & they made a real difference: I passed quite a few on the Kildale to Clay Bank Top section. My wheels fell off eventually, & after the climb up from Osmotherley I was a tottering wreck. I finished though, in 10:56 (my timing), & I was delighted with that.” Results aren’t posted yet, they’ll be here when they are.”

Much respect goes out to Andy for that run.

Yet Andy wasn’t on his own doing a long distance event this weekend. Chris Baynham-Hughes was down in the Brecons for an Ultra. Event website here


7th         Chris Baynham-Hughes              4.19.51

And results here


and some photos http://images.muen.co.uk/-/galleries/2013ultra-1

and Chris’s race report below with a couple of photos to follow when the blog is updated.

“Bad weather course invoked which was the right decision but a great shame as the course itself looks epic. The big problem was looking after the marshals who would have had to have been out in the “challenging” conditions. Since there were two checkpoints they couldn’t get emergency vehicles they moved to a bad weather course a 23 mile course with the mountainous part looped. Another good reason to move to a bad weather course was the mountain craft and experience of many of the runners registered – with a good number turning up in trail rather than fell shoes, this told me all I needed to know and people would have naively put themselves at risk and therefore put others at risk too. The race started off with me in a very unfamiliar position… first! It was a view I hadn’t seen before and it continued up through the first stream/ footpath until we hit the road again where slowly but surely 10 or so overtook me. Not on firing form right now I eased back a bit to enjoy the day, pushing on but not flat out as I’ve not run the distance for a while. As we climbed the first mountain it became clear the conditions were pretty extreme; my main concern in the morning had been actually getting there due to heavy snow on the roads, but as the wind was blowing hard enough to throw competitors over (when combined with the snowy/ icy ground) I figured it was time to get the secret weapon out… my ski goggles!

Googles on, hood up I was protected from the worst of it and helped against the flat light. I landed on my backside 4 times on the way up, but the recent fell races helped me on the way down (or was it just insanity and luck?) as I began to find my feet. Not wanting my goggles to steam up I left them on which should make for comedy pictures in places, but one bloke pointed out that he was preparing to lynch me for them at one point whilst we were up on the mountain. Muddy fields played hell with many people’s footing but even in my very worn mudclaws I just managed to stay the right way up. Lots of technical trails followed with streams running down the middle – I embraced the cold feet feeling and went around for a second lap. It was here where I put the work in (despite 5 successive falls on the way down the mountain including one full flip and 15+ yard slide on my bottom) and slowly but surely I took a few places, but I was never going to make it all up on the leaders, finishing about 40 minutes after Mark Palmer who was in first place. Cracking day out, full respect to the Might Contain Nuts team who put on the best event they could given the conditions and enormous respect to the 120 hardy souls that still turned out to start – many only did one lap, but that was probably enough for anybody with a little sanity left in them. Completed in 4:19:51, finishing in 6th place overall.”

Wasn’t sure I’d even be sending any results out this weekend so a nice surprise to find Helsby members were able to get out and about.

I’ve been informed that Castle Park training will still be on tonightat the usual time of 6.30pm, Joe’s been up to have a look at the field, so whoever is turning up just remember to bring fell shoes or spikes. The more grip the better.



Edale Skyline, Wilmslow Half, Wrekin Fell March 2012

Hi all

This weekend saw the classic Edale Skyline race, and one of the Helsby Long Distance Trail Race counters at 21 miles and over 4000ft of ascent in total. 299 runners finished with a great winning time of 2.41.55 in what were obviously warm conditions.

Four green vests out for Helsby, ably led by Chris Baynham-Hughes to secure the full set of points. (Please bear in mind Chris had run the Hardmoors 55 the week before!)

Helsby positions and places below

44th      Chris Baynham-Hughes         3.27.10

123rd    Andy Robinson                       3.56.04
208th    Ed Halliwell                             4.19.09
266th    Jackie Keasley                       4.44.36

Full results available below


This weekend also saw the Wilmslow Half Marathon, the first Cheshire GP counter with over 4000 runners on the day

Results and photos available here


Two Helsby runners enjoying the day with positions and times below

879th    Mike Searle                 1.42.33
2799th  Nesta Hawker             2.03.37

Mike has written a highly entertaining and descriptive account of his day here, just check out the previous Helsby Blog article or simply click the link below


Also out at the weekend was the ageless Robbie Webster competing in the Wrekin Fell Race, full results here


Robbie Webster was 87th in 1.21.52

There are also photos of the day available on the Welsh Fell Runners website


We also have a great write-up of Chris’s Edale race with plenty of description, video and photos in Chris’s blog account (also has detailed information and extremely interesting write-ups of his training for the Bob Graham)


Video’s of Andy Robinson and Ed Halliwell final descent at Edale are included on the blog.

It’s very promising to see people writing up about their races and events and sharing the day with other people, keep them coming! The more people that write about races and share their thoughts the better, as it adds a depth to the Helsby blog that can’t be gained just from listing positions and times. Please feel free to add or send something in the future, even one or two sentences can make a difference!



Mike’s tale – Wilmslow half marathon 2012

For me, the weekend of the clocks going forward is synonymous with a race I’ve completed 8 times – the Wilmslow 1/2M and with an excellent race package Wilmslow is an event I like to target annually.

So being ‘a Wilmslow old hand’, I know that very early arrival is key, given the congestion caused by an influx of 5,000 runners and the limited parking, so despite the 1030 start, I always look to arrive by 9 o’clock in order to avoid traffic troubles and stress!

But my 2012 event turned out slightly differently . . .

On Saturday night I packed up my gear and reset my watch an hour ahead in readiness for the ‘lost hour’ on Sunday. Even more efficiently, I didn’t need to adjust my alarm clock, having invested in a ‘fancy dan’ radio controlled model which constantly adjusts the time according to the signal from Greenwich and importantly for this weekend, automatically adds the hour for the start of British Summer Time. So I fell asleep with no concerns about my pre-race organisation.

On Sunday morning my alarm duly woke me and after a few minutes snoozing, I was up and enjoying a leisurely  breakfast – in fact everything I did was leisurely because of course I was SO efficient with my pre-race organisation. I planned to leave at 0815 which would easily see me parking at Wilmslow by 0900. So you can imagine my shock on checking my race watch to see the time registering 0910! Surely I couldn’t have made a mistake, not with all my efficient planning?

I had no idea what had happened but thereafter panic ensued! Realising that I was now in a 2 races, one a 1/2M and the other to get to the start line on time, I hastily gathered my gear and raced out of the house at breakneck speed, leaving at 0915. Wilmslow is a mere 30 minutes drive away but today I knew that the ‘nose-to-tail’ traffic would double that time and sadly I wasn’t mistaken. After 30 minutes of frustrating crawling into Wilmslow, I managed to park up at 1020 – about a mile from the start! No time to visit the toilet, check my laces, Vaseline up or prepare in any sensible way; my warm-up consisted of a decent speed mile to the start where I just managed to get into the pack before the gun fired!

Well despite my highly stressed pre-race ‘routine’, a beautiful sunny day ensued and with my goal of completing a long run as opposed to racing, the event went well. Of even greater interest was being applauded by Emmerdale actor (and very good standard runner) Tony Audenshaw at the 11 mile point who had come out in support and he gave me a cheery ‘well done Helsby’ as I laboured by. I’m afraid that my reply of ‘thanks Bob’ was not going to endear me to him but I couldn’t for the life of me remember his real name and in my fatigued state, I genuinely thought that his TV character name was actually his true name!

So against the odds, I can now add another Wilmslow to my tally and on investigating the problem alarm clock, it seems that the radio control element is no more. Typical. In our digital age you just can’t trust analogue signals any more these days! So I’m off to Argos now to buy one of those double bell, wind-up models that you can hear ticking from every room in the house. Whilst I may not get much sleep between now and next March, I can guarantee that I won’t miss Wilmslow in 2013!

Mike Searle, disorganised runner and failed name-checker.

Best wishes                           


Mike Searle, Training Director, body4life Health & Fitness

mike.searle@body4life.co.uk   www.body4life.co.uk

07986 483955 and 01244 301769

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