Four villages round-up

Thank you all runners, racers, volunteers, suppliers!

We were delighted to see over 1700 runners on the start line of the Essar 4 Villages Half Marathon on Sunday. Our race is organised and run by volunteers and we donate over £10,000 every year to local groups and charities. Helsby Running Club endeavored to make the race truly green this year, with paper cups at the water stations, recycling stations at start and finish, no disposable plastic bottles at the finish and paper goody bags. Our race memento this year also doubled up as the after race drink – a filled runner’s bottle.

We were also pleased to see the reduced parking and shuttle bus working well, with better uptake of shared lifts and some activity on our lift sharing app and Facebook page. Parking will always be a problem for a big race and we thank everyone for doing their bit.

Before

The day dawned frosty and foggy and didn’t look promising. Our runners know this is a January race and know what to expect now, some going for an extra layer or two. The weather was kind in the end and true to the forecast, with sunshine finally breaking through midway around the course. The club had taken the precaution of booking a private gritter for the early hours and the fully closed course made for a safe and enjoyable experience for all, whether they were completing in just over an hour or a more leisurely 3 hours.

Mohammad Abu-Rezeq was our male winner again this year in a time of 1:06:14 and we had a new female winner, Eleanor Whyman-Davis in a time of 1:14:33. Moh’s making a habit of this and this is his fourth win in recent years.

After

Feedback from runners after the race has been overwhelmingly positive and many runners return every year to enjoy our January race. A few people missed out on medals and bottles and we’re in the process of fixing that for everyone that let us know – sorry, we’re only human!

“Thank you for organising another great race. It’s my 5th 4 Villages and it remains my favourite. Well done to you and the team.” Joseph Muscat

“Wonderful event yesterday, thoroughly enjoyed the run, I’ve not run it since 2013, hillier than I remember, but the fog assisted in hiding them a little! Many thanks to all volunteers & marshalls, all highly appreciated.” Phil Manson

“Thank you for yet again putting on the best race in the calendar!” Ellis Bland

“Thanks for such an amazing event put on today by Helsby Running Club and the community!” Sony Dean, Junior winner

“My first half marathon yesterday and loved every minute of it and really happy with my 2:33 result. Can I say how amazing the support was – so many people out on the route cheering us on and the marshalls were fantastic and all the amazing children at the water stations!” Karen Gill, pink tutu girl

Local MP Mike Amesbury presented the prizes. This year the race was a qualifying race for England Athletics’ Masters Half Marathon Team and UKA will be in touch separately to those selected.

Very much a community event, we expect to donate over £10000 to local good causes from the proceeds. Our two key beneficiaries are Halton Haven Hospice and the Hospice of the Good Shepherd, Backford. Oldest entrant, the ever present Joe Park (84), completing in 2h 29. Oldest female Elaine Statham finishing in 2h 08 and collecting the V75 prize. First local prizes went to Sean Merryweather of Wrexham AC, who arrived in Frodsham just 3 months ago and Alison Halsall of home club Helsby RC.

A big thank you to everyone who entered and all the volunteers who helped us put on another brilliant race!

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