Multi Terrain Series underway!

Lots of Pensby Runners out at last night’s Wirral Multi Terrain race at Royden Park. A great start to the series, and thanks to everyone, including a lot of Pensby’s who helped marshal and organise. Some great running on the night all round. It was quite dark by the time we got round to the second lap (hence the rather blurry photo), and quite tricky therefore to hold your footing on the rocks and tree root infested paths! Looking forward now to the next race, on the 12th at Thurstaston!


Wirral Seaside Runs Round-up

A huge thanks to Mark and Gordon for their organisation of this year’s Wirral Seaside Run series.  I think it’s fair to say they did a fantastic job, and the steadily increasing numbers of runners week by week was testimony to their hard work.

The presentation evening took place this week and it was great to see so many people there to pick up their prizes.  On top of that, the race organisers were able to make a donation to the Friends of Leasowe Lighthouse of £500, as a thank you for letting the race use their wonderful venue for registrations.


£500 was presented to F of LL                          Fiona picks up some fizz on behalf of            

                                                                                  herself and Mandy for their hard work

                                                                                  on the registration desk.

 The organsisers!  + our esteemed Chairman          



Below are some photos from the presentation night.  Over the course of the series Pensby Runners as a club did itself proud. The club fielded 44 runners overall, but also numerous marshals and start and finish volunteers.  Four Pensby Runners picked up category prizes and ten Pensby Runners received Grand Prix prizes.


Tracy, Jenny  and Angela picking up their category prizes.


Total Statistics:

Over the course of the series we had a total 552 runners, of which 336 were men and 216 were women


29 Runners competed in 6 races

29 Runners competed in 5 races


203 were non club members and 349 were club members

The top clubs were:

Wirral – 75

Wallasey – 56

Pensby – 44

BTR – 20

Ellesmere Port – 20

Penny Lane 13

UTS – 13


Categories were as follows

SM – 107

SW – 88

M40 – 87

W40 – 56

M50 – 60

W50 – 32

M60 – 32

W60 – 12

M U 11 – 14

W U 11 – 6

M U 20 – 36

W U 20 – 22


Popularity of the race improved as the number of runners increased:

Race 1 – 164

Race 2 – 118

Race 3 – 200

Race 4 – 168

Race 5 – 203

Race 6 – 221



Looking forward to seeing you all again in 2018!!


Ben’s Cilcain Show Fell Race report

I joined Pensby in the summer of  2016 and when I heard about the fell league thought, this is one type of race I won’t be having a go at. Things can change.

I am registered blind, but have a little useful sight. My eye condition is opticatrophy and as a result, I can see colour, light dark and pick out shapes, but everything is very blurred. The field of vision I have is very small. I find it hard to pick out objects such as lampposts, telegraph posts and overhanging branches. Running in the dark is even harder where a lot of colour is lost too.

However over the last year I have started to think that it would be good to have a go at running on a fell run route, maybe as a practice so I don’t hold anyone up from Pensby as they guide me or anyone else in the race who gets stuck behind me on a narrow section. When Nigel posted that the last race of the Summer Fell League was approaching and it was one anyone could do, I couldn’t resist. When Nigel then came back and said he would guide me, it started to dawn on me what I had done.


Ben and Nigel, on the descent from Meol Famau.


Standing at the start line I was asked how I felt and nervous, worried and excited would describe it  accurately, but our plan to start at the back and hopefully have more space sounded perfect to me. The race started and the first part was right up my street, a nice road section! When the incline started and we made our way past people gradually. It felt great. The path was stony, but nothing too tricky. This did change after a bit and Nigel talked me through where to put my foot and warned me of every step up. It was a section I couldn’t run as it was too involved for my sight to keep up with, but most people were walking, so that was fine. Nigel kept telling me that it would get steeper and he was absolutely right. The last section up to the top was definitely a walk.

Downhill sounded great, but as we set out, I got a shock. This was the steepest ground I have ever run down. It took me by surprise and I was glad when the ground flattened a bit. After a bit I got used to this and it was great to run, though I wasn’t looking too much at the view, as I didn’t really want to see the drop. We once again got to a section which was a bit tricky for me to run, but as we made our way down the track. I stumbled a couple of times as I clipped the ground to the side, but nothing scary.

Once we got back onto the road it was much easier for me, as I could make out the surface I was putting my foot down on and see the edges of the road easily. The last climb towards the finish was great and seeing everyone from Pensby at the last bend cheering me in really rounded off a great experience.

Thank you to Nigel and everyone at Pensby for making the whole spectrum of races possible for me. This capped it off perfectly.


Sun sets for 2017 on Wirral Seaside Runs series

Pensby Runners love to run, and they love the seaside! So what better way to pass a few Wednesday nights this summer, than the Wirral Seaside Run series?  I don’t have the stats to hand on how many Pensby Runners ran in this years series, or were race organisers, course marshals, or finish line staff, but as press secretary I put it at around a million and a half (give or take).  Sometimes the wind was with us, mostly it was against us.  There was sun, rain and the odd bit of horizontal sand.   Well done to all the runners and a huge thank you to the organisers and to Leasowe Lighthouse.


Pensby racers take podium place at the Northern Mile Championships

A huge well done to the Pensby Runners team of Lisa, Zach, Julie and Chris who came third at the inaugural Northern Mile Championships at Birkenhead Park on Thursday last week.  Great running all round – very proud of you all.   Six or so other Pensby Runners also took part in various events on the night, or turned out in support –  a really fun night of running.  Looking forward to next year!

Multi Terrain September 5th – Volunteers needed

September sees the return of the annual multi-terrain series each Tuesday at Royden Park, Thurstaston, Harrison Drive and Arrowe Park. Pensby Runners host the first one at Royden Park on Tuesday 5th September. Naturally, we want as many of you to run as possible and usually nobody is at the club on Tuesdays in September but if anybody is unable to run we also need volunteers for this first one both to marshall and to help with the car parking. For now, if people could just indicate on this post whether they are able to help or tell John Keyworth via Lesley Keyworth or

Running Prostate Cancer Away

Running Prostate Cancer Away


This is about my experience of prostate cancer as a runner, in particular preparing for and recovering from surgery (a robotic assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy) and returning to running. My contribution is less about the medical procedure and more about my experience as a keen runner discovering that I had prostate cancer. I’ve appreciated hearing about others’ experiences while I’ve been going through this, and so I’m writing this primarily to support runners like me who are facing prostate cancer and are keen to remain active and fit.


There are obviously good reasons to be acutely aware of the dangers of prostate cancer: The notion that ‘men tend to die with prostate cancer rather than from it’ can be fatally misleading, and leads to complacency: prostate cancer is a killer especially if it develops in ‘younger’ men (I would include anyone in that category who considers that they still have active years yet to live). As Cancer Research point out: ‘In males in the UK, prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death, with around 11,300 deaths in 2014; equivalent to 31 deaths per day’ ( The absence of obvious symptoms is another of the reasons it is so dangerous: as a 60 year old I was fit and running well enough to win my veteran’s age category fairly frequently in local races, with the cancer having no affect whatsoever on my performance. Having to visit the bathroom at night was my only symptom. My father, despite also being fit and active, had presented late with prostate cancer, and it was found to have spread, and he had to undergo debilitating surgery and hormone treatment, from which he only temporarily recovered. As a consequence of his experience I had been undergoing regular PSA tests since my late 50s, and I was determined to be vigilant rather than suffer his fate. I was diagnosed with cancer in February 2017, age 61, following a PSA test, an ultrasound scan and a biopsy, and I opted for a radical prostatectomy, the complete surgical removal of the prostate, an option since all the cancer appeared to be contained within the prostate.


There are two consequences of radical prostatectomy surgery that troubled me greatly: the first was the prospect of incontinence, the second the curtailment of my running for an extended period. In order to diminish the magnitude of either of these I decided to use the months prior to my operation to become as fit as I possibly could. My fitness constituted three dimensions: running as much as possible, Kegel exercises, and yoga. The running would be the main contributor to my aerobic fitness; the Kegel exercises were to strengthen my pelvic floor in order to increase my chances of regaining my continence post-op, and the yoga was for my flexibility and overall well-being – and to help me reconcile myself to my new and unwelcome condition.


The diagnosis had an odd effect on some of my friends and wider family when they first heard about my having cancer. I remember going to a restaurant for a relative’s birthday celebration where one person hurried over and offered me a comfy chair, going to some trouble to see that I was comfortable, as if I might expire at any moment. I didn’t have the heart to mention that I had been intensively training for several weeks and was racing in the Yorkshire Three Peaks Mountain Marathon the following morning! After that I tended to avoid the word cancer when other people asked about my health, and to simply say that I had to have some surgery; I found most people assumed it would be treatment for a running injury, unless they inquired further. Later I became more accustomed to the fact of having the cancer myself, and found it easier to talk about it and to reassure people – and also I realised that I had a responsibility to raise awareness, as others had done with me.


My 2017 running schedule featured four major events: the Yorkshire Three Peaks race at the end of April, the Excalibur mountain half marathon in May, a Lake District expedition in June, and the Snowdon International Race in July. Being fit enough for each of these would entail a lot of running in any case, and I had done each before, some of them several times. This year I decided that not only would I accomplish all of them, but that I would train sufficiently hard to run them all the better than I had previously. As will become clear, I didn’t quite manage all of this, but I have no regrets about trying.


Here I am, on the left, in full flight at the final stage of the Llantysilio fell race,on a beautiful morning in March 2017, a month after the biopsy and diagnosis, and four months before the surgery. At this stage I was determined to run as much as my time and my legs would allow, with the idea of being as fit as possible when it came to my operation.


I have been running for many years, and I enjoy running all surfaces: road, cross-country, trail and fell, but it’s the latter that really inspires me and where I get most of my enjoyment. However, and perhaps ironically, I’m probably a better road runner than I am hill runner these days, as with age my ability to ascend steep hills quickly has diminished a little, whereas my pace and endurance on the flat is holding up well. Nonetheless, most of my training and most of the races that I do are in the familiar hills and mountains of North Wales and the Lake District,


Since all of my milestones were hill races, I devoted as much time as I could in March and April to running in the mountains, using the Clwydian hills as my training ground. I walk these hills regularly with my partner, who was to provide the most unstinting support and love throughout the whole period. It was to be my great good fortune to have such unconditional support from her and our family, even when my obsession with running got the better of me, which it did from time to time. I’m also fortunate to belong to a great local running club, Pensby Runners, who not only do regular training sessions but also have a hill running contingent who organise and support a fell running league. It’s worth mentioning that the support and encouragement of the club was a very significant factor in enabling me to come to terms with my illness and to remain positive throughout. Other members of the club had experienced prostate cancer and its various treatments, and their advice and support was invaluable.


I entered as many races for the club league as my work commitments would allow, and trained accordingly. Prior to the Three Peaks Race I ramped up my running mileage to over a hundred miles a month, which I optimistically hoped to maintain right up to my prostatectomy operation in July. This running schedule was complemented by my daily dog walks (c.30 miles per month). Meanwhile I commenced my Kegel exercises daily: these are simply the repetitive clenching and releasing of the pelvic floor, but I didn’t find them easy to do at first – identifying the nature of the exercise was the greatest challenge. I have since read the many men find it very difficult even to identify the pelvic floor muscles. However, once I’d got the knack I started to do them regularly. I found it helpful to align the exercises to my daily routines; I would do them while I was driving, using speed restriction signs as markers, clenching between some while releasing between others. This became so ingrained that I continue to do so whenever I get in a car, even when I’m not driving. I wasn’t sure if this was going to pay off, or if it would do anything at all, but I now know that it was significant in the recovery of my continence.


My yoga continued on a weekly basis. I’d only been doing yoga classes for about a year when I received my diagnosis, I was very grateful that I had. Whereas I tend to be a fairly decent runner for my age, I am inflexible and awkward when practising yoga. My partner is the opposite in both respects: she grumbles about her running (although she’s actually pretty good at it) but is graceful and poised on the yoga mat. I have found unexpected benefits for my running arising from my yoga; the way of thinking that I have been taught has helped me deal with the anxiety and distress that follows a cancer diagnosis, and enhances the peace of mind that follows long runs.


The Yorkshire Three Peaks race was both a triumph and disaster. A triumph in that I completed it and my time was better than the previous year (4hrs 50min), but a disaster in that I fell over twice coming off Ingleborough, and the second time hard enough to injure my leg and chest; neither stopped me completing the race – I was only a couple of miles from the end and determined to hobble in within a reasonable time – but they did enough damage to drastically curtail my training schedule afterwards. I managed to do enough to get round the Excalibur race three weeks later, but my time was worse than in previous years, and I wasn’t in great shape at the finish. The injuries also meant that the Lake District event in June had to be cancelled. However, I recovered and regained form towards the middle of June, which was just as well considering that there were only a few weeks to go before the Snowdon race – and my operation.


During the month before the operation I found myself dwelling negatively about what might happen to me; I was pretty scared at the prospect, and it cast a shadow over the routines of my ordinary life. The Snowdon race was a great help in this respect, occurring as it did four days before the operation, as simply accomplishing the course, a relentless five mile uphill slog to the 3,560ft summit from Llanberis followed by an exhilarating but tricky descent, lifted my spirits and my confidence. The fastest runners completed the whole race before I could even get to the top (which took me one hour and nine minutes), but I didn’t let this trouble me; on the contrary I was just delighted to be there and to have accomplished it.


The night before my operation I went on a nine mile club run, partly because I knew I wouldn’t be able to run again for some time, and partly to subdue my terror. The following morning I presented myself at 7am at my local hospital, and promptly fainted within 10 minutes of arriving as a nonplussed nurse attempted to take a routine blood sample. I should explain that my resilience as a runner deserts me in hospitals, and I was probably exhausted too. Thankfully a merciful anaesthetist suggested that I should be put under general anaesthetic sooner rather than later, as by this time I was feeling thoroughly wretched.


The next thing I was conscious of was waking up after my three and a half hour operation, although for me it only seemed as if a few minutes had elapsed. The robot assisted-operation seemed to have been a success according to the assistant surgeon. The morphine had put me into pleasant stupor, although I was emotionally overwhelmed, especially when my partner arrived shortly after I recovered consciousness. I had to stay in hospital one night for observation, and for most of the following day, which seemed like an age. I didn’t sleep much, mainly because of anxiety and the effects of anaesthetic. In the morning I was encouraged to get up and walk straight away. My belly was swollen due to the gas they to pumped into me to make room for the robot to work, and this pained me when lying down especially. Nevertheless I showered and dressed, and at tea-time I was ready to be collected and taken home. The care I received throughout was marvellous, and the nurses were very encouraging and thoughtful beyond the call of duty.


I had been fitted with a catheter, which I quickly learned to despise. More than anything else, it was the catheter which felt uncomfortable and restricted my movement, on top of the sore swollen belly. I also had to have my trousers and underwear creatively adapted (my partner is a textiles wizard) to accommodate a huge belly and to give easy access to the catheter bag. However, over the next few days I learned to move more freely and even to grow accustomed to the catheter – using lubrication and being fastidious about cleaning it helped greatly. I was constipated at first, which is an anticipated effect of the painkillers, and I discovered that frequent walks around the garden combined with lots of fruit, vegetables and liquid based foods solved that problem as did a higher ‘booster’ toilet seat which took away some of the pain of sitting and standing. I those first days slow walking was actually more comfortable than sitting or lying down.


At first I was wary of going away from the house, overtaken by waves of intense melancholic emotion, and rather embarrassed at my incapacities. I did eventually venture out, at first walking gingerly up the road with my partner and the dogs, and then gradually further afield. I started to enjoy going out, and everything in the world seemed to grow brighter as the first days passed by. About five days after the operation I visited an art exhibition at Port Sunlight, which was my first proper outing, and managed to enjoy the afternoon and engage with the pictures and forget my troubles for a while, overcoming my fear of wearing a catheter in a public space.


After a week I had the catheter removed. Despite hating the thing I’d also been dreading this moment, since this would also be the moment when I discovered how bad my incontinence was going to be. My fears prove unfounded, however, and even by the end of the first day my system seemed to reset itself. I now realise that the combination of months of Kegel exercises and my overall fitness were paying off. Within twenty four hours I was wearing normal clothes and underwear with light-use pads, and being teased about exchanging ‘nappies’ for ‘big boy pants’.


At the time of writing, four weeks after the operation, I still have to wear light pads (no big deal) for ‘stress incontinence’ (leakage through sudden movements or sneezing etc.) and I need to get up in the night every three hours or so, although I expect this to improve with time. I have the odd accident, but I do the Kegal exercises every day to help with this. I’m still feeling fragile and I’m careful not to lift anything heavy, but I’m out and about and interacting with the world, and driving again. I walk every day with the dogs – now I’m up to two and a half miles at a fairly normal walking pace – my first walks were very slow due to fatigue and discomfort from the wounds in my abdomen. The soreness is gradually subsiding, and I find that I can walk, sit and sleep in more comfort. I volunteered for marshalling at my local Parkrun, which proved to be a great idea, as it enabled me to do something useful at the same time as getting involved with running again.


I’ve learned that the best way to overcome the feeling of helplessness that arises from the disease and from being subjected to medical processes is to emphasise the things that I have complete control over: my fitness and how to fill my days. Prior to the surgery I became as fit as I could possibly hope to be, and ensured that I spent as much time as I could doing the things that I find most rewarding: spending time with my family and friends, upping my running, being in the hills, yoga, gardening, dog walking, drawing, reading, writing and playing music. In all these things I have agency, whereas I had none with cancer. Post-surgery I have continued to do these things where I can, and one by one reintroducing them as I’ve gained strength – in particular I’ve encouraged visitors or visited friends, and greatly appreciated their company.


I have learned to do more about the things that I could, and tried to worry less about the things that I couldn’t. I’ve had some encouraging role models in this respect, since there were others at the running club facing similar or more severe tests with cancer. Their determination to improve the quality of their lives through running and fitness has been a great source of inspiration to me.


I intend to write again in a few weeks time on my return to running and my progress with my fitness. In the meantime, I recommend and John Quigley’s ‘Running with Prostate Cancer – my Journey’ at:


Jeff Adams


August 2017

Pensby Runners Hit the Hills

Quite a steep weekend for some Pensby runners. Several of us up in the fells as Two Hillforts and Maesgwm Muddle in Wales.  Maesgym got the poorer hand in terms of the weather, with low fog bringing visibility on the tops down to just a few metres at times.  I opted to run the early start and have a natter with an old friend from Eryri on the way around.  Today, Andrew, Andy and Dave took part in the Two Hillforts race in much more balmy conditions.  Quite a tough little race by the sounds of things, and a favourite among our club members.  Grins of the weekend though go to Tracy and Brian out on the trails in Cumbria at the Hoad Hill half marathon. Tracy took 7th woman on the day, and Brian can claim a moral victory having run an extra couple of miles after following the marathon route by accident!


Manvers Dusk till Dawn Ultra – Rob Beech’s race report

Quite possibly the most ‘marathoned’ runner in the club’s history (I await a challenge to this statement!), Rob Beech took on the Manvers Dusk till Dawn Ultra this weekend, and came away with over 50 miles (not entirely intentionally, it turns out), under his belt.  It won’t be long, I’m sure, until that belt has a Centurion buckle on it – challenge for your there Rob ;)


“As anyone who knows me is aware, I love a marathon, I love laps, and if it happens to be around a lake then even better.  Manvers Dusk till Dawn Ultra was therefore the perfect race.  With a start time of 6pm and a finish at 6am it was also family friendly and at the bargain cost of £15 with camping, parking and food/drink included it was simply unmissable.  So I took myself off with the intention of running a marathon at worst and getting a qualifying distance for a big boy ultra at best.


At 6:00pm a claxon goes off and the race starts, 3.2mile loops of Manvers Lake via canal path, country park and a public park.  The weather held up quite well and by 10:00pm I had finished the marathon and the first decision about whether to carry on.  Given that my legs were great and it had only just gone dark it was an easy choice.  I carried on with the next goal of running 50k, something which I haven’t done for a couple of years.  Before I knew it 50k had come and gone and I was still lapping.


Midnight arrives and thankfully I don’t turn into a pumpkin. To be honest it’s not often I stay up past midnight these days and again given the weather continued to hold up and my legs felt good I decided to continue.  So run, eat, lap, repeat and so on steadily passing 35 miles, 40 miles, 45 miles and then the long awaited rain finally arrives.  The problem with off road running along country park paths is that the second the rain comes the entire path turns to sludge.


The qualifying criteria for quite a lot of international and popular ultramarathons is a 50mile finish minimum and it was therefore a no brainer to continue to the 50 mile point despite the horrific rain that ensued.  Notwithstanding the incredibly muddy trainers and near transparent T-Shirt 50 mile came soon enough. unfortunately I’d forgotten that this was a 3.2 mile course and I’d therefore have to run 51.5 mile to finish so a final slog to finish the distance in 8 hours 4 minutes and there we go, not only my qualifying distance for longer ultras but also my longest run ever by a mere 20 miles.
I cant praise this event highly enough. it was cheap, everything you could possibly need including accommodation was included and they still managed to donate money to charity and provide certificates and medals.  Hopefully next year a few more will join me!!!”

Pensby ultra runners tackle the Lakeland 50

This was a busy weekend for Pensby’s ultra distance runners.  While Rob was over in Yorkshire (report to follow), Ian, Paul and Andy were in the Lakes tackling the Lakeland 50.  Anyone doubting how tough this race is can check out the route at:    With about 3100 m of climb and some pretty rough terrain to contend with, it’s not for the fainthearted.   Although as you’ll see from the attached photos, the views are rewarding!

All three Pensby’s made it home to Coniston and it sounded like the weather largely held for them.  They looked pretty happy about it too! Well done guys!