Helsby Race News 19-25th Jan 2015

Helsby Race News 19-25th Jan 2015

Unusually we start off with a few notices this week:
Race reports

Please keep your race reports coming, we love ’em! Send them here please – no matter how big or small – helsby-race-reports@outlook.com
Club Counters
Yes it’s that time of the year where we have decided the club championship races for the year. I will be sending out a separate email to all club members today along with links to the pre-populated race calendar links. If you’ve already got the ones from last year then you won’t need to do a thing as they will be automatically updated. We’ve got some real crackers in the diary and some exciting new developments for 2015 which will hopefully see even more of you toeing the line for the green army.
Fell Running 
Ashurst beacon race
Phil Gillard reports:
Saturday was my first fell race for a good number of weeks, I chose the Ashurst Beacon event from Dalton in Lancashire; those of you familiar with the Beacon Park XC course will know the area; Dalton is a few hundred yards from the park and is home to the beacon after which the park is named.
On the face of it a race of 6 miles with only 290m of climb is a gentle way to break the season in, especially when the route contains Parbold hill and when I think of Parbold I think of cooking and I think of Parboiled – “the food items are cooked until they start to soften, then removed before they are fully cooked”.  How very appropriate I thought – soften me up but not fully cooked. How wrong I was
It’s the kind of race of that lures you in; treats you gently to start with, feeds you nice terrain and indulgent descents down from the start line for 1.5 miles, gives you some nice gradual climbs as you summit Parbold hill, cossets you with wide descending paths allowing you to take advantage and pass some of those glass ankled road runners. It invites you to extend yourself more than you really should, much like a pay day lender………and much like a contract from Wonga the sting is in the tail.
That indulgent 1.5 mile descent is returned with interest as you grind you way back up to the beacon but satisfying once it is all paid off.
So, softened yes, not fully cooked but more well done than I really wanted.Details
Marmot Dark Mountains
Last year I took on the Marmot Dark Mountains (MDM) race and it was easily the best race I did all year. A full mountain marathon squeezed into 1 night, in winter…. What could go wrong? We had every type of weather except sun, I was out for 15.5 hours on the most challenging of events, so when the entries opened I was first on the list. This year my partner had to drop out due to a hernia so I was stuck until Max ‘up for any adventure’ Wainwright stepped up – a quick pre-race photo and the Helsby duo were ready to go!

This year the event was in the Howgills and straight out the gate it was clear that the skills required to do well at these events were a little rusty. Firstly questioned and questioned our path and which of the 4 it was, then once happy and convinced we were on the right path I spotted a quicker line that we’d missed. Still, we were off and the rust blew off quickly. Four things are required to do well in a mountain marathon:

  1. Quick, confident and good decision making about route choice
  2. Commit to that route choice and Nav’ it well to nail the controls
  3. All round mountain fitness
  4. An understanding partnership that focuses on the result (getting to the check point) rather than any mistakes

We managed 1,2 and 4 but 3 was lacking for me. My lack of fitness meant I struggled to get into a running rhythm on the second half of the night. That didn’t stop us having a great night out as we worked well together, but it did mean our result suffered from where it could have been.
The second thing I learned from this was that the event itself was so epic the previous year because the weather made it so extreme. Since I wasn’t fit enough to push it all event, as we slowed the terrain became all too familiar and lacked variety to keep even my childlike enjoyment on the boil – although we did managed some great synchronised falls/ twists on the large patches of sheet ice whilst been blown away by a gale force wind.
In the end we finished in 3rd place in 10:51:05, just over an hour behind the winners (who won the A class last year too). We did a lot of walking in the second half so if my fitness had been in a different place then I’m confident we would have been significantly quicker and would certainly troubled the reigning champions…. Maybe next year!
Click here for the race planner’s write up

Team Helsby arriving at Control 10
Photo by Ian Corless – find his round up and more photos here

Cross Country
Northern XC Champs – Pontefract
3 Helsby runners made it across the Pennines to Pontefract Race course on Saturday afternoon for the Northern Cross Country Championships, together with 2600 other runners competing in races catering for U13 to seniors.  We
parked up in a retail park on the far side of the M62, then cantered through a foot tunnel under the M62 before doing a steady warm up gallop across the whole length of the racecourse to the starting blocks at the top of a hill in font of the race pavilion.
The ladies race started at 1pm and consisted of two laps and the men’s race an hour later covering 3 laps. The excellent course was a mixture of rough grassland and short good quality parkland turf, a fast gradual descent on good quality mud, weaving in  and out of racecourse water features (permanent lakes, brooks and temporary puddles of mud)  with the return being a gradual uphill slope with some rougher grassland areas.
Stockport’s Elle Vernon produced a measured performance to take the senior women’s title with an 11 second winning margin over Leeds City’s Emma Clayton. Rotherham who have a good record at this event took the team title with Liverpool Harriers second and Leeds City matching their men with bronze medals in third.
The finale senior men’s race was a spectacle to watch where everyone was battling it out with Alistair Brownlee. With less than 500m to go Alistair came through just holding Stockport’s Andrew Davies off, but amazingly on the final hill, Andrew got the better of him and pulled away to put a few muddy metres between them on the final straight. Morpeth were first team in followed by Stockport Harriers and Leeds City.
1.     Andrew Davies         Stockport Harriers   37:44
2.     Alistair Brownlee      Bingley Harriers    37:50
483. Gareth Boyd              Helsby RC             54:53
697 in total
1.     Elle Vernon                   Stockport Harriers    28:22
2.     Emma Clayton              Leeds City                 28:33
111. Jane Ashbrook              Helsby RC                36:27
260. Jackie Keasley              Helsby RC                44:19
342 in total
We all finished the day off dancing the night away at the Xmas Party, after having scrubbed off the mud! All in all an excellent day all round!
Wow, thanks Jackie, sounds like it was a fantastic day out. Incredible to think that the finish was so tight and a field so packed it could put Gareth into 483rd place – must have been truly stacked! Sadly the mail was forwarded to the helsby-race-reports@outlook.com address rather than sent and thus the photos didn’t come through – I’m sure we can get them on the blog though!
Park Run
This week it would be wrong to start anywhere other than Widnes on the Park run front. With an overall win for Joanne Lacking and a 1, 2 in the men’s from the Colins with Mr. Bishop taking the win over Mr. Thompson by just 6 seconds. Not only that, Helsby favorite glove wearing member Roy Gaskill chose the occasion to signal a return to racing – the start of many more to come I suspect!
A further 9 green vests were out this week at the Parkrun, do you want to know who they were? Results for all races can be found found here
Upcoming races and reminders

For those interested and old enough , the Northern Vets Cross Country Championships are being held at Victoria Park Warrington on Sunday Mar 1st.
See attached for details or go to the link:-

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