Rob Triumphs in Welsh 1000m

A huge well done to Rob Grantham who won the Welsh 1000m peaks fell race in North Wales on June 2nd.   The 1000m peaks is a seriously tough race, with 30K of gruelling mountain terrain and 2500m of climb overall.  Rob finished in frankly ridiculous 4:18:56, six minutes ahead of the next finisher.  Congratulations Rob!

Rob and his winners trophy!

 

Also due a mention this week, Simon Rogers is in 9th place overall for the Merseyside Grand Prix road racing league.  Four races down and six to go, he’s going strong!

Moel Eilio Race

The Moel Eilio fell race, run from Llanberis was the second of the Summer Fell League for Pensby Runners.

Moel Eilio is definitely my favourite fell race, and happily I was already just down the road from Llanberis for work.  In total seven Pensby Runners took part in Saturdays rather humid outing into the foothills of Snowdon, and I think we gave rather a good showing (especially Lucy!).

What makes Eilio such a great race in my book is just how runnable it is.  There was some questioning of this ‘runnability’ by some fellow Pensbys at the start of the race (see attached photo of detailed scanning of the profile), but having watched Lucy run all the way up the side of Eilio (I think I counted about 20 paces where she walked), I can confirm it’s definitely a runnable route (I was walking most of that time). The race starts with a section of trail that undulates, but largely gains height as you head up to the foot of the eponymous mountain.  The ascent to the summit is something of a slog, but you gain height fast and if you’re willing and able, it’s definitely runnable.  Then the real fun starts.  The route drops sharply – and this is where I finally caught Lucy – into switchback mode, as you plough down one hillside, then up onto Foel Gron, then down once again, and up Foel Goch. I think at this stage Lucy was back behind me, and I could see Dave in the not so distance.  The next descent is one of those tricky traverses where you angle down at 45 degrees across the hills, meeting a gateway to the clear valley path, but instead heading back up at a mirror angle to ascend the final peak of Moel Cynghorion.  This one always brings me out in sweats, as it’s the last of the Peris horseshoe (coming up in this year’s league I see), and the descent from the top back down to the valley is brutally steep, and although grassy, unforgiving on tired knees.  I was pleased with my descending all things considered, and found a good line down this time, but just as I was feeling proud of myself for apparently leading a little trail of runners behind me on my clever new ‘line’, I fell flat on my face in the bog!  After jumping the stream, it’s a sole-of-feet singeing pound back down the roadway into Llanberis.  I always think this is the most dangerous part of the race – a high risk of catching a stud and tripping on very hard ground, and a couple of runners crossing the line gushing blood from hands and elbows were testimony to this theory!

Our crew did very well indeed, with particular mention for Lucy who, according to the results on FB was third lady overall!  Great to have seven Pensbys crossing the line, and enjoying ice cream in the village afterwards.  A huge thanks to the race organisers and all the marshals.

 

Ralph

 

The official team photo, and the team surveying the profile of the route and trying to spot the biggest mountain they could run up!

A quick round up of other news….

Primarily the Road League continued last Tuesday at Walton Park 5 Mile race, where seven Pensby Runners turned out to race – six in vests and one in disguise!  This is a great little race – well organised and very well supported, consisting of three laps around the park.  Laps two and three contain a little bit of up, but for the most part the course is flat and, on Tuesday we had fairly ideal weather – a warm day that had cooled off to a very bearable temperature by race time at 7:15pm.    This resulted in great times all round and a couple of new additions to the Road League table.

Pensby team at the finish of Walton Park 5 mile

 

The only down side was that on the very same night, the Thurstaston Multi Terrain Challenge was taking place over on the Wirral. Participation and support Steve Saunder’s annual Wirral Way lung buster are a real tradition for many people at the club, so some otherwise road-racers opted for the MT instead.  In the end 33 runners from the club took part in the race, which involves sections on trail, beach and briefly on tarmac.  Notably Lucy was second lady on the night, with Rob third overall and Zach coming in an impressive 12th.  Thanks to Steve and team for another really enjoyable event!

 

 

Pensbys at the start, and hitting the beach, in the Multi Terrain Challenge

 

Last but not least, three of us made the trip down to Llangollen for the Ysgol Dinas Bran fell race, the first of the 2018 Summer Fell League.  This is the first time this race has featured in a Pensby league and I think the general consensus was very favourable.  It’s a short race, at under 5 miles, but it packs a decent punch.  Heading from the school (after a cross country-like lap of the playing filed to spread the runners out)  you pretty much immediately hit a very steep road climb, followed by an uphill and then undulating section of trail.  This takes you to the real hill climb, up the side of a grassy slope leading up to a castle, which you circle before descending sharply down a zig-zag of stony paths (very good fun).  You repeat this hill circuit before a rather foot-roasting descent home down that steep section of trail and road.  Slightly damp conditions underfoot made for tricky, greasy descents.  The cakes and tea at the finish were excellent.  I think this one will feature again in the future.

Pensby Runners Celebrate Excalibur Successes

A huge well done to Pensby’s own Nigel Crompton for putting on another brilliant Excalibur event.  We know that Nigel would also extend a big thank you to a whole host of people of volunteered their time for the day as well.  It was a fantastic success with great numbers taking part in the 10K, half marathon and full marathon events, and the stream of positive comments crossing the Excalibur Facebook page is a real testament to just how much everyone enjoyed themselves, and to all the hard work Nigel and his team put in.  Thank you to everyone who offered such warm support on the way around as well.

 

A pre race confab or past and present Pensbys

 

 

As Nigel had promised, it was a glorious summer’s day. In fact, at times a little too glorious, I think a lot of people would agree!  Those of us taking part in the marathon kicked things off at 9am and already by that time it was warm enough to be vest only weather if you were confident your shoulders were well enough lathered in sun cream.  This was my third running of the full marathon and I went in a little more prepared this time around for just how brutal the race is.

 

Eddie descending before the climb up toward Moel Arthur carpark in the half marathon

 

There are a couple of things about the Excalibur that make it a particularly hard race I think – the 5500 ft of climb aside!  The first is just how runnable it is.  The majority of the route is very much runnable terrain and some if it can be taken at quite a lick.  However, the climb and undulation are relentless and that combination of elevation and speed is a real test of the legs.  This for me is one of the things that makes it such a unique test.  The second thing is that it’s really a race of two halves.  To me the first half flies by (as is often the case in marathons), and it’s easy to assume that once you’ve rounded that furthest north hill and you’re back on the nice wide footpaths again, that it’s going to be plain sailing (the sharp climb from Moel Arthur car park aside).  However, there’s something that chips away at your will power every time you round a corner to come across another section of up. Or find yourself dropping down a hillside, knowing that that tiny bump on Moel Famau, the highest thing in the vicinity, is your destination and you’re going to be making that descent back up in climb and then some.  And that little bump, that gradually becomes discernible as Jubilee Tower, never seems to get any closer…. Oh and now through in the addition of just a tiny bit more up and down right at the very end, just as your calves have turned to jelly and your quads are screaming….nothing quite like it!

 

 

Carole and Lucy steaming through mile 8 of the half marathon

 

Other people will have to speak to the intensity of the half marathon and 10K but it’s clear from the profile that both are leg busting events.  The reduction in distance and in climb do not share a linear relationship, so these are not races to be taken lightly by any stretch of the imagination.

Ben and Kev descending….

 

And making that inevitable ascent.

 

 

Anyway, enough of my ramblings and on with the important stuff!  Pensby runners were competing over all three distances, and with some success.  John Hunt was second in the marathon distance.  Rob Grantham won the half marathon, with Lucy Partridge first lady and Eddie Roche 5th overall.  Ursula Moore was second lady in the half marathon and  Gary Parker won the 10K.  Pensby Runners also picked up a number of age category prizes and most importantly we were very well represented across all three races – something that is becoming a bit of a yearly tradition for the club.  It was also really good to see a number of ex-Pensby runners, who have moved on to lesser things, but we still love them anyway!

 

Great running everyone, and roll on 2019!

Pensby runners take on the heat for Liverpool Spring 10K

Late winter featured of occasional ‘beast from the east’ related race cancellation, whilst spring this year appears to have brought with it the opposite kind of weather issue.  After a melting hot London Marathon, some Pensby Runners faced up to the heat in the Liverpool Spring 10K.

 

Some Pensby finishers and a local interloper! 

Run over a faster course this year, the race attracted about three and a half thousand runners.  The race organisers were trialing a new route, starting by the Metropolitan Cathedral and travelling up to Princes Park along the long, straight Princes Road, before heading on into various loops in and around Sefton Park.  This avoided some of the up hill sections that featured in previous iterations that both started and finished in Sefton and afforded a larger start zone and the option to stagger the starting of each pen.  I thought it was a great race, but it was certainly tough.  Despite being very flat, if not net down overall, the ‘uphill’ sections really hit my legs and some of the loops and hairpins in of the latter stages were more psychologically challenging than anything else.  The less said about that slightly uphill run in at the finish the better….

 

The race was the second on our road league, and on the Merseyside Grandprix, and it was great to see a decent number of runners out in Pensby vests and recording some cracking times despite the weather.  Simon Rogers gets special mention for being the first home, and for very much flying the Pensby flag in the grand prix.  He’s due to continue heading up his agre group.  A big well done though to all the Pensby Runners taking part and thanks to Gary for the photos (more available here).  Hopefully everyone’s legs will have recovered in time for either Walton Park 5 mile, or the Thurstaston Multi Terrain race tonight!

 

Rob, Ralph and Simon pushing up Hope Street.  (Rob is the one dressed as a teenager!)

April’s News!

Wow, where to start?

 

Firstly a huge well done to the Pensby Runners who took part in today’s Chester Half Marathon.  There were some brilliant times, but probably most notably achievement goes to Lucy Shayle who was running her first half marathon. Great running and great to see such a good turn out – 15 Pensby Runners altogether.

 

There were eight Pensbys at the scorching London Marathon last weekend.  Some old hands like Andie Gow and some first timers like Rob Chalmers, who was running as our club allocation representative.    I was driving back to Liverpool at the time, stopping in service stations on the M6 to keep track with everyone’s progress on the app, very happy to see each running safely crossing the line in what were very challenging conditions.

Andie running in the heat of London (thanks Mark for the photo

 

On the same day, Rob Beech was up on the coast for a slightly cooler (I think only a touch though) Blackpool Marathon, and only went a came fourth in 2:50!  Wow!

 

We had 17 Pensby Runners out for the second Wirral Seaside Run of the 2018 series, from Leasowe Lighthouse down to New Brighton.   For the second time this year the runners had a tail wind most of the way, so there were some pretty fast times.  Although a couple of people commented on how we exfoliated they felt after being sandblasted from the left hand side by the gusts whipping in off the beach. Well done to all the runners, and to Mark, Gordon and the rest of the team who make the series happen.  I’ve posted some photos of the race here, and you can find out more about the series at the official website here.

Happy Pensbys in last week’s Seaside Run – deceptive peaceful looking beach views as well.  It was windy!!

 

Going back a little further now there were 11 runners from the club out for a sunny Liverpool Half Marathon, on March 25, with Jayne also our one runner in the 10 miler – and great to see her running so strongly after coming back from injury.  And continuing the strong representation at the local races, nine of us pitched up for a the Tunnel 10K on April 15th.  It was my first time running this race and I was left feeling like I had some unfinished business with that uphill out of the tunnel!  I’m already down for next year’s race and I’m sure I won’t be alone.  On the same day, Simon Rogers was out lone representative at the St Helens 10K – the first race of the road league and rather under supported. Hopefully the league will start to get up a head of steam at next weekend’s Liverpool Spring 10K.

 

Helen and Rob running in the Liverpool Half Marathon

 

 

Finally, the Summer fell league starts soon with the Ysgol Dinas Bran Race on May 9th – a new midweeker for our league, down in Llangollen.  Andrew Sumner was out getting some training in at the Yorkshire Three Peaks race this weekend.  It’ll put him in good stead for the Pedol Peris which makes an appearance on this year’s league.

Thanks as always to Chris for documenting some of the weekend and weeknight training runs – in all weathers as you can see from the second shot!

 

As always, a lot of great training runs, and club handicaps going on, both midweek and on the weekend. Thanks to all of our many coaches for leading these – do come and join us some time if you are not (yet) a member!!

 

Ralph

 

 

Pensby Runners brave all kinds of weather in huge weekend of running worldwide

Wow, this news roundup certainly took a while to round up!

 

Despite some varied and often inclement weather, there were a lot of Pensby Runners determined to get out and race in one form or other, somewhere in the world!!

The weekend started early with our quarterly Chairman’s Challenge event, which for anyone outside of the club or new to it, takes in three of the highest and lowest points in the Heswall area of the Wirral, where we train.  The title ‘challenge’ is no joke, with 993 feet of climb in the 7.6 mile route.  Nine runners turned out on Friday night, lower than normal numbers, but not surprising given the amount of running and travelling the rest of the weekend had in store.  Well done to those who ran, and thanks to those who helped keep time.

Australia was the starting point for Saturday’s running – the wonderfully named Wollongong Park Run (I have always secretly wanted to work at the University of Wollongong because of its name), where Tracy and Brian rocked up to grab 1st and 2nd places in their age groups.    Back in the UK we had runners and volunteers out at Birkenhead and Princes Park.

The Cross Country Nationals were down in London at Parliament Hill on Saturday afternoon, and four of our runners made the trip south to take part.  A huge well done to Helen, Rob, Andie and Nigel, not only for your running but also for making the effort to get down there on a freezing cold day and literally fly the flag for the club.  There were well over three thousand runners in the senior categories, quite an event and one we’re very proud to have some jade vests competing in.  Next year the Nationals come North, and hopefully we’ll take even more of our runners along.

Then on Sunday the intrepid cross country crew were at it again – Rob quite literally having run the day before in London – at Birchwood country park.  Six of our runners turned out in total, and special mentions goes to Lucy who came 6th in the ladies field.  By all accounts it was another rather ‘fresh’ race.

 

Meanwhile on the road, there were Pensbys in action both in the UK and on the Continent.  Rebecca was down in Brighton for the Brighton half, in arctic conditions, her first, and run in a brilliant time – well done Rebecca.  In Wrexham five Pensbys including your truly were out for the Village Bakery half, where notably Kate smashed five minutes off her PB in what were at times quite breezy conditions – I found them hard going in comparison to other years at the VB.  Ben was at Oulton Park half and admitted that after a while the laps start to get to him – although it was his third time back there, so there must be something going for the route!  And finally on the road, we had two runners, Rob and Iain, running in the Malta Marathon, and two more, Emily and Victoria, running in the half.  In contrast to the UK weather it sounded rather hot and humid over there, but the waterside photos all looked rather appealing!!

 

And rounding things off, some of our fell runners, Dave, Paul and Lisa to be precise, were out in the Clwydians taking part in the 18.5 mile Sheeptracks race.  This is a tricky run, with 4500 feet of climb and a lot of navigation required – but plenty of cake as a reward for your hard work at the end!  It sounded like they all got home in one piece – as you can see from Paul’s photo there was some concentration of the navigation element required.

Well done everyone! I’m sure I missed a few people out (apologies), but what a weekend of running!

 

 

Seaside Runs

Just to let everyone know that the first Seaside Run (5K) for 2018 is only just over four weeks away. Here is the complete list of dates for the season.

Dates for 2018

RACE 1 Wednesday 28th March (6.30 p.m.)

RACE 2 Wednesday 25th April (7.00 p.m.)

RACE 3 Wednesday 30th May (7.00 p.m.)

RACE 4 Wednesday 27th June (7.00 p.m.)

RACE 5 Wednesday 25th July (7.00 p.m.)

RACE 6 Wednesday 29th August (7.00 p.m.)

See www.seasideruns.com for more information

Sunday Running

Just a quick Sunday report – after a rather grey and wet Saturday, the sun came out for us all on Sunday and quite a few Pensby’s braved the ice and even a little snow, to catch a few rays and put in some miles.

 

The normal Sunday run group went off from Thurstaston for a a bit of beach and trail.

And Jeff, Ciaran, Andy, Dave and Fiona headed up into the snowy Carneddau in Snowdonia to take part in the Mini Mountain Marathon.

 

Meanwhile I had a lone plod on the Liverpool side of things, where Sefton Park was looking pretty in the early morning sunshine!

 

Ralph

Weekend Round Up

Another busy weekend for Pensby Runners.  Well done to the five Pensbys who headed to Leeds on Saturday for the Northern Cross Country champs.  It sounded like a very runnable course, but not without it’s claggy sections.  A particularly big well done to Claudia, who was representing the club whilst running her first ever XC. Quite a start!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Sunday we had 12 runners out at the Croxteth Hall cross country.  It’s a new course, and I thought it was a lot of fun – pretty fast in sections, with a nice mix of woodland trail and open grass paths, and several stinky knee deep water features to wade through :)  Special mentions this time for Sarah, who came first lady, having not long returned to cross country, and to Rob and Paul, who had already competed in Leeds the day before, and came back for more :)

 

The Junior Fun run went out on Sunday – thanks Stella and Peter, and there was the usual Sunday Run on the Wirral way, for the ‘grown ups’.

 

Finally, Andrew Pettitt only went and won a marathon!  I’m hoping he will provide a full report – but it’s fair to say that the club are very proud of him!

 

Ralph