Two Hillforts Fell Race

Well done to the eight Pensby Runners who headed over to Llandyrnog for the Two Hillforts race, as part of the Pensby Fell League.  At just over 9 miles in length, with over 1800 foot of climb, the race has a reputation for being a lovely run in good weather but no push over.  Fortunately the sun was shining, particularly on Rob Grantham who finished second overall.  Great to see a couple of new runners to the League, Hazel and Mark, as well as appearances from the likes of Andie and Claudia who don’t get into the hills as regularly as some, and who both put in very strong performances. Also great to see Nigel and Jeff going from strength to strength as they both recover to hopefully 100% running capacity again after long term lay offs.  I have to put in a mention for Andrew P as well now – he gets a photo in here powering a downhill and looking as comfortable as ever in the terrain – 4th Pensby overall for Andrew.  Great running all round – well done Pensbys!

Thanks to SJ Photography for photos:  https://www.facebook.com/SteveJefferyPhotography/

 

September Multi Terrain series

A reminder (and information for newer members) that in September there is the Multi Terrain series every Tuesday night. There is unlikely to be anybody at the club on Tuesdays in September. The races are:

Tues 4th Sept Royden Park 7pm

Tues 11th Sept Harrison Drive 7pm

Tues 18th Sept Thurstaston 6.30pm

Tues 25th Sept Arrowe Park 6.30pm

£1 to enter, Club vests MUST be worn. You are earning points for your club and we’d like to see as many members taking part as possible. Hopefully, see you there.

Hilbre Island Run Sunday 5th August 2018.

The second “Run and Swim” this year took place on Sunday, 5th August to take advantage of the low tide that day. The weather was very warm and very sunny.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As previously, there were three run options – a 7.2 mile run (5 miles out to the main island and 2 miles back); a 5-mile run (3 miles out to the main island 2 miles back) and a 4 mile run (2 miles out to the main island and 2 miles back).

 

Due to family holidays, numbers were slightly down on our June excursion but nevertheless, 37 plus one dog completed the run, and 22 joined in the swim. Nine members completed various pre-Chester Marathon distances of 5, 8 or 10 miles, prior to the event.

 

We finished off with coffee at the Lattetude Cafe in Dee Lane.

 

Hopefully we will have another in 2019.

 

(Report and photos from Ian Chalmers – and from the club, another big thank you to Ian for once again being the organiser of what was a highly enjoyable and very well run event).

Hilbre Islands Run

What a brilliant run last night night!  Ian Chalmers organised another Hilbre Run from West Kirby, and 57 runners, including 11 juniors headed out from the prom, to eventually meet on the Hilbre Islands, before returning via a run or a swim, for fish and chips at Marigolds.

The Hiblre islands are small archipelago of tidal islands in the Dee estuary just off the coast from West Kirby.  At low tide it’s possible to run out to them across the beach.  Of course last night was a beautiful example of the kind of warm sunny evening we’ve been having of late, so what a night to do such a thing!  Three groups of runners headed off around 6pm on ‘pre-islands’ run routes of various lengths, before hitting the beach and following the driest path out across the sands, to rendezvous with one another on the largest of the islands.  It was such a brilliant way to unwind and particularly lovely to have so many families together on the night.  We were of course all carefully checked out and checked back in again, by Jackie and her clipboard, before most people headed to Marigolds who coped ably with a stamped of slightly sweaty and soggy runners starving for fish and chips.

A huge thank you to Ian, for once again putting in so much effort to organise an event that really epitomises the ethos of our club.  I know Ian would like to thank Claudia for originally coming up with the idea of the run, and John, Alan, Jackie and Colin for their help on the night.  As well as Marigolds for catering for us all.

Roll on next year!

 

Pensby Ploggers

Last night we replaced our normal Tuesday night training session with our first ‘Plogging’ event.  For the uninitiated, plogging is a Scandinavian concept – a portmanteau of ‘picking’ and ‘jogging’, used to described running groups going out to clear litter in their locality, whilst enjoying a health giving run.

As a running club we get a huge amount of use and pleasure out of the roadways and pathways of the Heswall area, and the wider Wirral.  Some of our members have a quite unbelievable knowledge of the little shortcuts and long forgotten footpaths in the area.  We are very aware though, that as with all populated regions, we suffer from litter and particularly plastic litter.

 

Last night more than 50 club members gathered at the squash club, donned gloves, grabbed rubbish bags and headed out for up to seven miles of running, and litter picking.  It was great to see so many people supporting what will hopefully become a regular event.  The runners returned after  an hour, and binned bag after bag of litter.  A great team effort.  Thanks to Dave Green for being chief organiser, and thanks to everyone who got involved.  I’m sure this will be happening again soon – I think plogging went down well with all involved.

 

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!)