Vale Royal AC - Senior Section

Running and Athletics in the Heart of Cheshire.


LONDON MTHN PHOTOS: Fantastic photos courtesy John Davies in Gallery here.

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CHESHIRE ROAD RACE GRAND PRIX: VRAC are defending champions both Ladies and Men.
Here are the 2018 races. Let's go for it again!

Our wealth is our HEALTH.



No shortage of races and certainly no shortage of worthy AOM candidates in May. Lot's of PB's (many at Christleton) and some excellent racing including Messrs Ainsworth, Harrington, Murray, Dutton, Haines and Beard. Ladies Helen Harrington, Gemma Barnett and Liz Renondeau all went well. However, just edging May AOM we are recognising a lady whose determined training has been rewarded with great progress on track and road. May AOM is LUCY KNIGHT.
In 3 Words 
Other Useful Website links - Click here.

Thanks to Bryan Dale for allowing us to use his photos. Visit his racephotos website for more pictures!

Injured?  See Colin Rathbone for a massage,  There are a number of good physios - ask around. Several of us have had very successful treatment at Athlete Matters in Worsley (Duncan Mason): Details below. 10% Discount for VRAC.

please email us at [email protected] with news and results.


21 June: Mike Harrington was the only VRAC member to take part in this long standing 10k in and around the park at Woolston. It was a last minute decision as by his own words "lacks the self-discipline to do a tempo session". Mike finished 4th overall and was first in the 40-49 category in a season's best of 36.24. Full results. 


17 June: Six VRACers raced in the BMAF. 5k road championships on Sunday. Fantastic runs from Sarah Murphy coming 2nd overall and 1st V40. Liz Renondeau coming in only a few seconds behind for 3rd overall and 2nd V35.  Carolyn Dooley getting a course pb to make up the team winning overall gold. Solid run from Brian Dooley on an undulating windy course.Solid run from Helen Smith and excellent 2nd W65 for Pauline Davies. More great pics from John Davies in Gallery here. Full results here.
PosGunNameCatCat PosChip 
5518.08Sarah MurphyW40118.062nd Lady
5818.17Liz RenondeauW35218.153rd Lady
7218.53Brian DooleyM451118.47 
9119.51Carolyn DooleyW40619.47 
10121.53Helen SmithW45421.23 
14524.47Pauline DaviesW65224.42 


17 June: Round 4 of the Cheshire Road Race Grand Pris series saw 16 VRAC toe the line at the magnificent Colshaw Hall 10k. Conditions were ideal on a course not known for PB potential.  There were age group wins for Stuart Doyle, James Ainsworth and Gareth Williams who had sneaked into the Vet 50 category just days earlier.  There was a PB for Rick Murray on this undulating course and Mel Johnson was just a second outside of her seasons best which bodes well for them on a quicker course. Good run also for Debbie Broad who narrowly missed out on her category prize. Full results.

PosGun timeNameLast nameChipPosGenPosCategoryPos
936:04:00RyanMoore36:03:009Male9Senior Male7
4438:53:00RobertRoe38:43:0044Male41Senior Male32
9342:17:00LeeCarrington42:08:0094Male85Senior Male49
12944:17:00LucyKnight43:50:00130Female15Senior Female1


16 June: Geoff Fawkes is our latest foreign Park Run tourist taking on Berlin is a brisk 21.44.


14 June: Round 4 of the North Cheshire Grand Prix series saw some more strong performances from the VRAC contingent. Chris Jones was first back in his first race in over a month just one place and two seconds ahead of Mike Harrington who again took the V45 prize and with it almost guaranteed the series win. Gary Richardson was next with a season's best run. Dave Haines was along next quickly followed by Chris Beard who knocked another 20 seconds of his PB set only last week with a 19.29 and must be heading for a sub 19 soon. John Clarke was in next with another solid run which has been the tale of his series. Jill Haines rounded it off for VRAC and looked like she had plenty left in the tank.  Full Results

The final race in the series is the Hollins Green 5k on Sunday 24th June.  Full details.


9-10 June: Another glorious sunny weekend in Wales saw the club complete the 20 stage relay that covers 210 miles between Caernarfon and Cardiff for the 12th time.  The team finished in the top half of the field despite a spate of late injury/illness withdrawals. Thanks to Sophie Haywood's organisational skills and ability to sort logistics the enforced team changes all worked out, quite an achievement when you consider how difficult communications can be in Wales (even when you're only 10 yards apart in Caernarfon!).

Ever present Darren Cottier got the club off to a great start by completing Stage 1 in great style with a top 20 finish. Next up was the very lean and very much in form Craig Sephton, a fantastic downhill sprint finish saw Craig gain a position and take a superb 11th place. With his car waiting for him at the finish, thanks to Sophie, Craig was quickly off to party the rest of the weekend away. Nick Haywood did Stage 3, the first of the mountain Stages, with the final downhill suiting his style perfectly, Nick finished at some speed, Nick's leg took him 88 minutes, which was slightly quicker than the time he took to 'grab a coffee' prior to the start. Legs 4 and 5 saw Athlete of the Month Lucy Knight and London Marathon star Nikki Cavanagh making their Welsh Castles debuts, both did the club proud, smiling their way to 34th and 32nd respectively. 

Welsh Castles aficionado, Paul Clutterbuck delivered a first class performance on stage 6 finishing 38th and recording a great time for the 10.7 mile stage. Dave 'Spud' Murphy completed the next stage, the second of the mountain stages. Prior to his leg Dave wasn't totally aware of how mountainous the stage is - that dawned on him halfway up the first big hill. Not daunted though former boxer Spud flew down the final hill and fought all the way to the line to ensure he gained a
place on the run in.. Stage 8 saw Jo Moly 'fresh' from completing Marathon Des Sables cope well with the heat of Wales. Jo, without her backpack, made a fine return to road racing on the undulating stage. Jo's fellow ultra runner Dave Shepherd took on stage 9. Having only returned to running a week or so earlier following a broken ankle, Dave made a cautious start before passing over 20 people in the second half of the leg to finish 24th. Phil Monks was the final runner on day 1, taking on the longest leg of the race - a mountain stage half marathon. Phil had a superb run to record a time of 1.26, which was good enough for 21st place.

At the end of day 1 it was time to set up camp and finalise the logistics for day 2!

Day 2 - leg 11 started at 7am, a cool and misty start, and first up the club on this mountain stage was Alex Mason, having completed the 22 mile Man v Horse cross country race the previous day - Alex's performance was remarkable! 1.27 for 12.3 mountain miles, meaning that during the weekend he'd completed over 34 miles of racing before 8.30am on Sunday!  Becky Buckingham was next to run, covering stage 13 on her first outing for the club. A great debut run for Becky saw her complete the 10.6 mile stage in some style, smiling all the way. Stage 14 - the iconic Drovers stage, was next. Chris Beard took this on and made short work of it, proving that preparation is the key. Regularly doing long hill reps paid off for Chris. His rich vein of form continued as he completed the stage in a fine 52nd place. Joe Cavanagh followed, it was Joe's first time doing the relay and he had a great run, finishing in a fantastic 17th position recording 1.26 for 12.8miles!

Dave Gough took on the new stage 16, the last of the mountain stages, Goffy was another to adopt the steady start principal. Gradually working his way through to finish in 36th position.  A very late change saw Andrew Miles step in to run a leg, having only recently started running again following injury Andrew was only in Wales to watch his dad run. However, when it looked very much like we weren't going to be able to field a full team he agreed to race. Bad traffic meant Andrew only just made the start but, proving the old adage that class is permanent Andrew finished 9th!  Steve Smith was on the penultimate stage and was another to produce a fine performance finishing in 45th place on the 7.7 mile leg. Finally, it was Graham Miles, as the temperature peaked, who brought the team home. A late transfer from Stage 18 didn't stop Graham running as well as ever, a time of 65 minutes for a stage in excess of 10 miles saw him take 25th place. The team finished 32nd overall in the overall event and in 30th place in the mountain stages. A great weekend for the club and all involved.


7 Jun: Race 3 of the North Cheshire Grand Prix Series saw another 6 VRAC tackle this traditionally quick 5k. Another warm evening which has been the story of this series saw Jake Wilson first home with another junior age prize. Next home was Mike Harrington with another V45 win and is looking good for the series win.  Dave Humphreys was next home quickly followed by Chris Beard with a huge PB of almost 20 seconds. Barry Chambers had another solid run and Pauline Davies rounded it off for VRAC with another category win.  Full Results.

The next race in the series is Thursday 14th June at Dunham Massey for the fast version of the course.  Full Details.

7WILSON, JakeMale JuniorVale Royal Ac17.10
12HARRINGTON, MichaelMale Vet 45Vale Royal Ac17.34
33HUMPHREYS, DavidMale Vet 45Vale Royal19.39
37BEARD, ChrisMale Vet 45Vale Royal Ac19.48
88CHAMBERS, BarryMale Vet 65Vale Royal Ac24.00
97DAVIES, PaulineFemale Vet 65Vale Royal Ac24.39


29 May: A big turnout with 17 from VRAC on a hot Tuesday evening 5K blow out. Some excellent performances in the conditions, A great race win for Edward Shepherd and a equally impressive first lady placing for Gemma Barnett. No less than 5 age category wins including the evergreen Barry Chambers M65.
PosTimeNameCatCat Pos 
115.05Edward ShepherdSM  
717.17James AinsworthM401 
1218.34Robert RoeSM  
1718.54Gemma BarnettL3511st Lady
1919.09Rick MurrayM501 
2319.24Kate MouldsSL 3rd Lady
3420.23Helen HarringtonL353 
4121.02John ToddM551 
4221.10Tony DuttonM405 
4421.14Geoff FawkesM457 
4721.50John ClarkeM604 
4821.51John MouldsM504 
7024.23Richard PettiteM554 
7424.42Barrie ChambersM651 
8625.58Sharon WilsonL453 
9728.06Anne CollierL552 
12433.20Shaun Mc GrathM703 


31 May: Round 2 of the North Cheshire Grand Prix Series with another hot and humid 5k.  The course is a reverse route of the multi-terrain Forest Park Ladies 5k. Mike Harrington again took the V45 win.  The men (mainly V45!) took second team place. Most VRAC runners seemed to be a bit quicker than last weeks Dunham Massey race. Full Results

The next race in the series is the Bowdon 5k on Thursday 7th June.  Full details.


24 May: 8 VRAC members travelled to the national trust estate at Dunham Massey for race 1 of the North Cheshire Grand Prix Series.  This race was the 'uphill' version of the two that are staged in the parkland and as seems usual for this race runners faced hot conditions. There was a win for Ed Shepherd in his first outing in a VRAC vest (2nd claim) and category wins for both Jake Wilson and Mike Harrington. On the whole runners appeared to be abut a minute down compared to recent faster 5ks. Full Results 

The next race in the series is at Birchwood Brook on Thursday 31st May at 7.30pm.  Details here. 

1294SHEPHERD, EdMale Senior15.22
1358WILSON, JakeMale Junior17.38
1529HARRINGTON, MichaelMale Vet 4517.44
40290RICHARDSON, GaryMale Vet 4019.09
53295MOULDS, KateFemale Senior19.54
6585BEARD, ChrisMale Vet 4520.34
13772LOMAX, JayneFemale Vet 5024.25
164118HAINES, JillFemale Vet 4526.06


20 May: These two modelled the VRAC colours at the Anderton Boat Lift race and picked up first L45 and L50 prizes. Nice work ladies. Lee Carrington modelled for the VRAC men! Full results here.
2Lee CarringtonmSEN00:42:18
39Debbie MoretonfV4500:52:48
66Jayne LomaxfV5000:56:58


20 May: Very warm conditions especially for half marathon running. Looks like James Griffiths and Gareth Williams had a nice tussle. Scott Bamber was pleased to survive following last year's 'doolally' experience.  Rebecca Craigie completed the 10k contingent. Half marathon debut for Chloe Dooley with parents reportedly more nervoius than she was. A good first half but struggled a little on the second. Typically solid race from Mel Johnson. Well done all. Full results here.
10k   Half Marathon  
NamePosChip Time NamePosChip Time
James Griffiths9400:37:33 Chloe Dooley25701:37:14
Gareth Williams9600:37:40 melanie johnson32401:38:57
Scott Bamber20900:40:40    
Rebecca Craigie368300:55:06   


18 May: Some super quick performances on a sunny early summers evening with 15 of the 26 VRACers posting PB's! Chris and Oliver WIlliams both dipped under 16 minutes with Messrs McQue, Ainsworth, Crabtree and Jones under 17 minutes.  First VRAC lady was Liz Renondeau with a big PB to go sub 18 minutes for the first time. Many more brilliant performances including Tony Dutton finally achieving his goal of breaking 20 minutes. Also a great return to racing form for recent Mum and wife Helen Harrington aka Whitby. Great nights racing everyone. Full results here. Photo credit Mick Hall.
615:18ChrisWilliams15:186Male6Senior Men6PB
2715:56OliverWilliams15:5527Male27Senior Men18 
4116:21AndrewMcQue16:1841Male41Senior Men29PB
6216:48JamesAinsworth16:4463Male60Over 4010 
6316:49MarkCrabtree16:4461Male61Senior Men41PB
7817:01ChrisJones16:5774Male76Senior Men50 
10017:33JamesGriffiths17:2699Male97Senior Men59 
12618:02ElizabethRenondeau17:57126Female9Over 352PB
13118:07SarahMurphy18:04134Female10Over 404 
14718:23LewisBrown18:15147Male133Senior Men81PB
15418:29CurtisRodway18:22153Male139Under 206PB
15618:30RichardMurray18:25157Male141Over 506PB
15918:33GrahamMiles18:25158Male143Over 507 
16718:38BrianDooley18:30166Male149Over 4516PB
18018:48DavidHaines18:39176Male162Over 4519PB
20019:12DavidHumphreys19:04200Male179Over 4524PB
20919:21DaveGough19:12209Male187Over 5011 
22019:36CarolynDooley19:29226Female25Over 409PB
22619:38HelenWhitby19:28225Female26Over 356 
24120:03AnthonyDutton19:49241Male213Over 4038PB
24920:18GeoffFawkes20:09250Male218Over 4533PB
26120:41MelanieJohnson20:32264Female34Over 3510PB
26720:46LucyKnight20:33265Female38Senior Women13PB
30021:50JohnClarke21:35299Male250Over 6011 
36624.14PaulineDavies23:59369Female80Over 651 
38125.00JillHaines24.43383Female86Over 4512PB


13 May: Nathan Williams was the only VRAC runner as far as we know to have taken part in this race. Huge congratulations to Nathan with a PB and first sub 35 10k.  Nathan finished in 47th place in a time of 34.55.  Full Results.


13 May: Fan of the odd trail race Chris Griffiths in company with six of our friends from Northwich Running Club took part in this 10k trail race.  The course is within a picturesque nature reserve in the former mining areas between Hindley and Spring View.  Also representing VRAC was Claire Thompson and Stephen Thompson.  Claire finished 4th female and won her age category.  Full Results. 


12 May: Mike Harrington was (not surprisingly) the only VRAC to make the trip to Suffolk for this 5k and was rewarded with a 16.59 and 51st place.  Full Results.


12 & 13 May: Some great performances as a number of VRAC swapped the road for a rare track outing in the championships in Macclesfield. There was a big PB of 9.38 in the 3000m for James 'the machine' Ainsworth.  Great track debut for Tony Dutton who doubled up for the 1500 and 3000m. Lucy Knight had a great second place in the senior women's 3000m. There was a win too for Helen Smith in the senior womens 5000m.  Well done also to Dave Haines with a sub 19 on his 5000m debut.  Full Results.


8 May: Round three of the Cheshire Grand Prix series saw 10 VRAC tackle this unique 5m trail race that passes underneath the runway of Manchester Airport. We had a full mens team but sadly only three women when four counters would have scored. James Ainsworth continued his good form of late with a top ten finish in a strong field. Despite only three women in the team some strong scoring from Mel Johnson, Jeanette Pope and Jayne Lomax leaves VRAC ladies still in 3rd position the Grand Prix. Full results.

8JamesAinsworthM40 28:44
45RobertRoeM35 31:49
48TomArmstrongM40 31:58
90JosephCavanaghM40 35:02
94GeoffFawkesM45 35:28
97MelanieJohnsonF35 35:36
108AnthonyDuttonM40 36:07
110DavidRobertsM40 36:11
162JeanettePopeF40 39:16
188JayneLomaxF50 40:33


6 May: Chloe Dooley was the only VRAC runner to take part in this high quality race which takes place in a leafy suburb of Whitchurch.  The race also incorprates the Welsh 5k championships and Chloe finished in 11th place in a time of 19.23 a full 30 seconds outside of her PB (set at Kingsley April 2017).  Full Results.


6 May: This race incorporated an international masters match with England taking on a combined Celtic nations team consisting of Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish masters runners.  Liz Renondeau and Sarah Murphy were both picked to represent England.  Sarah finished 17th in 38.14 and Liz ran a conservative 39.19.  Both are to be congratulated for being picked to represent England. 


5 & 6 May: Merseyraces host this 5k and 10k on consecutive days around Sefton Park.  Lucy Knight was the sole VRAC runner to do the 5k on what is described as a twisting course. Lucy was 5th lady in a time of 21.37.  Full Results

Lucy also did the 10k the following day in a solid 44.36 finishing 22nd female out of almost 2000 female runners.  Also flying the VRAC flag at the 10k was Liverpool student Emma Pyatt.  Emma was well outside of her PB in a time of 49.13. Full Results


29 April: Rounding off a busy weekend of racing was the Chester Half Marathon with a sell out 6000 entries. First home for VRAC with a PB was Andy McQue just one week after a great run at the London Marathon.  Next home was Craig Sephton who is clearly coming back into some form.  Liz Renondeau was back home next in 6th place with age category win.  Steve Caldwell continued his return to fitness with a controlled 1.29.22 which was his target.  Chris Swift had his usual consistent run over this  distance coming in just ahead of Chris Weedall who knocked a big chunk off his PB.  Ray Tran rounded up things for Vale Royal in his regular outing at this race. Full results.

 PosGun timeFirst nameLast nameChip TimePosCategoryPos


28 April: VRAC Vets runners made the annual pilgrimage to Sutton Park to the national picnic championships that doubles up as the masters road relay races.  The men had two teams in the V45 category with the A team finishing 18th and the B team were close behind in 25th place.  The men also had a team in the V55 category that finished 29th.  In the women's event there was a notable performance from Helen Harrington who finished in 10th place on the first leg in the FV35 category helping the team to a 17th place.   The club also had two FV45 teams and it was great to see Caroline Buckley and Liz Gayle making their debuts at the relays helping their teams to a 9th and 16th position.  Special mention must also go to Pauline Davies who finished 7th in her leg in the V55 race despite stepping into the team from the V65 category to race against younger athletes.  A great day for the club with so many runners having been involved in the previous nights race at Kingsley either taking part or helping out.  Full results and pictures courtesy of Bryan Dale.


27 April:  Just the 34 VRAC made the short trip to Kingsley for the spring edition of the Mid Cheshire 5k.  The race again incorporated the England Athletics 5k Championships which resulted in 25 men dipping under 15 minutes and 12 women breaking 17 minutes.  As expected in such a stacked race there were plenty of PBs and full results can be found by clicking this link. Free to download pictures are available courtesy of Mick Hall and Vale Royal AC's own Chloe Broad. 

A full film of the race including drone footage is available here.

 PosGun timeFirst nameLast nameChip TimeChip PosCategoryPos
4915:37RyanMoore15:3651Senior Male45
5515:40OliverWilliams15:3959Senior Male49
6115:44ChrisWilliams15:4161Senior Male52
10416:25MattRowlinson16:21103Under 219
11716:39JamesAinsworth16:36116Vet 4011
13616:55JakeWilson16:52139Under 2113
15817:22HollySmith17:19161Under 212
18617:54SarahMurphy17:52194Vet 405
19518:00RobertRoe17:53195Senior Male115
20218:11ElizabethRenondeau18:06202Vet 352
22518:36CurtisRodway18:29225Under 2119
22718:41LewisBrown18:33228Under 2120
23418:47GrahamMiles18:41233Vet 508
25119:05KateMoulds19:00255Senior Female23
25419:07ScottBamber18:56252Vet 5010
27919:42TomArmstrong19:35281Vet 4032
28519:50DavidHumphreys19:38283Vet 4525
29120:06SophieSmith19:57293Under 217
32220:47AnthonyDutton20:35323Vet 4038
32520:49MelanieJohnson20:37325Vet 357
33020:53LucyKnight20:40327Senior Female30
33120:55DavidRoberts20:42331Vet 4040
33320:56GeoffFawkes20:43333Vet 4532
36021:46LucyBurch21:41366Senior Female33
36221:50LisaMeadows21:36360Vet 455
36822:01HollieCarrington21:49367Senior Female34
38922:49MaryTavener22:34389Vet 553
39422:57JohnClarke22:41395Vet 6011
39522:57stevecollier22:41394Vet 5514
40923:36JayneLomax23:21409Vet 503
42124:17:00SharonWilson24:01:00419Vet 4510
42724:28:00ChristopherGriffiths24:04:00423Vet 5518
47227:02:00LyndaHumphreys26:41:00472Vet 4517
47927:21:00anncollier26:57:00477Vet 5510


22 April: VRAC was well represented in the inaugral Middlewich 5k. Thanks to Jayne Lomax and Robert Roe for the report input:

The1st running of the Middlewich 5k trail race (incorporating the 3 locks challenge). Run along the canals and trails of the town before finishing with a couple of laps of the cricket club.  The race start was drizzly but that did little to dampen the humidity throughout. There was a loop out and back at the start of the race which meant you were running back through the other runners but otherwise a great well organised and fun race for all ages and abilities with a great family and carnival atmosphere. A comfortable victory for Matt Rowlinson with Robert Roe finishing just outside of the podium places. Good run by Matt Jakeman usually seen training with the sprints group. Jayne Lomax  missed 1st lady by one second but was very pleased with the 2nd place prize and 1st LV 50. Geoff Davies also had a solid run coming home in just over 25 minutes. (Photo below by Sarah Butler).
PosGunName ChipPosGenPosCatPos
117:33MattRowlinson17:331Male1Male Under 401
419:22RobertRoe19:224Male4Male Under 404
921:19MattJakeman21:1910Male9Male Under 407
2924:30:00JayneLomax24:28:0031Female2Female Over 501
4225:45:00GeoffDavies25:30:0041Male37Male Over 508


22 April: Tony Dutton chose the Blackpool Half Marathon while everyone was in sunny London, here's his report.

The Blackpool Festival of running holds 5 events over the weekend, with the Marathon and Half Marathon taking place on Sunday. Only decided to enter on Wednesday seeing they still had the entries available. The route starts outside the Hilton and Imperial Hotels near the North pier, then heads south on the sea front past the pleasure beach before heading back too the start. This time we carry on past the start and head as far as Norbreck Castle before returning for the finish. 

Position: 131
Total Runners: 917
Gun time: 1:39:42
Chip time: 1:38:59

VIRGIN LONDON MARATHON (John Davies Pics added to Gallery)

22 April: The hottest VLM on record meant it was all about survival. Some casualties in the heat in elite, club and fun runners, Well done to Andy McQue (pic right) leading VRAC home. 'Big Stu' Doyle's VLM debut got off to a terrible start when he was tripped and fell heavily 10 metres after the start. With damage to his ribs and legs he still made it to mile 17 at 5.52 miling but with breathing problems wisely called it a day. Another interesting story saw the Mr and Mrs Cavanagh duel. Mr Cav through halfway with a comforatble 6 min lead over Mrs Cav. A merciless second half by Mrs Cav saw her claim matrimonial victory by a convincing 6 second margin in The Mall!   We don't have a finishing time for Malcom Hughes. He was through 40k in 3 hours 25 mins but decided to complete the last 2k carrying his shoes... hence the timing mat at the finish didn't register! More stories yet to unfold but while the conditions meant time aspirations were out of the window huge credit to those who trained hard, ran hard and completed this brutal mental and physical test. Proud of you all. 
Place overallPlace genderPlace cat.NameCategoryTime
328325233» McQue, Andrew (GBR)18-3902:47:25
189417931070» Jones, Chris (GBR)18-3903:09:48
3363307216» Barnett, Gemma (GBR)18-3903:23:16
36513286271» Murray, Richard (GBR)50-5403:25:17
4897616114» Cavanagh, Nicola (GBR)40-4403:33:49
49094288922» Cavanagh, Joe (GBR)40-4403:33:55
57714910800» Dooley, Brian (GBR)45-4903:39:16
64601092220» Dooley, Carolyn (GBR)40-4403:43:36
107062566381» Riches, Eleanor (GBR)45-4904:05:50
140023748306» Broad, Debbie (GBR)50-5404:21:40
17362124281973» Woolley, Matt (GBR)45-4904:36:30
24655789838» Williams, Carole (GBR)65-6905:07:20


15 April: Round two of the Cheshire Grand Prix series and VRAC women had a full complement of runners but the men's team was a runner short. First home for VRAC was Mike Harrington just four days after the Chester Spring 5 followed by Robert Roe who knocked 3 minutes off his last visit here which was his 10k debut. Chris Swift was next home with a PB followed closely by our first lady back Melanie Johnson.  Lucy Knight was second home and continued her good form and now sits in fourth place in the Cheshire Grand Prix series.  Less than a minute later came fan of this race Claire Thompson and then Ray Tran less than a week after the Whitchurch 10k.  Prolific racer Debbie Moreton was in next with Barry Chambers just 10 seconds behind despite having done the 'Ally Pally' Parkrun the day before.  Jayne Lomax brought the VRAC contingent home and was happier to get her camper van off the muddy field than actually finish the race. Full Results

PosNameGenCAT.GunChipGen PosCat PosChip  
18Michael HarringtonMaleM40-4900:36:5600:36:5518618 
30Robert RoeMaleM00:38:4700:38:46301930PB
42Chris SwiftMaleM00:42:0200:41:58392142PB
63Melanie JohnsonFemaleF35-4400:43:5100:43:4810363 
78Lucy KnightFemaleF00:45:0300:44:4718576 
94Claire ThompsonFemaleF35-4400:46:3600:46:32211097 
128Ray TranMaleM50-5900:48:5400:48:4910030130 
140Debbie MoretonFemaleF45-5400:49:3700:49:28308144 
146Barry ChambersMale60+00:49:4800:49:2811312146 
171Jayne LomaxFemaleF45-5400:51:5200:51:434412173 


11 April: The Chester Spring 5 is the traditional curtain raiser for the start of summer road racing season and as usual was well supported by VRAC.  Matt Sheen defended his title setting a new PB and it is rumoured that if he wins it for a third time he gets to keep the social club. There was a big PB for James Ainsworth who reached a long held target of a sub 28. 1st lady back for VRAC was Liz Renondeau who was 3rd overall. Dave Haines looked to have recovered well from his marathon and earned a great PB. Graham Miles had another decent run and looks well and truly over his injuries. Steve Caldwell made his comeback in a VRAC vest in his first outing for 20 months and surely won't be long before he is back at his best. Chris Beard made his debut at this distance but should be pleased with this result. Both Mary and Colin had solid runs and were unlucky not to be in the category prizes. Pauline Davies continued her fine run of form with another age group victory.  Full Results

125:39:00MatthewSheen25:39:001Male1Senior Male1PB
1427:57:00JamesAinsworth27:56:0014Male14Male Vet 406PB
2929:16:00MichaelHarrington29:13:0030Male28Male Vet 454 
4730:35:00ElizabethRenondeau30:32:0047Female3Female Vet 351 
5331:02:00DavidHaines30:59:0054Male50Male Vet 458PB
5731:11:00GrahamMiles31:08:0057Male54Male Vet 504 
7432:40:00StevenCaldwell32:38:0077Male68Senior Male29 
9033:35:00ChrisBeard33:26:0090Male84Male Vet 4512 
18638:13:00MaryTavener38:05:00188Female28Female Vet 553 
19038:29:00ColinRathbone38:19:00193Male161Male Vet 703 
21039:06:00BarryChambers38:50:00206Male173Male Vet 655 
24341:03:00PAULINEDAVIES40:56:00245Female47Female Vet 651 
34246:47:00CaroleWilliams46:31:00343Female101Female Vet 653


8 April: Chris Swift flew the VRAC flag here competing against some good mates it seems. A decent time over the course which is entirely within the grounds of Tatton Park..
53CHRIS SWIFT00:42:2800:42:23


8 April: Paul Hudson has now sported the VRAC vest in 7 countries. Here's his latest exploit in Spain:

Barcelona el corte ingles 40th aniversey "10.75k" run (well it is in Spain - for the moment). This was a big event - I registered within the 1st few hours of opening and was number 54289. I think there were about 100,000 taking part - if you couldn't get a number you just ran it anyway. 16 degrees with warm'ish rain meant full winter running gear (including snoods, heavy weather topps and umbrellas) for locals - only crazy English men in running vests. No point in trying to achieve any sort of time in this event - it took 25 minutes to get to the 3k marker (at which point we passed the fire station where smiling bomberderos unleashed the water canon - as if it wasn't wet enough). 4k in, most of the umbrellas were down and some heavy weather gear disappeared somewhere. Upto the 5k mark there was a bit of an asalt to the top of the city where the crowd thinned out to about arms length. We then entered a tunnel like sardines (great chance to find a decent looking hugging buddy) with great cheers as we entered barcelona fc's stadium to run round the football pitch (it has a 400m running track around it). This was the highest point - most other cities have a castle or something. Final 4k leg mostly down hill with more rain (umbrellas went up again) before re-entering the city centre. Very few onlookers but vocal with olay's and the occasional champiori. Finished in about 1hr 25. It really didn't matter -it was so much fun and it was free to enter. There was only timing if you were that keen enough to buy a separate timing chip in person the week before.


8 April: Perfect conditions for the 2018 Manchester marathon. Just one from VRAC this year. Here's how it went for David Humphreys.

Tackling my first ever marathon and also fund raising for The Christie, I went into this feeling good and happy overall with the training. First 15 miles were great and then bang!  Went off too quick (despite feeling relaxed) and posted some very amusing (in hindsight) pacing over that last 10 miles but got there in the end with a sub 3:30 which was always the aim, albeit that 3.29:44 was cutting it fine! Wonderful support all the way round and would recommend to anyone.
I did say never again but....who knows?

PS: Past member Amy Sheils (Archer) pulled on the VRAC vest for easy parental identification! Having broken her foot in November she ran a PB in 3.41.06.


2 April: David Shepherd's second of 4 ultras planned for 2018. All 4 will him the 'Grand Slam' of UK ultras. Having completed the Chester Ultra in March in adverse conditions he took on the 50 miles from Liverpool to Manchester in even worse conditions! Here's his report.

Cold wet and windy 6am start. I made conscious decision to start slow as the early several miles through the Liverpool streets were the hilliest of the race. Finally got onto Trans Pennine Way which we mostly followed all the way to Didsbury. After 20 miles at CP3 (Runcorn) was told I was 75th. Though underfoot conditions not as muddy as Chester my feet were just as wet. My hands finally thawed at (CP6) 35 miles in and felt good. Started to tire with 6 miles to go but ran almost all the second half of the race. At the finish we passed the finish line and had to do a lap of the sodden field which was twice the size of Pie and Peas field. Another gold medal for top 100 finish. Two down two more GB Ultras to go in June and September, the Pennine Barrier 50 and Snowdon 50. This completes the GB Ultras grand slam.

Provisional result: 22nd overall. 8 hours 39 minutes 12 seconds.   250 started.


01 Apr: Roving reporter Dave Haines on location:

The course has changed in the last couple of years, a short wooded section at the end of each lap makes the new course around 30 seconds slower than the old all footpath course. However the fast and flat course didn’t disappoint delivering four pbs. James Ainsworth led the team home. James was in second but struggled with a stich at 6km which cost him a few seconds over the next mile or so. Never one to give up he recovered the pace over the last mile to finish 5th overall, second in his age category. The first of the PB runners was Rob Roe. Rob was leaving nothing to chance, aerodynamic haircut and shoes resulted in an even paced race delivering a first sub 38 min 10k and PB of over 20 seconds. Next home was the rapidly improving Tommy Armstrong. Having struggled to train consistently over the last six months the ever the optimist Tom was hoping for sub 40 and planned to just pace Hainesy round. Another sub 38 finish from Tom shows he’s moving in the right direction. Even though his pacer was nowhere to be seen after the first bend Dave Haines was next back with a PB, breaking the last one set in 2008. Chris Beard has been steadily increasing his mileage and focusing on his speed work at the club sessions. He continued his great year, setting another PB following on from his success at Wrexham. Next back in quick succession was Lucy Knight and Tony (race machine) Dutton. Lucy won the battle between the two of them, just missing out on a PB. Tony had secured a PB at Salford on Friday and was happy with two 10k’s in a weekend. Lisa Meadows has also been focusing on speed work over the last few months, targeted sessions really paid off with a great PB of over 30 seconds and has already set a target for a new PB! Next home was Debbie Moreton who described it as fabulous till 8km but still had enough in the tank to out sprint a Wilmslow runner over the line. Debbie was closely followed by Jane Lomax, who had been reluctant to take her coat off but soon warmed up and delivered another great performance with consistent splits.Full results here.

PosNameGunChipCatCat Pos 
5James Ainsworth00:35:1300:35:13MV402 
22Robert Roe00:37:5000:37:47Open Male PB
24Tom Armstrong00:37:5700:37:55MV404 
42David Haines00:39:2100:39:19MV457PB
79Chris Beard00:41:4700:41:41MV4514PB
119Lucy Knight00:44:2600:44:23Open Ladies  
127Anthony Dutton00:44:5000:44:43MV4020 
153Lisa Meadows00:46:2000:46:13LV456PB
180Debbie Moreton00:48:0800:47:56LV457 
219Jayne Lomax00:50:5700:50:45LV504 


01 Apr: Mary Tavener was the only VRAC member to venture to Hale Village for the 3rd running of the 5 mile race and was rewarded with a category win in a time of 37.30. Full Results.


28 Mar: Another excellent race for in form Pauline Davies winning the W60 category (no W65 category!) in a time of 24.13.  Full results here. Pauline is now ranked Number 1 in the Run Britain rankings for W65 in 2018. Rankings here.


31 Mar: Northwich parkrun started this week at Carey Park near the Barons Quay development in Northwich. Amy Lockett of Davenham running buddies is the Event Director and 269 attended the first event. Nathan Williams was the first finisher in 18.14 who obviously likes Northwich Woodlands following on from his win at Northwich Festival of Running last year. Dad Gareth was third with a good number of other VRAC folks further back. Results here.


30 Mar: Just 4 VRAC attended this long standing Good Friday race hosted by Salford Harriers.  The course is a two lap race and attracts a decent standard. Matt Sheen was first home with his first sub 31 minute 10k of 30.58.  Liz Renondeau was next back with a solid 38.34. A first 10k for almost 18 months saw Helen Whitby make a comeback with another solid performance of 41.51. Last home and tantalisingly close to his going sub 43 was Tony Dutton. Tony should still be happy with his progress and a PB with 43.00. Full Results.


25 Mar: The Senior Men fielded a strong team in Sunday’s Northern 12 Stage Road Relays at Birkenhead Park. The team had a good blend of youth and experience and it was great to witness the team spirit.  The weather and surroundings were excellent with a mildly undulating course and we managed an excellent 12th place, easily beating our previous best position of 30th,  holding our own against the biggest clubs in the North of England and taking some impressive scalps in the process. Just 4 ladies ran so they ranked as an incomplete team. This did not detract from some strong performances from Mel Johnson, Pauline Davies, Hollie Carrington and Carole Woilliams.  Full resuts here. Pics courtesy John Davies in Gallery.


25 Mar: Race report from Brian Dooley (and proud dad moment) for one of our away from home seniors – Chloe Dooley.  


After the recent bad weather the conditions couldn’t have been more perfect for great road racing and to quote Chloe “Tears of happiness (and exhaustion 😂) at the end of today’s Cardiff Bay 10km! Couldn’t be happier to have taken a minute off my PB running 38:44. Makes all the hard training sessions worth it”

Chip time 38:44, 1st female U20


Chloe was running in her second claim colours of Cardiff University, she’s currently studying physiotherapy there. Certainly looks like the training sessions with James Thie’s elite group are paying off.


17 Mar: Thanks to John Davies for the report. Saturday dawned bright and breezy but dry, checking out the 6k course around the lovely Grant Park we were very surprised to find it was completely dry which would suit Pauline.The atmosphere at the start was enhanced by the local pipe band and further enhanced by a well - timed flurry of snow. The first small loop saw Pauline settle in around mid field, Scottish w65 champion Linden Nicholson was already well up the field with fellow Northern Master Barbara Brown (Wolds Vets) opening a 50m gap over Pauline which put Pauline in bronze position at the start of the long climb the locals call Horrible Hill an aptly named one 300m long, the large loop saw the runners disappear into the woodland - on re-emerging on to the park as expected Linden Nicholson was still well to the fore some 3mins ahead of Barbara Brown, relieved to see Pauline back still running strong in a safe bronze category position well pleased to finish only 30 secs down on the silver. The hospitality and friendliness of the local people and in particular the organising club Forres Harriers was amazing, if the championships were held there again there would be at least 2 vrac-ers  making the long journey north.


18 Mar: Just two VRAC members made the short trip to Wigan to one of the few surviving races this weekend. Another podium position and PB for Andrew Miles who finished 3rd in 16.10. Not to be outdone was dad Graham Miles who was 1st vet 50 in 19.00. Graham's fastest 5k since the summer of 2016. Full Results.

Here is Graham's first hand report:
"One of the few races to survive the weather was the Wigan 5k which Andrew and myself decided to venture to. The race was in some doubt but a few course changes enabled the race to go ahead.The course was an out and back course, with the first half predominately downhill with the wind behind and then the turn round was into a freezing wind(still no shirts under vest were worn though!). Andrew went off and was just behind the lead two for most of the way, after passing the over enthusiastic starters. He was just off the front pair for the rest of the race and finished in third in a chip time of 16.10 just 19 seconds behind the winner and defending champion. I completed the first half in 9.11, then turned into the wind and the hill, which slowed me somewhat but managed to finish in a chip time of 19 minutes exactly, in 26th place overall and 1st Vet 50.Due to the conditions most people’s times were slower so I was quite pleased with the time. The race had the feel of a larger town race, as over 1200 people started. A race I would go back to, but even without the weather it is not a pb course."


11 Mar: 5 VRAC made the trip to Catalonia for the Barcelona Marathon. The weather conditions were perfect with even the odd spot of rain. Mike Harrington was first back managing to sneak under the 3 hour mark. At his second Barcelona marathon (2016) Gary Richardson improved on his time by over 10 minutes. Dave Haines next and with both he and Gary running solid even paced races they secured their good for age places for the 2019 London Marathon.  Nick Haywood by his own admittance had an uncomfortable second half and was pleased to finish.  Another debutante Jill Haines completed the line up for Vale Royal and is to be congratulated for a fantastic achievement. The organisation and atmosphere could not be any better and the race is highly recommended. (Sorry no pic for Jill... yet)

341MICHAEL HARRINGTON02:57:3202:57:15
703GARY RICHARDSON03:07:1703:05:58
1278DAVID HAINES03:16:1403:14:55
4125NICK HAYWOOD03:43:0203:41:43
11652JILL HAINES05:00:2504:42:38


11 Mar: Not as exotic as Barcelona but a good lead up race for London for 3 Vale Royalers who have ambitions in the capital. With over a 1000 ft of climb the Knighton 20, formerly known as the Stafford 20, consisting of 3 laps around the undulating lanes of Staffordshire, was well supported by 264 runners.

61st. Joe Cavanagh. 2:30:35. 17th M40
87th. Nikki Cavanagh. 2:38:50. 5th F40
231st. Carole Williams. 3:34:31. 1st F65.


11 Mar: We had a number of runners out representing Cheshire  in the senior men's and ladies events. Conditions were muddy to say the least! Sarah Murphy led home the Cheshire team in 47th place overall and 4th v40 with Chloe Broad and Carolyn Dooley both making their senior county debuts at opposite ends of the age spectrum! Chloe finished an excellent 152nd with Carolyn looking strong in the mud in a very creditable 235th. The team finished 14th. Matt Sheen was first Cheshire runner home in 85th following a very fast 1st lap with Stu Doyle 2nd home for the county (albeit out of only 3 runners) with 107th overall and 1st v45.


11 Mar: Marathons are not enough for some strange VRACers these days. Bob Corinaldi has the Comrades in his diary and both he and David Shepherd took the opportunity to tackle the local 50+ mile Chester Ultra.  Brilliant races from both of them. David Shepherd's summary:  "51 of the toughest possible miles done. Finished 40th out of 230+ runners. Felt like a 50 mile XC race. Both me and Bob chose different plans on walk breaks and pace but bizarrely we stayed within a few minutes of each other for the whole race. We were warned but the last 6 miles along the canal to the finish was torture but it was probably the previous 44 miles of wallowing in the mud that caused that.".

Bob Corinaldi gives us a further insight: "What can I say, Picked the number up the night before & laid awake all night listening to the rain. Having done some of the recce's I knew how muddy it would be. It didn't disappoint, if you weren't on a road section, or the towpath out of Chester, then you were ankle to shin deep in mud / water. From the start, I stuck to my run / walk strategy which was quite tough when you see everyone disappear into the distance.  Glad to say it paid off as throughout the second half I steadily climbed through the field. Shep seemed to have a similar strategy and throughout the run both myself & Shep changed places regularly.The climb through Frodsham & the first corn field on the Sandstone trail took their toll & Shep sailed past at 40m, quite literally walking on water (it seemed like that from where I was standing anyway). I faceplanted in the field just before CP6 & when I got there I was told I was 50th so get some sugar down and don't lose the place! So off I went down the canal of doom  (it's about 7 miles of never ending muddy towpath). I arranged for moral support on this stretch with my daughter Katrina running alongside. Took me a mile to catch her as she hadn't allowed for the combination of old age and 44 miles!  I got overtaken but also overtook others, faceplanted again, this time nearly into the canal, I had no idea how I was doing. Staggered over the line in 10hrs 24ish to be told I was 48th! Speechless. I had secret hopes of sneaking into the top 100 but 48th? Way beyond my expectations."

David shepherd  40th in 10 hrs 12 mins 

Bob Corinaldi.     48th in 10 hrs 24 mins

236 Finishers


4 Mar: 7 VRAC ran the inaugural Chester 10k organised by the team behind the Chester Half and Chester Marathon. Not a particularly quick course with the final 2km being uphill but well organised as you would expect. Chris Perry was 1st VRAC home and was placed 3rd overall. Chris Williams was next back and clearly in good shape as he defied logic and earned a big PB. George Thompson was next followed by Chris Standidge in a rare outing in VRAC colours, Mike Harrington and Jodie Thompson.  All four appeared to be a minute or so slower than expected which was probably a combination of the course and weather. Young 'senior' Curtis Rodway completed the VRAC team and was only a few seconds outside of his PB. . 

 PosGunName ChipGenderPosCatPos


4 Mar: Just 3 from VRAC in this years Cloud 9 fell race. Another excellent run from Lee Carrington to lead VRAC home. Darren Cottier next with an in form (Feb AOM) Chris Beard close on his heels. Full results here.
PosNameTimeCatCat Pos
37Lee Carrington71.36Sen17/40
72Darren Cottier78.43M4514/32
76Chris Beard79.05M4516/32


Quite a wait for the season’s cumulative team results for the Manchester xc league but in the main good news. Vale Royal have spent the 2017/18 season in Division 2 in all senior and vets categories. However with some good turnouts, especially at Wythenshawe with a 15 men and 8 women turnout the final results mean that the top 3 teams in each event win promotion. Unfortunately senior women were only placed 4th by a single point but Senior Men 2nd, Vet Men 3rd and Vet Women 3rd means that those 3 teams will, subject to final ratification, be promoted to Divisions 1 next season. Exceptionally good performances by the women as they were in Division 3, senior & vets, in the 2016/17 season. Well done everyone. Let us make sure we stay in the upper tiers next year. All results can be found on website (here) including the details of the presentation evening on the 2 March at Wilmslow Rugby Club. (Col, Carole & Julie will be there.)


25 Feb: The first of the 2018 races from the Mike Harrington stable saw a record entry of almost 2300 runners. The weather conditions were perfect for a half marathon and a number of the 15 strong VRAC contingency were rewarded with PBs. First home with a huge PB was relative newcomer to the club Andy McQue. Chris Jones and Rick Murray came in next to complete a hat-trick of PBs. Gemma Barnett had another solid run and was unlucky not to be in the prizes. Nick Haywood and Dave Haines came in next with steady runs in the final weeks of training for the Barcelona marathon. Chris Beard 'PBd' next with a great run just outside the 90 minute mark. Anthony Atkinson, an agonising 10 seconds outside his PB was back next with Lisa Meadows not too far behind with a PB. The combination of getting over a few niggles and those ruthless Bernie Jones Saturday sessions paying off. Debbie Broad was in next looking in great form with her London marathon on the horizon. Colin Rathbone who won his age category was next home followed by Jill Haines also in the final stage of Barcelona marathon training. Next in was another VRAC runner with a marathon looming was Carole Williams in 2.15. Jo Edwards brought up the rear whilst on pacing duties for her daughter. Full Results

Special mention to Gary Richardson, John Todd and Dave Gough who acted as pacemakers in the race and did a fantastic job. 

PosGunName ChipPosGenderPosCatPos 
2401:15:41AndrewMcQue01:15:4024Male24Vet 357PB
4601:18:24ChrisJones01:18:2147Male45Vet 3510PB
10401:23:07RichardMurray01:22:50103Male100Vet 504PB
18401:27:31GemmaBarnett01:27:20186Female9Vet 352 
24701:29:53NickHaywood01:29:19240Male232Vet 3546 
26401:30:10DavidHaines01:29:36253Male247Vet 4544 
29201:31:30ChrisBeard01:30:17275Male269Vet 4553PB
48601:38:32JohnTodd01:37:32486Male433Vet 5520 
59101:41:55AnthonyAtkinson01:40:41595Male510Vet 4598 
68801:44:40LisaMeadows01:43:24697Female103Vet 4512PB
90401:51:10DebbieBroad01:49:43926Female175Vet 5012 
90701:51:12ColinRathbone01:50:29952Male732Vet 701 
130902:04:25JillHaines02:00:541292Female352Vet 4555 
156702:16:52carolwilliams02:14:271575Female506Vet 655 
183102:40:51JoanneEdwards02:37:211829Female689Vet 5524 


24 Feb: Thanks to Craig Sephton for the following report: "Mary Tavener and myself ran at the above race, although I assume there were other VR athletes on the course whom shouted encouragement as I passed them on the return. Typically a windy 10 miles but the bright blue skies helped with retaining some warmth on a cold morning. Full results here.

Mary came first in her AG 55-59 - chip time 1:17:07

Craig came 8th in the 45 -49 AG - chip time 1:02:20 Pb


25 Feb: The after effects of her Big Apple trip and bitter weather were not enough to deter Debbie Moreton. "Lone VRACer for this very enjoyable off road race organised by Biddulph Running Club. The scenery was wonderful, the course icy and muddy in parts but my sort of race. However it was so cold that I had to wear a tshirt under my vest! However in my defence had jet lag, bit of a hangover and a stinking cold so feeling mardy! 45 min 52 sec".


25 Feb: Report from Graham Miles:As an alternative to the village bakery Wrexham half marathon three members went to take the closer but more undulating (hilly I would call it) Asics Oulton Park 10km.The course was two and three quarter laps of Oulton Park race track.I only entered on Tuesday,after Andrew entered and had no great expectations for the race,but as it was a local race I had not done before thought I would give it a go,as I would be watching anyway.It was a cold and windy morning but there were no signs of shirts underneath vests,even though some young people needed arm warmers! Andrew and myself started on the front line,and Andrew ran off  not to be seen until the finish. Andrew led from start to finish and won the race by 50 seconds in a new course record (again by 50 seconds) of 33.42 from two Asics forerunners(apparently they blog for Asics so get kit etc from Asics).The race also was slightly long and was recorded to be between 6.30 and 6.32 miles.I started relatively conservatively (well conservatively for me) and was 13th early on. After 2 laps of the course I had moved up to 9th but was passed on the final hill and even though got back to 9th could not hold this,and was passed again in the last 200 meters.I crossed the line in 38.42 to finish 10th overall and 1st Vet 50, which I won by 9 ½ minutes. I was pleased with the time, given the nature of the undulating course and the weather conditions.The third member of our group was Mel Johnson.Mel ran very well to finish 3rd lady and 2nd vet 35 in 43.53. She was pleased how the race had gone and it was nice to see her on the podium at the end. All in all a good day,not the most interesting of courses but worth a run, if you have not run this race before.
David Humphries took on the half marathon event as part of his build up for the Manchester Marathon and was rewarded with a great PB. Here's his report.
"Ran this on Sunday as part of my Manchester Marathon training and despite some concerns running 6 times round the same route, was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Possibly something to do with a PB of 1:30:42 some 5 mins quicker than any previous so the long miles paying off."


24 Feb: Due to injury and illness VRAC only had 2 finishers in each of the 2 senior races at the iconic Parliament Hill National XC champs. We had 3 starters in the mens race but Sam Whitehead unfortunately didn't finish. The fields were enormous, possibly even records, with more than 2300 male and 1100 female finishers and the course had a good mixture of hills, mud and fast firm running. Matt Sheen was the standout performer with a superb 42nd place taking some real scalps in the process. Stu Doyle was 180th and 1st v45 (he has now won his age group in Northerns and National so just needs the inter-counties in 2 weeks to complete the set!). Sarah Murphy also had a very solid run to finish 52nd - she was 4th v40 but only 10 secs off 2nd. Emma Pyatt had another strong run and came through well to finish 611th. Full results here.


24 Feb: Tony Dutton has struggled with injury. Good to see him get his 2018 campaign underway,

"The Standish Hall Trail Race 10k, considering I've been injured throughout the start this year, got to be happy to get through it. Lots of mud, hills and completely off road. Not the best picture, freezing cold, muddy shoes, muddy face, standing outside a hotel (Race HQ) on a busy main road with a free Wigan Pie."


15 Feb: Just two VRAC made the journey to Northern Ireland to take part in this quality 5k in which 91 runners squeezed under the 15 min mark. Chris Perry was 1st home in a PB time of 14.42 followed by Matt Sheen who was just outside his PB with a time of 15.07. Full results


11 Feb: A diminished bunch of Vale Royal old timers and not so old timers turned out for this good spirited race around the East Cheshire Harriers hq at Ashton. Two races, the 5k for women and over-70 men and the 10k for all men vets under 70. Well deserved rewards were team gold for Women and gold for overall winner and 1st over 40 Claire Thompson in an exciting sprint finish. Pauline Davies was 2nd over 65, Carole Williams 3rd over 65, and Colin Rathbone 5th over 70 man. In the 10k John Stephen Thompson was 3rd over 50, a powerful run well deserved position. John, Claire, Colin and Carole had all competed at Wythenshawe the previous day! Conditions were an improvement on the mudfest at Wythenshawe. More great oics courtesy John Davies in gallery here.


More muddy pics in Gallery

10 Feb: Another great turnout from VRAC in the final race of the season.  Due to the heavy rain the majority of the course was ankle deep in mud and a real test of stamina and resilience.  It had been well churned up in time for the senior men and women's race. Claire Thompson had a strong run over the 5 mile course and was first lady home for VRAC in 22nd place in a notoriously strong field. Lucy Knight was next in despite a number of falls and slips, followed by Hollie Carrington, Julie Annable (2nd in age group) and Lisa Meadows. The ever present Debbie Moreton was next home followed by Mary Taverner and ably supported by cross country stalwart Carole Williams. In the men's race which was just under 6 miles new 'signing' Mark Crabtree had a great debut although unable to count for us until his transfer fully goes through next month. Mark finished 41st claiming some decent local scalps.  There was some good grouping after Mark as Lee Carrington, Matt Scott, Chris Weedall, Steven Thompson, Gareth Williams, Robert Roe and Mike Harrington all came in within around a minute of each other.  Rick Murray was not far behind followed by Dave Haines who was nervously protecting a slight groin strain.  Next in was Dave Roberts, Chris Beard and then another cross country stalwart John Clarke. Richard Pettitt and Colin Rathbone came in next just a few seconds apart.  Everyone is to be congratulated in sticking that one out. Full Results.

FOOTNOTE: Results for the series here. Congratulations in particular to Julie Annable and Colin Rathbone second in their categories and third for Carole WIlliams.
PosNameCatCat PosTime PosNameCatCat PosTime
22Claire ThompsonL40339.32 41Mark CrabtreeM 41.58
38Lucy KnightL  40.41 111Lee CarringtonM 45.42
79Hollie CarringtonL 43.33 113Matt ScottM451445.49
109Julie AnnableL55245.39 118Chris WeedallM 46.06
134Debbie MoretonL451847.05 126Stephen ThompsonM501346.21
139Mary TavenerL55447.38 137Gareth WilliamsM452046.38
244Carole WilliamsL65468.22 141Robert RoeM 46.49
254Finishers    147Mike HarringtonM452447.00
      161Rick MurrayM501847.28
13th/51Team 6 Count    218Dave HainesM453450.30
37th/51Team 6 Count    236Dave RobertsM404051.50
12th/47Vets Team 4 Count    279Chris BeardM454354.27
33rd/47Vets Team 4 Count    297John ClarkeM60756.00
      345Richard PettittM552062.21
      349Colin RathboneM70362.49
      18th/45Team 6 Count   
      38th/45Team 6 Count   
      13th/42Vets Team 4 Count   
      30th/42Vets Team 4 Count  


4 Feb: This race has been traditionally well supported by VRAC for many years and 2018 was no exception. Some great performances from some of our younger 'Seniors'. First back in 10th place was 800m specialist Jacob Brown with a fantastic 25.53. Next with a huge PB was Andrew Miles followed by Oliver Williams with another big PB. Liz Renondeau was 1st female home just outside the 30 min mark but fastest 5 miler since 2015. Craig Sephton was just outside of his PB followed closely by Graham Miles whose consistent injury free training is paying off. Making her debut at this distance was Andrea Hilldrup with a creditable 30.52.. This was also a 5m debut for Robert Roe and Kate Moulds and both had great runs.  Dave Haines who is in heavy marathon training was next home followed by another marathon stalwart Jayne Lomax. Pauline Davies was next VRAC clinching her category prize. Last VRAC home was Jill Haines who is also only 5 weeks away from her marathon debut.

Finally a mention to second claim Ed Shepherd who regularly trains at Knights Grange and finished 2nd overall in a stunning 24.34. Full results.         

PosNameGunChipCatCat PosGenderGenPos
10Jacob Brown00:25:5300:25:53MSEN10m10
18Andrew Miles00:26:2300:26:23MSEN15m18
27Oliver Williams00:27:0500:27:04MSEN23m26
79Elizabeth Renondeau00:30:0400:30:02F353f11
88Craig Sephton00:30:3600:30:30M458m75
97Graham Miles00:30:5100:30:49M504m84
99Andrea Hildrup00:30:5500:30:52F354f14
109Robert Roe00:31:2300:31:19MSEN66m93
139Kate Moulds00:32:3300:32:29FSEN9f21
145David Haines00:32:4000:32:37M4514m123
408Jayne Lomax00:39:4800:39:43F506f85
478Pauline Davies00:41:2900:41:20F651f117
534Jill Haines00:42:5100:42:12F4515f134
Great photos from Bryan Dale here.


4 Feb: Looks like Chris Griffiths enjoyed another visit to the Mad Dog 10k. He feels at home there. Apparently not his quickest run but why let that get in way of having fun and acquiring what must be the goody bag of the year. Well done Chris.


4 Feb: Another excellent endurance race for David Shepherd. Here's how it went.

"Perfect weather for a Lake District marathon. What better way to spend a day. As still training for the Chester Ultra In March I came up with a plan to run the first half easy and then race the much tougher and technical 2nd half as a negative split. I just failed to do it but made up over 90 places which is a great fun way to run a marathon."  Pic: He was joined by Helen Lonsdale NRC.

25th overall
195 finishers


27 Jan: It was the first time that Harewood House, near Leeds. had staged the Northern XC champs and it proved to be a great success. A superb setting and a course that contained mud, hills but also plenty of good running conditions too.The younger members of the club excelled although Andy will mention those in his report however  from a senior perspective we also had a very successful trip.Matt Sheen and Sam Whitehead ran the senior race for the first time and had superb debuts coming home in 13th and 21st place respectively. Stu Doyle was next home in 66th (1st v45) followed by Ryan Moore, just outside the top 100 and Gareth Williams (300th) with John Clarke completing the scoring 6 which brought the team home in 16th out of 57 teams. Richard Pettitt and Col Rathbone completed the VRAC turnout with the former coming home marginally ahead but Col taking 3rd v70. In the ladies event Sarah Murphy delivered a superb performance, as she always does,  with 20th overall and 1st v40. She was ably supported by Liz Renondeau (42nd and 5th v35), Clara Pettitt (120th) and Lucy Knight (160th) to enable the team to finish in an excellent 11th out of 53. Senior mens results here. Senior women here. Pics from Rob Brown here.


21 Jan: Characteristically filthy conditions for this local event. Wet, cold, windy and roads covered in slush most of the way meant that times were somewhat slower than normal for most people with the race being won in 69 mins, a slow winning time by normal standards. James Ainsworth bucked the trend running a great race and rewarded with a terrific PB and two bloody nipples. Gemma Barnett is back in good form well below the 1 hour 30 mark taking 2nd in her category. Excellent run from Chris Beard with a big PB after clocking up the miles in training. VRAC (Doyle, Ainsworth, Standidge and Richardson) picked up the mens team prize. The race also incorporated the Northern Masters AC (NMAC) event with VRAC picking up 5 medals (see table below). Great effort.
PosGunName ChipPosGenPosCatPosNMACMedal 
901:16:50StuartDoyle01:16:489M9Vet 451V45Gold 
1201:17:44JamesAinsworth01:17:4212M12Vet 402V40GoldPB
6901:25:03GaryRichardson01:24:3864M64Vet 4013   
9301:26:29BrianDooley01:26:2094M88Vet 4513   
13201:28:59GemmaBarnett01:28:47134F7Vet 352   
15401:30:04MichaelHarrington01:29:55156M144Vet 4526   
15601:30:08CarolynDooley01:29:58158F11Vet 404V40Silver 
18001:31:53CraigSephton01:31:32180M165Vet 4530   
18301:31:57MalcolmHughes01:31:41184M168Vet 5011   
23101:34:30DavidHaines01:34:09231M213Vet 4539   
24101:35:02ChrisBeard01:34:38243M222Vet 4543  PB
30801:38:00JosephCavanagh01:36:56302M275Vet 4055   
56201:46:28MaryTavener01:45:42578F81Vet 552V55Gold 
86701:56:23JayneLomax01:54:49882F160Vet 5011V50Silver 
127502:12:27JillHaines02:09:491268F326Vet 4557   


13 Jan: Sarah Griffiths finished first female in this race that is 2 laps of the iconic race circuit. Sarah finished 13th overall in a time of 38.06. Well done.


14 Jan: Good turnout for Vale Royal seniors on Saturday at Woodbank Park, Stockport in the 4th of the Manchester xc league events with 7 women and 9 men turning out. With Vale Royal vying for promotion to Division 1 in all 4 categories (senior Men, vets men, senior women & vets women - no cumulative team results yet after Saturday but after the 3rd match at Kenworthy Woods, we were senior Men 4th, Vet Men 3rd, senior women 2nd and Vet women 1st - top 3 teams will be promoted to Division 1.) so let’s get a good turnout for the last race in the series at Wythenshawe Park on 10 Feb. Good to see 3 top end Vale Royal men on Saturday - Chris Williams 6th overall, Stu Doyle 14th (1st over 45) & Ryan Moore 24th ably supported by John Thompson, Mark Pilliner & Dave Haines to make up the senior men’s team other good performances by Chris Beard & Barry Chambers (great to see Barry out - he ran the Parkrun in the morning) & a disappointing run for Colin Rathbone (Ed: who wrote this report of course!). Unfortunately John Clarke had to pull out with a calf strain. Good efforts by the women with Claire Thompson & Holly Carrington well up in the field with good support by Julie Annable (5th v55), Lisa Meadows, Debbie Moreton, Jill Haines & Pauline Davies (3rd v65). For those who are acquainted with Woodbank Park there is a formidable hill with the more testing zigzag option being chosen on this occasion. Respect to all those who ran, let’s get promotion leading teams out on 10 Feb. Note: Jill Haines blueberry cake was well received after the races. Full results here. Cumulative age category results for the series after 4 races here.


7 Jan: Chris Perry was the sole VRAC representative.  The race had been rearranged due to a cancellation during the snow in December. Chris was rewarded with a huge PB of 30:48 and such is the standard of the race that this was only good enough for 21st place. Full results


6 Jan: Fantastic cross country day for VRAC who hosted the Cheshire Cross Country Championships at a brand new venue at Delamere. The challenges of designing, setting and marshalling a new course should not be underestimated and thanks to all those who made it happen so successfully. The route certainly tested the field with sections of mud, a long tough climb, a tricky descent and the opportunity for some fast running on the grass field. Good to see senior ladies and men support the event with a great turnout throughout the age categories. And what a result! In the ladies race the first 3 places went to VRAC the trio being Amelia Pettitt, Sarah Murphy and Liz Renondeau. The ladies took gold and silver senior team places and silver vets team. The men had 4 individulas in the top 10 and took gold in the senior team event and silver in the vets. An excellent 2nd overall to Matt Sheen and 6th overall and 1st vet to the 'master' Stu Doyle. No less effort further back in the field with some hard fought battles and a few spills including a tumble from James Ainsworth (2nd M40). Age category wins for Sarah Murphy, Liz Renondeau, Pauline Davies and Stu Doyle. On the lighter side this was Gary Richardson's first ('and last' he says!) venture into the tough world of XC. It was duly noted that despite friendly advice Gary chose to disregard the unwritten 'no under vests for racing' rule and preferred to keep in touch with his feminine side sporting a tight fitting little grey number. Oh dear. Well done everyone. Full results and more great pics courtesy of Rob Brown here.  Don't forget (Gary) the next XC is Manchester League, Stockport Saturday 13 Jan.
Pos.NameCategoryLV Pos.Cat posTime
1Amelia PettittL 133:02
2Sarah MurphyV401133:31
3Liz RenondeauV352133:59
12Chloe BroadL 438:21
13Clara PettittL 538:32
14Carolyn DooleyV409439:17
19Claire ThompsonV4013739:59
29Lucy KnightL 1040:54
32Holly CarringtonL 1141:22
41Jeanette PopeV40281342:33
54Lucy BurchL 1744:52
64Jayne LomaxV5047546:05
68Mary TavenerV5551546:38
70Jo EdwardsV5553646:51
84Liz GaleV40662449:21
97Jill HainesV45771751:39
103Pauline DaviesV6581153:58
Teams A - D1st, 2nd, 6th, 18th3 count31 teams in all  
Teams A - C1st, 8th, 17th3 count25 teams in all 
Pos.NameCategoryMV Pos.Cat posTime
2Matt SheenM 240:26
6Stuart DoyleV451142:51
7Chris WilliamsM 643:07
10Oliver WilliamsM 944:15
13Ryan MooreM 1145:20
23James AinsworthV407248:05
38Lee CarringtonM 2449:49
47Brian DooleyV4520750:56
68Robert RoeM 3652:11
75John ThompsonV5039852:40
82Dave ShepherdV50451253:16
85Chris WeedallV40471453:21
94Gary RichardsonV40521554:12
103Tony ArcherV6058454:46
105Rick MurrayV50601754:56
109David HumphreysV40641855:07
110Tom ArmstrongV40651955:12
116Rob CorinaldiV45692055:53
122Mark PillinerV50732056:45
127David RobertsV40772357:45
139Geoff FawkesV45872359:02
145Chris BeardV4593251:00:04
156John ClarkeV60103101:01:52
174Steve CollierV55117121:05:21
189Richard PettittV55131161:13:12
Teams A - D1st, 8th, 15th, 21st6 count22 teams in all  
Teams A - D2nd, 12th, 14th, 17th4 count23 teams in all 


17 Dec: Chloe Broad has made good progress in 2017 and chose this race as her third 10k of the year. She finished the year in fine style finishing 4th overall, 1st lady and setting a new PB of 39.08  Well done Chloe. More to come in 2018. Full results here. Here's her report:
" Decided to do the 10k as a training run knowing I was to run in the senior race at the Cheshire championship in January and the distance was longer than the u20 races. On the day of the race the weather was very wet and windy and I was surprised with my Pb and win in such conditions."


31 Dec: What better chance to experience a new race than when on holiday. George and Jodie Thompson took the chance in Barcelona both running impressive times.
105George Thompson35:07:0034:58:00
455Jodie Thompson37:39:0037:22:00


31 Dec: 6 VRAC made the journey to Clitheroe for what is historically a fast race, largely due to the strong field including several Olympic athletes rather than the hilly course itself.  This race also incorporates the North of England 10k championships. There were strong winds all around the course which lead to some slower times than expected. First home for VRAC was Matt Sheen in 31.56. Next was a below par Andy Miles who hoped to improve on his recent PB at Wilmslow but the blustery conditions scuppered that. Amelia Pettitt was next home in a seasons best time claiming 7th lady in a strong field. Eleanor Riches was our next lady home with a solid run just outside her PB and Richard Pettitt rounded off another prolific year of racing in VRAC colours just outside his seasons best time.  Special mention to former clubmate Stevie Stockton now racing for Leeds City who was 3rd overall in her first road race for two years. Full results. Mike Harrington 'ran' as well.

PosNameGunChipCat Cat PosGen Pos
25MATTHEW SHEEN00:31:5600:31:56Male2425
64ANDREW MILES00:35:0100:35:00Male5361
82AMELIA PETTITT00:35:4900:35:49Female78
128MICHAEL HARRINGTON00:37:4800:37:44V458117
525ELEANOR RICHES00:48:3500:48:00V451591
696RICHARD PETTITT00:52:3500:51:19V5539549


26 Dec: This popular Boxing day race has been held since 1972. Seven from VRAC shook out the Christmas day excesses. A great run from recent member Andy McQue finishing 3rd overall just 7 seconds behind the winner. Another good run from the improving Tony Dutton although he says the last mile was a struggle... and we note Tony D respects the 'no under-vest for races' code this time!! It seems nesh Tommy Armstrong is the latest offender! Great to see VRAC stalwarts Barry Chambers and Val Kinvig second in their categories. Well done all. Full results here.
PosGunName ChipPosGenPosCatPos


17 Dec: Andy McQue, who joined VRAC recently, finished a speedy 13th in a field of nearly 200. Changes to the start and finish were necessary due to the icy conditions and hence the race was classed as 'unmeasured'. Welcome to Andy who will be a valuable and speedy addition to VRAC racing. Full results here.


17 Dec: On a weekend of race casulaties due to the weather Tony Dutton was able to find one that was on, albeit foreshortened.

"The planned 8 mile Trail race around Tittesworth Reservoir at Meerbrook was cut short by 3.5 miles due to ice on higher points of the planned course. Finish time 37:10, 45th out of 206 runners. I also learned about the unwritten undervest rule later in the evening."

Photographic evidence unfortunatley confirms the blatant contravention of the 'rule' on under-vests for racing. What was he thinking? Disciplinary action has been taken.


10 Dec: On a day when many races and events were cancelled the festive Tatton Yule Yomp went ahead. 10k pretty much all cross country in extremely slippery conditions. Hence, slower than last year but nonetheless great racing from VRAC and lots of trophies.  James Ainsworth respected the unwritten ex rugby players 'rule' that under-vests are reserved for wimps and opted instead for a lovely pink tutu, which saw him through to an excellent 2nd place overall and M40 category win. Not far back Sarah Murphy retained her titles (1st lady and 1st F40) from last year. John 'JT' Thompson, at home in the conditions, finished well up to help VRAC win the team prize. Claire Thompson next to secure 2nd in her category. Great to see the improving Julie Annable rewarded with F55 category win. We have missed Val Kinvig in recent races so good to see her back. Mark Pilliner and Jo Edwards enjoyed a gentle pace by their standards with Mark running with his wife, Jane, and Jo supporting her daughter, Megan, in her first ever race as she embarks on training for a half marathon. Festive fun.
First NameSurnameGenderGen PosCategoryCat PosGunOverall PosChipChip Pos


3 Dec: Tony Dutton decided to try out his first trail race. 10k multi terrain.  "Hilly and muddy, difficult to know what's coming next and I probably should have gone off quicker at the start. Still it finishes a 44 mile training week, thanks to Newcastle Staffs AC for a well organised race today".


2 Dec: Very nice to see another strong turnout from ladies (8) and men (10). And...great to see (known) 'spouses/couples' made up 8 of the 18 runners! An interesting course with varied profile, terrain and ground conditions. Plenty of mud! Some excellent runs throughout and all rounded off with Mrs A's legendary flapjacks. What's not to like about cross country?
PosNameCatCat PosTime
38Helen SmithL45229.55
48Hollie Carrington  30.22
52Claire ThompsonL40930.33
140Mary TavenerL55534.10
156Debbie MoretonL451835.04
168Julie AnnableL55635.31
206Jill HainesL452336.55
278Carole WilliamsL65544.54
14th/61 A Team (4 count)   
46th/61 B Team (4 count)   
11th/55Vets A Team (3 count)   
30th/55Vets B Team (3 count)  
PosNameCatCat PosTime
87Gareth WilliamsM45939.03
111Lee Carrington  40.02
160Mike HarringtonM452141.16
197Stephen ThompsonM501742.36
205Tony ArcherM60442.56
264Mark PillinerM453344.49
273Dave HainesM453545.06
310Chris BeardM454347.00
313John ClarkeM60847.14
371Colin RathboneM70250.51
29th/52Team (6 Count)   
13th/49A Vets Team (4 Count)   
33rd/49B Vets Team (4 Count)  


25 Nov: Two ladies and two men at this high quality event. Thanks to Rob Brown for pics. Full album here.
51000:56:48RichardPettitt 00:56:48
7800:31:33ElizabethRenondeau 00:31:33


26 Nov: The final road race of the year for many and with conditions cold but better than expected we saw some super quick performances from 19 VRACers with 11 PB's. A big breakthrough for Andrew Miles with a 60+ sec PB just missing sub 33 mins to lead VRAC home. Stu Doyle close behind to win his category. James AInsworth had targeted this race for some time and was rewarded with a PB. Sarah Murphy first lady back for VRAC and 2nd in her category. Many more notable PB's detailed below including Mr and Mrs Dooley and 2.30+ min PB's for Lucy Knight, Debbie Broad and Geoff Fawkes. Well done everyone.
1533:23:00StuartDoyle33:20:0015Male15Vet 45116:2116:59 
3034:32:00JamesAinsworth34:28:0029Male29Vet 40517:1117:16PB
5736:32:00SarahMurphy36:29:0059Female5Vet 40217:5718:32 
8037:37:00BrianDooley37:29:0080Male74Vet 45618:3018:58PB
8937:56:00MichaelHarrington37:51:0092Male83Vet 45718:4219:09 
9438:10:00GrahamMiles38:04:0097Male88Vet 50418:4219:22 
9738:18:00RobertRoe38:09:0098Male91Vet 352018:4319:26PB
11839:06:00RichardMurray38:58:00129Male109Vet 50718:5919:58 
14639:48:00CarolynDooley39:26:00150Female14Vet 40519:3019:55PB
17740:31:00DavidHumphreys40:07:00178Male159Vet 402719:3420:32PB
28042:59:00MelanieJohnson42:32:00289Female35Vet 35720:5921:32PB
35044:04:00GeoffFawkes43:44:00376Male306Vet 454221:4322:01PB
58647:51:00DebbieMoreton46:59:00606Female90Vet 451123:0023:58PB
59347:54:00DebbieBroad47:02:00615Female91Vet 50523:0024:01PB
96852:46:00JayneLomax50:44:00967Female209Vet 501324:35:0026:09 
2500 (approx)Finishers          


18 Nov: Good to see complete ladies and mens teams. VRAC ladies led home by Holly Carrington with the first 3 VRAC ladies closely grouped. Great to see Pauline Davies completing the race and claiming an age group 2nd. The men saw some solid performances with Oliver Williams first home and Colin Rathbone taking 2nd V70 to bring VRAC home. Full results here. Photos from Bryan Dale here.
PosNameCatTimeCat Pos
22Holly CarringtonSW21.46 
24Lucy KnightSW21.51 
27Sophie SmithJW21.588
87Mary TavenerW5524.425
124Jill HainesW4526.2922
144Pauline DaviesW6527.452
192Carole WilliamsW6531.373
3rd TeamDiv 2 (4 counters)  
PosNameCatTimeCat Pos
10Oliver WilliamsSM25.32 
61Gareth WilliamsM4528.095
80Lee CarringtonSM29.21 
153Dave HainesM4531.5228
163Mark PillinerM4532.2831
211John ClarkeM6034.304
261Colin RathboneM7037.592
8th TeamDiv 1 (6 Counters)  


19 Nov: Outstanding performance from in form David Shepherd ably supported by Nick Haywood. A multi terrain event in Radcliffe (North Manchester). 13 miles along the Irwell Valley with a few 'sneaky' climbs thrown in. Both say they really enjoyed the route and would recommend it for next year!
PosNameCatCat PosGunChip
12David ShepherdM5021.
39Nick HaywoodSM


18 Nov: Great representation from VRAC. Here's Stu Doyles report:

The usual excellent organisation was accompanied by good weather and a very runnable course - flat with a bit of mud but nothing too treacherous as evidenced by my time of 27.45 for a course which most people confirmed via their Garmins was the advertised distance of 8k (5 miles). Sarah Murphy and Stu Doyle had identical performances in our respective races - both 4th overall and 3rd English counter in winning teams. They therefore picked up team golds but narrowly missed out on individual prizes! Liz Redondeu had a superb International debut in the W35 category - 8th overall and 3rd English counter in the bronze medal winning ream. Andrea Hildrup also ran really well, finishing an excellent 2nd in the Open race.


19 Nov: Two from VRAC took on this scenic but tough half marathon challenge which takes in the Great Orme. Here's how they got on:

Matt Woolley: " I achieved a half marathon PB by 6 mins of 1 hr 42 min 11 sec. My second Conwy half after 2016. Great event, over 2,500 runners, challenging Orme climb and great weather!"
Craig Sephton: "
After a few tough months producing little in the way of consistency or quality training sessions then today wasn’t about attempting a Pb but more about being on the right track to better things. The weather was cold but dry and for that I was thankful especially knowing the route took you over the Great Orme.I held an average of 6:50 pace over an undulating course until mile 5 knowing at this point there was a further 2 miles of climbing which proved the right decision as other runners whom were ahead earlier on began to fall off the pace as the gradient kicked up, I even had time to enjoy the views before dropping back down to the west shore and heading back towards the Castle, often seen in the distance, my last mile probably my quickest over the course. Overall an enjoyable mornings trip to the coast."
PosNameCatCat PosGunChip 
104Craig SephtonM45141.30.421.30.13 
425Matt WoolleyM45691.


Congratulations are also extended to Liz Renondeau (W35), Sarah Murphy (W40), Stu Doyle (M45) and Andrea Hildrup (W35 Reserve) who have been selected to represent England at the British Masters XC International to be held in Derry, Northern Ireland on Saturday 18th November. The five home nations enter a team of 6 runners in each 5-year age category race. It's an excellent achievement for VRAC. Good luck with the races.


12 Nov: We think Dave Hunphreys was the lone VRAC in the 10k but was rewarded with an excellent PB of 40.51.  Well done Dave. Sub 40 not far away. Likewise it looks like Gary Richardson was the only VRACer in the half marathon. He too posted an excellent PB.
PosNameTimeNet TimeCategoryCat PosGenderGen PosTOD
15GARY RICHARDSON01:23:3501:23:27V402Male1410:24:36


11 Nov: For those who like mud Boggart Hole once again didn't disappoint! Very heavy and testing conditions for the runners. Suited some, not others. Great to see Katie Brough racing again in VRAC colours. She led the 9 strong ladies contingent home. Helen Smith was one who loved the mud with a strong run to win her category in this very competitive league. Another impressive run cross country for Hollie Carrington. On the men's side Rob Olliver was first VRAC back with an excellent run to prevail over Gareth Williams who as usual put in a strong race. Tony Archer was another mud lover and well pleased with his race to take 2nd in his category as did the evergreen Colin Rathbone. Good to see full teams for overall and vets events.  Well done all. Excellent pics from John Davies in the gallery here. Full results here.
PosNameCatTimeCat Pos
18Katie BroughL3534.436
26Helen SmithL4535.081
59Hollie CarringtonSL37.43 
63Claire ThompsonL4037.5511
126Jeanette PopeL4041.3020
170Mary TavenerL5543.165
219Sarah GibbsL4046.2440
241Jill HainesL4548.4839
299Carole WilliamsL6556.114
Team A8/686 Count  
Team B44/686 Count  
Vets Team A5/623 Count  
Vets Team B29/623 Count 
PosNameCatTimeCat Pos
109Rob OlliverM4038.5522
128Gareth WilliamsM4539.557
248Stephen ThompsonM5043.2721
254Tony ArcherM6043.442
308Mark PillinerM4545.3532
333Dave HainesM4547.0336
379Chris BeardM4549.3448
399John ClarkeM56050.189
449Colin RathboneM7053.382
Team38/626 Count  
Vets Team A16/564 Count  
Vets Team B43/564 Count 


4 Nov: Report from Debbie Moreton. Great race if you like the challenge of staying upright. Never seen so many people fall in one race. Under 5 miles but what a 5 miles. You start by charging downhill like a scene from Braveheart with everyone hollering which turns into a few screams and hysterical laughter as trainers are lost in the mud and a few lose their footings. Soon at the river crossing. There are stepping stones but decided to follow the lead of those ahead of me. Rather deeper than expected (was worried about car keys in back pocket!) and the cold water soon froze the old legs requiring the kind assistance from a chap behind otherwise may still be there scrambling to get out! Bit of a bottleneck running along the river bank next so not really able to speed up. Then a few muddy fields, a little bit of road then back along the river which was the worse mud I have ever seen. So relieved to get onto the next field with grass to get a grip! Next was running either through the ankle deep river overflow or attempting the wet, slippy rocks - went for the water. Finally the race ends climbing up a steep, muddy hill to the finish. I enjoyed the experience, honestly but maybe not for everyone!


4 Nov: Simply described by the organisers "Run up the hill, run down again, drink tea, eat cake".Just two Vale Royal runners tackled this one The very cold, wet and windy conditions at the start were ominous but after 3 miles uphill the sky cleared  offering stunning views for anyone pausing to take a breath before throwing themselves back down the other side of the hill. Dynamic David Haines was pleased to get up the hill without walking and Jovial Jill was seen punching the air after out sprinting four to the finish line.
Pos.NameCategoryL Pos.MV Pos.LV Pos.Cat posTime
58David HainesMV45 31 1150:42:00
238Jill HainesLV4590 762001:08:47


5 Nov: Three from VRAC representing Cheshire versus North Wales. Chris WIlliams, James Ainsworth and Helen Smith. All with great performances helping Cheshire Men and Ladies to victory.  Difficult conditions with a 20 mph headwind for the first 2 miles and a section of ankle deep water where the sea had spilled over onto the course! This didn't stop Chris Williams running within 3 seconds of his PB, James Ainsworth posting a 40 second PB and Helen Smith within 20 seconds of hers. Category wins as well for James and Helen.


4 Nov: Just 3 from VRAC at Arley. Another PB for the fast improving Robert Roe and likewise a nice PB for Curtis Rodway. Not a PB for Jayne Lomax but as always a very respectable run especially as she did it with a 'limpy leg'.
PosNameGunChipCatCat PosGenderGen Pos 
67ROBERT ROE00:38:4800:38:37V3511Male63PB
71CURTIS RODWAY00:39:0300:38:57Male30Male67PB
418JAYNE LOMAX00:51:0600:50:19V506Female75


28 Oct: Another good turnout from senior ladies and men. The second in the 4 race North Staffs series. Weather-wise, there have been some (bad) memorable races Park Hall which can be bleak and exposed. However, the weather and underfoot conditions were good this year. The race distance was shorter than previous years with the ladies at approx 5k and the men 7k. Some good performances with Sophie Smith and Chris Williams leading VRAC home. Full results and photos on NSCC website here.

PosNameCatTimeCat Pos
14Sophie SmithJW23.355
28Helen SmithW4524.515
32Holly CarringtonSW25.00 
52Lucy KnightSW26.20 
73Jeanette PopeW4027.0917
94Julie AnnableW5528.157
146Sarah GibbsW3530.5024
149Jill HainesW4531.0027
205Carole WilliamsW6535.532
Team2nd Div 2 (4 count)  
PosNameCatTimeCat Pos
9Chris WilliamsSM24.21 
59Gareth WilliamsM4527.033
84Rob OlliverM4028.0812
104Lee CarringtonSM28.59 
128Rick MurrayM5029.558
150Dave HainesM4530.3821
166Tony ArcherM6031.034
168Joe CavanaghM4031.0930
189Mark PillinerM4531.5333
211John ClarkeM6033.005
287Colin RathboneM7038.274
Team8th Div 1 (6 Counters)  


29 Oct: Good turnout for this creepy seaonal multi-terrain event over about 10 miles including the infamous tombstone section. Pacey performance from young Oliver WIlliams saw him first VRAC back in 4th place. We don't see much of David Shepherd at training these days but he's clearly in great shape just outside the top 10, although his choice of route through a hawthorne hedge left it's mark! Customary ladies victory for Gemma Barnett and nice category win for Claire Thompson. Looks like the two Debbie's just had a fun time out there all smiles and crossing the line together. Full results and lot's of great pics on Bryan Dale's site here.
PosNameCatTimeCat Pos
4Oliver Williams 1.07.53 
11David ShepherdM501.15.042
13Gary RichardsonM401.16.122
18Gemma BarnettL351.18.401st Lady
21Stephen ThompsonM501.19.304
27Nick Haywood 1.22.21 
34Dave HainesM451.23.43 
36John ToddM551.24.203
41Claire ThompsonL401.24.511
59Chris BeardM451.29.55 
71Richard PettittM551.36.55 
86Debbie MoretonL451.41.35 
87Debbie BroadL501.41.35 


28 Oct: There's marathons and there's marathons. The Snowdonia Marathon is especially tough with some brutal climbs (and descents!) including a beast in the latter stages. It's also special for the atmosphere and camaraderie amongst the runners and supporters. Three VRACers returned to tackle this challenge once again. David 'Spud' Murphy has proved to be something of a Snowdonia specialist. This was his 7th consecutive race and he delivered yet another impressive performance to lead the VRAC trio home. This was Dave Gough's 423rd consecutive day of running (minimum of 5 miles per day). He ran a very controlled race with impressive mile splits. Oh, and of course Dave ran 5.7 miles the following day as a recovery run! Having suffered with man flu the previous week (allegedly contracted from Dave Gough) it was great to see Paul 'Clutty' Clutterbuck back in the VRAC fold. Clutty's 10th Snowdonia in a row!  


21 Oct: VRAC had 3 ladies and 4 men's teams out at a windy Graves Park in Sheffield for the Northern XC Relay Champs. Legs are over a hilly 2 mile circuit with the men's race consisting of 4 stages and the ladies 3. The men's A team finished a very creditable 10th with the B team in 29th, the C team in 50th and the D team in 58th. There were 65 complete teams. There were a number of intra-club battles in the Ladies race with the A team  managing a strong 27th, closely followed by the B team in 34th and C team in 48th out of the 56 complete teams. There were a number of notable  performances including husband and wife duo Lee and Hollie  Carrington who both produced superb runs on their VRAC relay debuts together with Chris Weedall who also ran extremely well, particularly as he ran the Chester Marathon 2 weeks ago. Full results here.  Loads of pics here. Thanks Rob Brown.


Interesting weekend for Mr and Mrs Haywood. Oh and James Ainsworth and Gary Richardson! Here's Nick's report:

Would you like a dirty weekend in the lakes she said! I’m sure that was how it was sold to me. I have to confess being a little concerned when Sophie also said should we invite Gary! After retrieving my mind from the gutter it was clear Sophie was on about the Dirty Double at Helvellyn and Ullswater. Both these 15k race’s run on consecutive days making for a challenging weekend.

Helvellyn (Saturday)

16 James Ainsworth 64.57

30 Gary Richardson 67.41

42 Nick Haywood 69.09

163 Sophia Haywood 83.52

Starting and finishing at Jenkins Field, on the shores of Ullswater in Glenridding. The Trail Race was 15km following footpaths and bridleways that take you into the foothills of Helvellyn, with elevated panoramic views of Ullswater, and dramatic vistas of Helvellyn and the surrounding peaks. The underfoot conditions were lethal in places, Bambi on ice comes to mind. Sophie pulled off a small miracle and DIDN’T fall over on what was a very technical course. James had managed to organise the event to coincide with a boy’s weekend and was off to do some heavy (re-hydration) that evening.

Ullswater (Sunday)

No results at time of writing

Due to poor weather the ferries were cancelled so the planned route was changed to a gentler 12.2 KM over a small mountain! The late start (1pm) provided Nick with a chance to organise his race safety pins and for Gary to hit up the INOV8 stand for some demo shoes. Pulling off a proper Del Boy moment Gary managed to do a lovely deal involving a new pair of trainers. On the start line overlooking Ullswater and a large mountain we all convinced ourselves we would be running up that! How wrong we were. After just 4 miles the route took on a distinct vertical feel as 10ish minutes of walking took you to 260 meters, the hill was noticeable. Once again Sophie stayed upright and it was Mr Haywood who took a tumble while trying a dodgy overtake. A massive shout-out to Debbie Richardson who provided fantastic support all weekend and took some great photos. The whole weekend is highly recommended in fact Gary was heard to say “they do a season ticket, you know.”


15 Oct: The final race in the Cheshire Road Race Grand Prix series with the Ladies team event on the line with VRAC needing a strong performance to overhaul leaders Wilmslow. In short, they did it!!  See separate report below for more details. Some superb individual performances with Chris Perry and Chris Williams taking first and second with Gemma Barnett fourth lady and F35 winner. Category wins also for Graham Miles (M50 debut!), Curtis Rodway, Helen Smith, Emma-Louise Pyatt, Colin Rathbone and Carole Williams.Meanwhile, Gareth Williams enjoyed a run to support wife Amanda (NRC) to a fantastic PB!

PosGunNameNameChipmin/m Gen PosCatPos


VRAC has done a historic double in the Cheshire Road Race Grand Prix series winning both men and ladies team events. To recap, the Team Championship is based on 5 races from 7 and individual Championship 4 races from 7. The men had already secured their team title after Sutton 6 (Race 5) but the ladies were in a close second place to Wilmslow before the final race at Farndon. They did an excellent job to field a strong team given other races such as the Manchester Half marathon had taken some potential participants,  To put this double into perspective the race history shows the VRAC ladies won the team event in the inaugural year 2003 but the men have never won the team event. The last time a double was achieved was Wilmslow in 2014. On the individual side Chris Williams secured the men's title with Stu Doyle as runner up. Helen Smith was runner up in the ladies individual event. Great result for VRAC. Well done to all those who took part, Remember even if you weren't a counter you may well have helped the team by pushing back a rival counter!



15 Oct: Nice conditions if a little warm for this race. Some great performances with Brian Dooley setting a new PB and so close to going sub 85 minutes. Next, Robert Roe setting a huge PB going well under 90 minutes for the first time. Not far back Carolyn Dooley and in her words: "Super happy to run sub 90 today and finish 1st V40! Championship place at London reconfirmed". Looks like a solid races for Malcolm Hughes and Eleanor Riches and a predictable big PB for Tony Dutton who is improving with every race. Chris Griffiths' race was a brave one: "First twinge at 5k, probably should have stopped at 17k but it just became about finishing in the end. Dedicated to Trevor Cording who would have smashed my 2:03:13 time". Respect Chris.
PosNameTimeCategoryCat PosGen Pos 
193Brian DOOLEY01:25:02V4513186PB
259Robert ROE01:27:16V3549247PB
343Carolyn DOOLEY01:29:03V40114 
616Malcolm HUGHES01:34:06V5027569 
776Anthony DUTTON01:36:34V40104707PB
1721Eleanor RICHES01:46:20V4516235 
3943Chris GRIFFITHS02:03:13V55932963


14 Oct: Unseasonably warm conditions for the opener to the MACCL series. Great ground conditions too. As usual, large high quality fields and some great racing. Chloe Broad saw the ladies home with an impressive run followed by Claire Thompson. Debbie Broad and Julie Annable were both under the weather but determined to race for the team. They had a close, but of course, friendly battle. Stalwart Carole WIlliams brought the team home. Matt Sheen revelled in the high class sharp end of the field. Great to see Rob Olliver back racing in VRAC colours and putting together an impressive performance. Likewise, good to see 'JT' Thompson on the country again. Joe Cavanagh ran a well paced race nearly catching JT on the final lap. Dave Haines overhauled Tony Archer in the final yards but Tony was delighted to be back and racing well after missing last season with knee surgery. Colin Rathbone saw the VRAC contingent home just one week after his Chester Marathon effort. He secured 2nd M70 just a few seconds behind the winner. All in all a fun day out.
PosNameCatCat posTime
22Chloe BroadL20438.44
43Claire ThompsonL40540.48
113Debbie BroadL50746.11
116Julie AnnableL55546.19
227Carole WilliamsL65357.45
17th/48Team (4 count)   
15th/51Vets Team (3 count)  
PosNameCatCat posTime
4Matt SheenSM 34.04
15Stu DoyleM45235.47
118Rob OlliverM402641.23
190Stephen ThompsonM501644.34
191Joe CavanaghM403744.36
216Dave HainesM453246.01
218Tony ArcherM60346.04
293John ClarkeM60749.24
362Richard PettittM552254.02
369Colin RathboneM70254.34
15th/53Team (6 Count)   
14th and 34th/48Vets Team (4 Count)  


It was with shock and great sadness that we learned of the tragic death of Trevor Cording during the Chester Metric Marathon on 8th October. Many of us in VRAC knew Trevor who was an experienced runner, a former member of Fylde Coast Running Club and a mainstay at Northwich Running Club since it's inception. Trevor was aged 50, married with 3 children.  VRAC sends our heartfelt condolences to Trevor's family and our friends at Northwich Running Club. Trevor will be sadly missed by many, many people.



8 Oct:The club managed 2 complete senior women's teams of 4 and a senior men's 6 stage team at Saturday's National Road Relays. Both races featured the UK's strongest clubs who in turn fielded a number of the nations best distance runners. The ladies A string of Amelia Pettitt, Chloe Broad, Sarah Murphy and Sarah Griffiths managed a strong 24th whilst the ladies B team of Esme Bridge, Lisa Meadows, Debbie Broad and Carole Williams were 77th out of 86 complete teams.Meanwhile the senior men's team of Cam Weaver, Andy Miles, Matt Sheen, Ryan Moore , Stu Doyle and Chris Perry just missed out on a top 50 place put of 82 complete teams.

FOOTNOTE: U13 girls and U17 girls picked up Gold and Silver respectively.


Congratuations to Chris Williams, James Ainsworth and Mike Harrington selected for the 6 man team to compete in the Intercounties match at Abergele 5 on 5th November. You can be sure these guys will leave nothing out there but sweat and guts. Good luck fellas.


8 Oct: Unfortunately the results fail to show 'Club' so it's tricky to sort out VRAC runners. Two are very clear. An outstanding victory for Chris WIlliams winning the overall race by a margin of nearly 2 minutes. We can't see another half marathon result for Chris so this could be his debut! Secondly, Liz Renondeau, who joined VRAC from Ellesmer Port on 1st October, took first place in the ladies race so a double for VRAC!! (Liz is in black in the pic below). Mark Pilliner was another we noticed in the results with a solid run. If any other VRAC members ran please let us know!
PosNameTimeCatCat Pos 
1Chris Williams1.13.14SM  
16Liz Renondeau1.25.36F3511st Lady
89Mark Pilliner1.41.10M4512


8 Oct: Good conditions for this local marathon saw 5 VRAC athletes all with good performances with Mary Tavener running for England in her age category. First home Bob Corinaldi who has been eating up the miles in early preparation for the Comrades Marathon in 2018. Bob improved 3 minutes on his London time this year running a PB and was well inside his Comrades qualification time though very annoyed just missed breaking 3.30. Next our 'super vet' marathon specialist Colin Rathbone who was too poorly to run Sandstone last week. Colin also improved on this years London time by 5 minutes. Likewise our latest International Mary Tavener ran over 8 minutes faster than at London to take 9th place in the F55 category. Marathon debutant Chris Weedall was well satisfied with his race and though his immediate reaction was 'never again' we all know that will change once he recovers! An excellent day was rounded off by Matt Wooley whose target was sub 4 hours having just missed out at London. Matt ran with the 3.45 pace group to 21 miles then held on with grim determination up the cruel climb at 24 miles. Job done in spades Matt. Recover well folks.


With one race to go in the series here's an update on the team and individual standings.  To recap, 5 races out of 7  count for the team awards, and 4 out of 7  count for the individual awards. Some final positions are already settled, the remainder will be decided at Farndon 10k on 15th October. 

Full results tables are here but in summary:
Men, teams:  Vale Royal have won (CONGRATULATIONS!!!); second is between Macc & SCH. (Mathematically, Wilmslow could snatch third, but this would require a maximum score with SCH not improving)
Men, individuals: Chris Williams (VRAC) and Stu Doyle (VRAC) will finish first and second respectively (CONGRATULATIONS!!!). Third is between Andrew Miles,  Scott Wilson, Mark Walker and  Barry Archbold
Women, teams:  Macclesfield are a certain third, but only 10 points currently separate Vale Royal & Macclesfield
Women, individuals:  Diane McVey has won. Second and third are between Janine Ellis, Diane Bygrave, Helen Smith, Louisa Harrison, Carolyn Dooley & Chloe Dooley.

We need a good turnout from the ladies at Farnden to be in with a shout of doing the men/ladies team double!


1 Oct: A new edition to the Mike Harrington portfolio of races with plenty of runners and volunteers from VRAC. Some great performances in the A race (17 miles from Duckington to Delamere) in particular David Shepherd who covered the hilly, muddy trail in 2.17.18 and was unlucky not to pick up and age group prize. Following on from a long-term injury David seems to have found his niche with these longer distance races.  In the B race (10 miles from Beeston Castle to Delamere) there were again some great performances with terrible conditions under foot. Great to see some of the 'track mums' (Caroline Buckley and Debbie Broad) running fantastically well in their own right.  Full Results


1 Oct: 6 VRAC members made the short trip to the salt mines in Winsford for this scenic multi-terrain race.  1st home and retaining her crown was Gemma Barnett who finished 4th overall. Steven Thompson just beat John Todd for the age category win and the pair were followed closely home by a returning to form Melanie Johnson.  Next home was Claire Thompson who narrowly missed her age category prize and rounding it off solidly for the club was Ray Tran. Full Results.


1 Oct: Race 6 in the Cheshire Grand Prix series saw a low turnout from VRAC due to a congested racing weekend.  Ably representing the club however were Stu Doyle who was unable to hang on to the lead group and retain his title but still finished with an age group win in a creditable 1.17.31 and 5th overall. In next was the usual solid run from Daren Cotter in 1.31.  Third in and a little off the pace by his own high standards was Joe Cavanagh in 1.35.07. Full Results The final race in the series is the Farndon 10k on Sunday 15th October. Details and entry here.