Vale Royal AC - Senior Section

Running and Athletics in the Heart of Cheshire.


VETS ROAD RELAYS: Sat 18 May Sutton Park. Fantastic club/team day out typically with amazing picnics! Open to men and ladies 35+. If you can participate please tell Colin Rathbone or Helen Harrington. Event details here.

6/12 STAGE RELAYS: Take place SUNDAY 24 March, Birkenhead Park. Please advise Stu Doyle or Helen Harrington if you want to participate or email here.

RUNNING PAST 40: As this will apply to quite a few of us here's an interesting read from WeaverPysio Sports and Injury Clinic on doing just that. Click here.

UPDATE:2019 LONDON MARATHON: Congrats to Liz Gale who wins the place. Dave Haines reserve.


RACE REPORTS: We try and keep the  website up to date. The volume and variety of races makes this increasingly challenging. You can help by sending a brief race report with a link to the results to  If you have been a Park Run tourist somewhere novel let us know about that too!

Our wealth is our HEALTH.



As usual February saw a variety of races in terms of distance and terrain. The climax of the XC season saw VRAC athletes competing at the English and Welsh Nationals. Also the Northern Masters XC relays which saw individual and team Gold for the ladies. Two of our super quick 'junior' seniors, Chris Perry and Jacob Brown, bagged 5k PB's at Armagh in a high quality field. Once again the Village Bakeries half marathon was a major event with some excellent performance, not least an M75 win for Colin Rathbone placing him first in the UK rankings for the distance in 2019. This month following a number of strong performances over the winter including two excellent races in February at the Manchester League XC and English National we recognise a relatively recent member. February AOM is MARK CRABTREE.
                      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 with news and results.


17 Mar: Colin Rathbone reports: Lovely sunny day here for the 40th running of the Thirsk 10 Miler starting & finishing at the racecourse. This single lap course, well organised with very supportive marshalling attracted over 1000 runners. Colin & Carole made the voyage into Yorkshire to compete and were satisfied with their performances.
501Colin RathboneM7511.22.33
878Carole WilliamsM6551.40.20


17 Mar: A VRAC double at Wigan Running Festival with victories in both half marathon and 5K. Congratulations to Chris Perry as he steps up his race distance to include half marathon. Chris was overall winner at Wigan by over one minute to set a new course record. Full results here.
1Chris PerrySNR1/28901:10:4901:10:50
Also a great win for Andrew Miles and category win for Graham Mies in the 5k. Graham reports: Andrew and myself returned to the Wigan 5k,held in conjunction with the half marathon.The course is basically an out and back route,with the first half downhill.The advantage this year was the wind was against us for the first half which made the second half not too bad despite the climbs.Andrew won in 16.04 ,and I was 14th and first v50 in 19.13 out of the 806 finishers.For anyone thinking of an early season 5k,I would highly recommend this race.
1Andrew MilesSNR1/12800:16:0400:16:04
2Graham MilesV50Jan-2700:19:1400:19:17


17 Mar: Racing junky Debbie Moreton the lone VRACer here. She reports: Another of my races postponed from last year. Third time this multi-terrain race has been held. The weather was definitely not kind to us. Hail at the start line and hail to finish! Change to the route, for the better I think, despite a 2K steady climb to begin with. Pleasant but very wet run along the canal then lots of very muddy trail and puddles like lakes! Race finished with a lap of Poynton Pool (park) and then ended back on Park Lane right outside a Costa Coffee. Delicious flapjack, sweets, banana and medal on offer. After feeling rubbish a couple of weeks ago, pleased with my steady run and overall time in the conditions finishing 5/56 in my age group.
Debbie Moreton00:50:1050:10.350:10.305:01.3 Min/K534217


10 Mar: Colin Rathbone reports: Colin Rathbone was the sole Vale Royaler in the Knighton 20 as part of his London “build-up”. High winds and an undulating course meant fast times were hard to achieve. A great race, well organised, supportive marshalls and a quality tee-shirt all for £15.

Position 136th Colin Rathbone  1st V75.   Chip time 2:54:44.
Total finishers: 270


9 Mar: LADIES - Debbie Broad reports: A slightly depleted senior women’s Cheshire team headed over to Prestwold hall in Loughborough to compete in the intercounties cross country in which the women and men ran an equal distance of 10km plus. Our very own Lucy Burch swapped her shorts for a very smart Team Managers jacket. Sarah Murphy and Chloe Broad from Vale Royal put on there Cheshire Team Kit today. Instead of the mud of last years intercounties it was strong winds and occasionally Hale.  Sarah has a fabulous race coming in 63rd -third counter for Cheshire and only one place behind Cheshire’s second counter. Chloe also had a great race her second year to represent Cheshire as a senior coming home  in 153rd and 5th counter for Cheshire. The team came 12 /29 complete teams.
MEN - Robert Brown reports: Jacob Brown1st home for Cheshire 85th, Stuart Doyle 177th, 5th Cheshire. High gusting winds but good underfoot conditions, Cheshire men's team 17th of 32 teams. Sam Whitehead didn't run due to his car breaking down en route from Durham where he's at University.


10 Mar: Colin Rathbone reports: Colin Rathbone was the sole Vale Royaler in the Knighton 20 as part of his London “build-up”. High winds and an undulating course meant fast times were hard to achieve. A great race, well organised, supportive marshalls and a quality tee-shirt all for £15.

Position 136th Colin Rathbone  1st V75.   Chip time 2:54:44.
Total finishers: 270


10 Mar: While our UK racers were complaining about the cold, rain and wind our international racers were whinging about the sun and the heat. Gary Richardson and Dave Haines returned for another crack at the Barcelona marathon. With temperatures into the 20's it was not what they had been used to! Gary went well until mile 20 but then the heat and exhaustion took its toll. Nevertheless, he imprived on last years time by around 3 minutes (a PB we think). Dave Haines hoped the  heat resitant haircut might help but found the going tough from halfway.  Both can be proud of their achievement. Meanwhile, a member of their support crew was able to enter and excel in the local 'eat the most junk food' marathon.
747GARY RICHARDSONM4503:04:1303:03:43
3833DAVID HAINESM4503:39:1903:38:32


10 Mar: As usual a field stacked with talent. Heavy driving rain and surface water did not seem to deter the field with 4 men going sub 30 and Steve Cram's protege, Laura Weightman, setting a new ladies course record in 31.59. A good race fro Chris Perry at the sharp end although he appeared to finish in some discomfort. Another good race from Liz Renondeau, 3rd L35 and a solid sub 40 minute result for Robert Roe.
14136:18:00ElizabethRenondeau36:15:00142Female13Vet 353
22639:25:00RobertRoe39:13:00226Male200Vet 4024


10 Mar: Not a quick course at the best of times and even less so in the conditions served up for Katie Brough. Great to see Katie racing again and running well to secure first lady placing.
10KATIE BROUGH00:40:1200:40:12V351Female1


9 Mar: Congratulations to Lucy Knight selected for N Wales inter-counties XC. Not an easy passage it seems but all the more credit for that. Here's here comments: "Horrendous windy conditions. Worst race preparation ever! But I found some sort of peace through all the wind rain and mud and remembered why i love running. The race didnt reflect the training I've done but the training is there for a great road season".


10 Mar: A busy weekend for racing with some filthy weather on Sunday morning! Another very impressive race for February AOM Mark Crabtree. Likewise, Melanie Johnson backed up her recent form just a few seconds short of her PB set recently at High Legh.

PosGun timeFirst nameLast nameChip TimeChip Posmin/m GenderPosCategoryPos


3 March: Mark Crabtree has put in some excellent cross country races this season which proved a solid base for an speedy 6 min/mile half marathon at rainy Berkhamstead through the Chilterns countryside.

"It's a half marathon my previous running club always attend in high numbers and a very good, well organised race. I was disappointed not to win the V40s though - the winner wasn't that far ahead.. too much training on the flat since the move up north I think!"
PosNameCatCat PosTime
9Mark CrabtreeM40378.28


3 March: Chris Beard reports: A scenic and challenging mostly off road race from Congleton to Bosley Cloud (1125ft) and back via the ancient Bride-stones.  This race is run by Congleton Harriers under FRA rules.  It's a popular well organised race with plenty of marshals and support along the way.Sunday saw a cold, wet, windy start to the day with the threat of a storm coming in. Lots of competitors chose to gear up with under vests/tee-shirts and other forms of rain cover. I opted for the minimalist approach and I was glad I did as the weather cleared slightly just after the start, although it remained very wet and muddy under foot  providing a challenging route across some of the fields and up and down the Cloud. Darren Cottier was the other Vale Royal attendee and he had a good race running really well and finishing with a very respectable time of 71.32 to put him 49th overall and 7/34 MV45. I  was pleased to post a PB of just under 4 minutes finishing with a time of 75.02 and 68th Overall which put me 8/51 MV50. There were 259 finishers. I'd definitely recommend this race if you fancy something a bit more technical with the added bonus of a hill.  Did I mention there is also cake...
PosNameCatCat PosTime
49Darren CottierM457/3471.32
68Chris BeardM508/3175.02


3 Mar: Tony Dutton reports: On Sunday I took on the Cheadle 5 Miler in North Staffordshire for my first road race of the year.This is one of two road races Cheadle running club hold each year with the start and finish being at the Cheadle Academy. The race takes us through Cheadle town center at the beginning before heading out to the countryside for a few inclines. Not the fastest of courses but a well organised and marshalled race finishing 63rd out of 150 runners.


2 Mar: Lee Carrington reports: Headed over to Waverton on Saturday for the 6am start of Chester ultra 50. It was a circular route around Chester/Helsby/frodsham and then taking in the sandstone trail for the last part of the race. I was going really well until woodhouse hill frodsham when cramp set in and struggled for the second half of the race but managed to keep going, with the help of wife Hollie and a few friends that were meeting me at points along the way with food water etc. Managed to finish in 10th place in 8hrs 11mins and a Gold Medal (top 100 finisher). John Clarke also took on his first ultra and finished just outside the Gold category to finish with a hugely creditable Silver (100 - 200 finisher) in a time of 11hrs 6mins.

John Clarke reports: I finished 114th, had a great day felt good then started to struggle from Frodsham onwards, the last 7 miles on the canal was tough, had some help from Bob Corinaldi (he did the race last year) who ran the canal stretch with me to the finish. Also some great support from Colin & Carol, and a quick massage of Colin at CP5.
PosNameTimeMedal Type
10Lee Carrrington8 hr 11 minGold
114John Clarke11 hr 6 minSilver


2 Mar: Horrendous conditions caused some issues for the time keepers but did not stop Andrew Miles blasting out a 30 second PB in the A race and Liz Renondeau a 5 second PB in the B race.
PosNameGender PosCatCat PosTime 
A Race26Andrew Miles26SM2415.40PB
B Race7Liz Renondeau1F35117.24PB


2 Mar: Debbie Moreton reports: Just 5 runners from Vale ventured out to a wet High Legh. Fantastic, well-organised, friendly race and a great goody bag. A reasonably flat course with the challenge of a short, slippy, muddy section and a steady climb over the motorway bridge near the end. Great run by James Ainsworth, 2nd in age group; Mel Johnson, 2nd lady, 2nd in age group and a PB; Bob C 6th in age group; Eleanor Riches 6th in age group and Debbie Moreton 7th in age group in a field of a total of 519 runners (269 male/250 female). A great race which I thoroughly recommend.

6thJames AinsworthM6th40-492nd00:35:5700:36:00
41stMelanie JohnsonF2ndSL2nd00:42:1100:42:19
42ndBob CorinaldiM40th50-596th00:42:2200:42:30
104thEleanor RichesF15th40-496th00:46:4400:46:54
126thDebbie MoretonF24th40-497th00:48:3100:48:42


23 Feb: Colin Rathbone reports: To my mind, the best venue ever for the English Nationals (and I’ve been to quite a few). Set in the beautiful National Trust parkland of Harewood House, north of Leeds in perfect weather (18* in Feb), sunny, exceptionally dry underfoot, the course promised fast times and good performances. The mood in the Vale Royal camp was buoyant after seeing Holly Weedall dominate the  under 15 girl’s race and Holly Smith 6th in the Under 17’s. Gutsy performances in the women’s race from Sarah (110%) Murphy, Amelia and Clara Pettit ably supported by Carole Williams (sadly Chloe Broad had to drop out) resulted in a 44th team position out of 114 complete teams. Brilliant effort girls. Sadly the senior Men could not raise a team but sterling performances by Pat Stradling (a rare outing for Pat), Mark Crabtree (doubtful in the week with a tender Achilles), Colin Rathbone ( does he not know when to retire?) and James Griffiths gave credit to the VR vests they were wearing. The Nationals are the culmination and pinnacle of the club xc season. I applaud the Vale Royalers who did turn out in such a fantastic event.
57Sarah Murphy00:31:51 452Patrick Stradling00:44:22
68Amelia Pettitt00:32:16 517Mark Crabtree00:45:05
316Clara Pettitt00:37:17 1912Colin Rathbone01:05:50
1008Carole Williams00:57:38 1962James Griffiths01:10:21
1034Finishers  2006Finishers


23 Feb:Gareth Williams reports: Gareth and Nathan Williams made the trip to Pembrey Park, Llanelli for the Welsh XC Champs on 23rd Feb. It was Nathan's debut and Gareth first outing since 2005 in the race.The course was mostly flat and the ground very firm but log jumps, tight bends and some sharp climbs on to the dunes kept it interesting. The race was won by Swansea's Dewi Griffiths, reclaiming his title in his preparation for this years London Marathon. Nathan benefited from a last minute footwear change (thanks to having the same size feet as his dad) and came home in a very strong 21st position (av 5.46 miling!) in 36.50.. Gareth had a tough battle with former Wrexham clubmate, Andy Edge, now running for Thames Hare and Hounds, and just prevailed on the last lap to finish in 43rd overall and 4th place in the M50's in 39.25. A great day was made even better while driving home, listening to the rugby commentary and hearing Wales roar to a famous victory over England.


17 Feb: A great turnout for this one and a good marathon building block for quite a few.  Dry conditions but a challenging headwind in the closing 3 miles to test the resolve of runners.  George Thompson led VRAC home with Chis Jones not far back just 12 seconds short of his PB. First home for the ladies was Carolyn Dooley, also just short of her PB but well satisfied with another sub 1.30 and progress towards the London Marathon. Great to see Gemma Barnett back after her stress fracture with a very worthy sub 1.30. Geoff Fawkes is claiming a 'vets PB' as his last half marathons were in the 1980's! Mark Pilliner has had a stellar XC season and is in marathon training but struggled home with a hip problem. Fingers crossed for his quick recovery. Perhaps the two performances of the day were Debbie Broad who was delighted with a 5 minute PB, and Colin Rathbone winning the M75 category in under 1.50. Mary Tavener, also marathon training took 2nd L55 and Carole WIlliams brought VRAC home taking an impressive 2nd in the L65 category.


9 Feb: Challenging weather conditions did not detract from VRAC paricipants! Sarah Murphy won the ladies race overall and W40 Gold, Debbie Moreton took W45 Gold, and Jayne Lomax W50 Silver. The three of them picking up W40 team Gold. Great to see Andy Gibbs again in VRAC colours and running strongly as ever with 5th overall and M55 Gold.
Ladies 5kPosNameCatTimeAge Group
 1Sarah MurphyL4021.23Gold
 5Debbie MoretonL4527.58Gold
 8Jayne LomaxL5030.00Silver
Men 8kPosNameCatTimeAge Group
 5Andy GibbsM5531.28Gold


14 Feb: Two of our fastest runners made the trip for this renowned super quick 5K. Robert Brown reports: It's a great race, you have to be sub 16 min 5k to enter and last night a new record of 13:43 won it. 12 runners went under 14 and 113 under 15 overall out of 202 finishers. The course is set on roads surrounding a park called The Mall in Armagh. They race over almost 5 manic laps. Conditions were perfect, 10 degrees and no wind on closed roads surrounded by high Georgian buildings. Chris Perry ran 14:25, a 12 second pb, Jacob Brown ran 14:40 for a 19 second pb. Tthe atmosphere is second to none. They preceded the 5k with 10 short age graded kids races and the women's 3k so there is no shortage of support all around the course.
34Chris PERRY00:14:25PB 12 Secs
67Jacob BROWN00:14:40PB 19 Secs


9 Feb: Colin Rathbone reports: Excellent turnout for Vale Royal in the final match of the season at Kenworthy Woods on Saturday 9 February. 14 senior Men and 8 senior women contested the good conditions underfoot. Despite the valiant efforts of the men it looks likely that both the senior men’s team and vets men’s team will be relegated from the 1st Division. The Vets ladies faired well to maintain their position in the 1st Division, the Senior Women’s team despite fabulous performances (including a rare appearance for Katie Brough) closed the gap on 3rd place East Cheshire in the 2nd Division. Still awaiting final ratified results but according to Colin's calculations it looks like we are still 1 point adrift of 3rd place.
PosNameCatCat PosTime PosNameCatCat PosTime
25Katie BroughL35429.08 41Mark CrabtreeM401035.14
45Holly Carrington  30.16 88Gareth WilliamsM50337.17
47Claire ThompsonL40530.22 127Lee Carrington  38.34
51Lucy Knight  30.37 160Richard MurrayM501639.21
56Mel JohnsonL351130.57 165Tommy ArmstrongM403739.30
159Mary TavenerL55734.46 175Robert RoeM404039.42
239Debbie RichardsonL503140.40 199Matt ScottM452040.20
258Carole WilliamsL65443.03 249Stephen ThompsonM55642.00
271Finishers    252Chris BeardM503242.09
      278Mark PillinerM503643.37
9/54Team4 count   355John ClarkeM601048.17
40/54Team4 count   397Colin RathboneM70354.22
3/54Vets Team3 count   398Richard PettitteM552854.43
46/54Vets Team3 count   400Nick MortM553055.00
      17/50Team6 Count  
      42/50Team6 Count  
      25/50Vets Team4 Count  
      49/50Vets Team4 Count 


10 Feb: Just one from VRAC this year for this challenging 10K around The Great Orme. Tony Dutton's report: I travelled to Llandudno for the 2019 Nick Beer 10k. It's basically a 10k around the great orme anti clockwise. Tough conditions with a headwind going up, but a decent workout with a Chip Time of 52:15 Pos. 252 from 598 runners.
NameNameGen PosCatCat PosGunPosChipPos


26 Jan: A number of VRACers at the Northern XC Champs at Pontefract racecourse. The course was extremely firm, predominantly flat and therefore very quick which suited some but not others. The senior men's scoring 6 finished a very creditable 20th team out of 53 complete teams. The individual highlight was Jacob Brown's superb debut in the senior championship. Jacob was ably supported by Stu Doyle, Nathan Williams, Mark Crabtree and Gareth Williams. Team completed by the perennial Colin Rathbone now 75 and still racing! There were 704 finishers. Unfortunately the ladies were unable to field a complete team due to Helen Smith suffering a recurrence of a calf injury. Nevertheless Sarah Murphy had another great run in conditions that did not suit her whilst it was also great to see Amelia Pettitt competing again and Carole Williams looking as strong and glamorous as ever! 376 finishers. Full results here.

Ladies   Men  
PosTimeName PosTimeName
2830.40Sarah Murphy 2840.25Jacob Brown
4231.41Amelia Pettitt 8742.30Stu Doyle
36152.22Carole Williams 11443.34Nathan Willaims
376Finishers  17245.16Mark Crabtree
    24647.00Gareth Williams
    67865.25Colin Rathbone
    Team20th of 536 count


20 Jan: Relief for organisers and runners alike that the weather did not threaten this years race. Indeed cool, calm conditions were good for running. A typically solid performance from Stu Doyle at the sharp end. Performance of the day came from Gary Richardson who sliced nearly 2 minutes off his PB. Next, another good race for Liz Renondeau who decided to race at short notice. Malcolm Hughes (pictured), Mary Tavener and Jayne Lomax all acquitting themselves well to complete the VRAC field.


19 Jan: Colin and Carole made their regular trip to Wales for this event. Here's their report: Good conditions for this scenic race from Llandudno Pier to what used to be Colwyn Bay Pier until they removed it. Just 3 Vale Royalers out. First home in his first 10k in an impressive time of 35.23 was Ed Pettit. Colin Rathbone just starting his London Marathon training was happy with his sub-50 mins and Carole picking up her training for the National xc.

Ed Pettit 35.23 3rd U20 12th overall
Colin Rathbone 49.56 4th V70 173rd overall
Carole Williams 60.51 2nd V65 321st overall

Total finishers 434


12 Jan: Good turn out from ladies and men, enough for multiple senior and vet teams. Some good racing at an unusually dry Heaton Park! Well done all. One more MACCL race to go at Kentworthy Woods 9th February. Let's round it off it style! Full results here.
PosNameCatCat PosTime
41Helen SmithL45439.15
48Claire ThompsonL40839.34
60Holly CarringtonSL 40.26
80Mel JohnsonL351241.11
121Jeanette PopeL402143.03
167Mary TavenerL551045.59
279Pauline DaviesL65554.54
290Debbie RichardsonL503056.49
295Carole WilliamsL65658.21
Team13th, 48th   
Vets Team7th, 37th  
PosNameCatCat PosTime
25Nathan WilliamsSM 35.50
42Mark CrabtreeM401136.56
104Gareth WilliamsM50439.27
153Lewis BrownSM 40.39
171Lee CarringtonSM 40.58
209Richard MurrayM501542.08
223Robert RoeM405142.34
270Bob CorinaldiM502843.41
284Chris BeardM503144.08
286Mark PillinerM503344.13
305Stephen ThompsonM551345.09
403John ClarkeM601150.36
456Richard PettittM553457.35
459Colin RathboneM70658.59
464Nick MortM553661.13
Team16th, 50th6 count  
Vets Team13th, 31st, 54th4 count 


5 Jan: Terrific turnout and terrific results from ladies and men! Ladies taking 1st and 3rd in overall team and vets tea results. Brilliant effort, well done everyone.
Pos.NameCatMV Pos.Cat posTime
4Jacob BrownM 435:12
15Mark CrabtreeV404338:45
47James GriffithsM 3242:23
50Tom ArmstrongV4016842:33
53Gary RichardsonV4518542:43
59Lee CarringtonM 3843:03
64Darren CottierV4523743:30
65Matthew ScottV4524843:33
69Rick MurrayV5027544:01
75Craig TodhunterV45331144:38
76Chris WeedallV40341244:40
80Robert RoeV40381344:49
95Chris BeardV50511146:10
97John ThompsonV50531346:18
100David HainesV45561746:49
106Mark PillinerV50611647:21
114Geoff FawkesV45692048:09
142Anthony DuttonV45952653:08
154Richard PettittV55106151:01:23
Team4th and 9th 6 Count  
Vets Team3rd, 6th, 11th, 19th 4 Count 
Pos.NameCatLV Pos.Cat posTime
2Sarah MurphyV401132:31
3Liz RenondeauV352132:41
10Chloe BroadL 634:40
14Chloe DooleyL 935:46
17Clara PettittL 1236:39
19Sophie SmithL 1337:09
20Helen SmithV457237:11
27Claire ThompsonV4012438:18
30Holly CarringtonL 1739:05
38Melanie JohnsonV3520540:06
45Jeanette PopeV4026840:50
59Liz GaleV40381143:22
68Jayne LomaxV5046344:16
69Jo EdwardsV5547544:26
84Debbie RichardsonV5061951:53
Team1st, 3rd,7th, 14th3 count   
Vets Team1st, 3rd, 11th3 count  


1 Jan: Belated report from Geoff Fawkes NYD double 'up north'. Two counties and two rivers double he did on New Years Day:

9am - Riverside in County Durham - 3 laps in a park right next to River Wear with Lumley Castle and Durham County Cricket Ground in the background, coming 73rd out of 500. Then a 22 mile drive to get to Prudhoe Riverside for a 10.30am start - this time in the County of Northumberland running alongside the River Tyne, 2 laps of a trail country park, coming 46th out of 400. Ran negative splits for both races, with the second one quicker (albeit a harder course) and overall 30 seconds quicker than 2018 New Year's Day double!