Vale Royal AC - Senior Section

Running and Athletics in the Heart of Cheshire.


SENIORS 8.00am SUNDAY RUNS: These runs will now be communicated via a dedicated Whatsapp group. See details here.


CAPENHURST 5K: Wed 21 Aug 7.15pm. £10. Entries here.

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.

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.



.We have two months to catch up on. Casting our minds back to March a lot of tremendous racing went on over all sorts of distances and terrains. Lee Carrington and John Clarke excelled at the Chester Ultra (50+ mies); Sarah Murpfy (January AOM) had another great race taking the club record for half L40 half marathon at Wilmslow; and many more great performances. We finally decided to recognise a superb improvement from one of our younger 'seniors' who nailed a 2 minute PB at Arley 10k running just outside 37 minutes. March AOM is CHLOE DOOLEY. 

April closed with many PB's at the Mid Cheshire 5k including young Alex Doyle establishing superiority over his Dad.. And of course there were inspirational stories from the Manchester and London marathons. At the latter we saw Colin Rathbone secure 2nd M75 and Carolyn Dooley posting a PB. However, one athlete stood out, running a superb 9 minute PB at Manchester marathon (2.50) and a 14 second PB at Mid Cheshire 5k (16.43). April AOM is CHRIS JONES.
                      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 May: As usual there was a great VRAC turnout for one of the fastest 5ks in the region. There were numerous PBs including Matt Rowly getting agonisingly close to a sub 16, Chloe Dooley shaving even more time off her recent 5k PB and taking second place.  This helped the women's team to a great victory in a traditionally strong race.  Good to see the spring marathoners back out racing the shorter stuff and great to see Amelia Pettitt running well and injury free. Full Results 


12 May: A strong turnout for Vale Royal in this reasonably new race as the club took four of the top five places.  The men took the team prize and the women took the women's team prize with Mel Johnson claiming 2nd lady and Debbie Richardson with a strong PB. Full Results.



11 May: Bob Corinaldi sent us this report on the full Sandstone Trail Race:

A small Vale Royal contingent took on the Sandstone Challenge on Saturday 11th May and an ‘interesting' day was had by all.

The Sandstone Challenge is organised by Helsby Running Club and takes in the full Sandstone trail from Whitchurch to Frodsham which is about 33 and a bit miles depending upon how good your navigation skills are!  As this was Gary's first foray into ultra running, shoe choice was critical. Thankfully he brought several pairs of road and trail shoes with him to try and he was seen jogging round the car park sporting various types of running shoes trying to make up his mind. I'm sure at one point he may also have tried a pair of Debbie's high heels. He eventually settled on road shoes by the way!

As the run started, the early morning mist lifted and Lee disappeared into the distance. He had a cracking run, breaking the 5 hour barrier, finishing in 2nd place in a time of 4:58. Given the number of stiles and the ground conditions this was a fantastic performance and he took 20 minutes off his time from the previous year.  Gary was hot on Lee’s tail eventually finishing in 7th place in a time of 5:31 claiming that he should have stuck with trail shoes after all!  Bob was on for a sub 6 hour finish until two schoolboy errors saw him get lost twice on a course he allegedly knew like the back of his hand! The navigational blunders dashed any hope of a sub 6 and he finished in 18th place in a time of 6:02 & still managing to shave a few minutes from last years time.  Matt got off to a flying start but seemed to suffer in the heat towards the end and followed Bob into the finish (probably not a good idea) finishing in 19th place also in a time of 6:02.  Sophie who is preparing for an Ultra later this year and true to form had a few falls but a steady run given the conditions, finishing in 29th place in a time of 6:29  John has obviously kept both his stamina and the ability to run on a full stomach between aid stations (see photo) finishing in 39th place with a time of 6:51.  Full Results 


7 May: Tony Dutton reports: Perfect conditions for Wilmslow Running Clubs spring Round the Runway 5 mile trail race. Myself and Debbie Moreton took on the event this year that usually sells out within a few weeks. This was my 2nd time running the race and Debbie's first, would definitely recommend this race, which has one rather steep climb after crossing underneath the runway through the Bollon tunnel. Full results here.
Tony Dutton13940.15
Debie Moreton14740.46


5 May: Bob Corinaldi reports: Made my annual visit to the Keswick Half Marathon over the weekend. Much cooler conditions than last year but I still got sunburn! Made a conservative start, not wanting to get tripped in the melee at the start and I was also wary of the previous days 'easy' run..12.8 hilly miles which included an enthusiastic Parkrun.  From the first mile onwards it just got better and better. Went really well through the hilly first 8 miles and found another gear when I hit the road back to Keswick at Grange. Target was to equal or sneak under last year's 1:44 but managed 1:36:37 which took 5 minutes from my previous best around that course. Old age seems to be working out!

Position 86
Time 1.36.37


5 May: 'Proud Dad' Brian Dooley reports: On the back of her performances at the Northern X-Country champs and recent 10K PB at Arley Chloe was selected to run on the Northern team at the Cardiff 5K. Perfect conditions for racing and despite a tough course there were lots of fast times and PB’s, Chloe didn’t disappoint posting a huge 48 second PB and going sub 18 for the first time with 17:57. The young Northern team came third overall only being beaten by more senior teams from Wales and Northern Ireland. Looks like mum and dad will be bringing up the rear at Christleton in a few weeks time


26 April: Last Friday saw the return of the Mid Cheshire 5k and great support from VRAC again with 29 runners taking part.  Many noteable performances across the board including 3rd overall for Ed Shepherd in 14.20, PB for Alex Doyle, great debut at this distance for John Humphries with a 15.38, and a 16.47 PB for Chris Jones just 3 weeks after the Manchester Marathon.  There were PBs also for Liz Renondeau, Kate Moulds and Hollie Carrington.  Full Results

Entry to the summer staging event is here.

 PosGun timeNo.First nameLast nameChip TimeChip PosGenderPosCategoryPos3KFinish 
4115:33200AlexanderDoyle15:3141Male41Under 2149:176:14PB
4415:40190JohnHumphries15:3844Male44Under 2159:206:18Debut
9616:30208StuartDoyle16:2899Male94Vet 4579:486:39 
14617:05233JamesAinsworth17:01147Male141Vet 401610:106:51 
15117:11838ElizabethRenondeau17:09151Female7Vet 35210:116:57PB
17717:37354GarethWilliams17:31177Male165Vet 50310:297:02 
21318:05358RobertRoe17:58209Male190Vet 402310:507:08 
24718:45398GrahamMiles18:38248Male217Vet 50811:097:28 
27719:18440scottbamber19:07276Male234Vet 501011:267:40 
29219:33413AndreaHilldrup19:23292Female48Vet 40611:287:54 
32520:09644MelanieJohnson20:01329Female51Vet 35812:047:57 
33620:21474PaulDavies20:04332Male283Vet 453411:558:09 
36120:48481GeoffFawkes20:41368Male302Vet 453712:188:23 
37721:09448CraigTodhunter20:53378Male314Vet 454112:188:34 
38721:18556JohnClarke21:01385Male321Vet 65312:408:20 
41422:23818GaryWeedall22:11421Male341Vet 552313:079:03 
43923:06594stevecollier22:49440Male354Vet 60713:349:15 
47224:24:00606JayneLomax24:05:00477Female98Vet 50714:179:48 
47424:24:00661BarryChambers24:00:00471Male376Vet 65614:359:25 
52527:21:00677anncollier26:52:00523Female126Vet 55616:1610:36 
54429:43:00672PaulHudson29:14:00544Male406Vet 651217:3211:41 


28 April: Good weather conditions for this years race with 7 VRACers taking on the challenge. Tommy Armstrong threatened the 3 hour barrier but like many others slowed a little over the second half. Excellent PB for Carolyn Dooley rewarding her for her commitment to training. Rick Murray ran a very quick first half but paid the price in the second half. Experienced David 'Spud' Murphy completed another creditable marathon. Our amazing Coiln Rathbone outpaced much of the field to secure 2nd vet 75. Mary Tavener and Liz Gale delivered solid performances to bring the club home. Special mention (editiors licence) for ex VRAC member Amy Sheils (nee Archer) who ran a 6 minute PB at Manchester 3 weeks ago and a further 5 minute PB at London 3.28.29! Great pics from John Davies and Clara Pettitt in Gallery here.
PosCat PosNameCatHalfFull 
2501525Tom ArmstrongM401.28.343.02.35 
356332Carolyn DooleyL451.
4284354Rick MurrayM501. 
46271972David MurphySM1. 
94582Colin RathboneM751.45.373.41.53 
1052056Mary TavenerL551. 
13349710Liz GaleL401.


7 April: Liz Renondeau reports: I ran in the Port of Blyth 10K which incorporated the British Masters 10k road championships on Sunday April 7th. This was an out and back course along the coast and the Breeze off the North Sea was relatively kind! I finished second lady overall to Aly Dixon (who went on to finish 16th lady at Boston a week later) in 35.44 and won the V35 British Masters title. Obviously really pleased as had been targeting this all winter. No other VRAC athletes there as far as I’m aware. Full reults here.

21 April: Liz Renondeau reports: Yesterday Mary Tavener and I ran at Hale 5. Mary was first in her age group. I was First Lady in new PB (29.08). Pretty hot conditions but lovely well organised race that I would recommend! Full results here


21 April: Stu Doyle repors: Pretty warm conditions for today's race which featured a number of VRAC members.1st home in 6th place overall (1st v45) was Stu Doyle  (34.11), closely followed by 2 16 year olds - Ed Pettit  (10th in 35.30) and Aaron Doyle making his debut at the distance in 36.17 to finish 17th. Tommy Armstrong had his last outing before London ( where he'll be hoping for cooler conditions) with 42nd in 39.41 whilst Gemma Barnett had another strong performance to finish  4th lady overall and 2nd v35, narrowly missing the 40 min barrier by 6 secs. Paul Davies was next home in 91st with 43.29 with Colin Rathbone also completing his London preparations with a v75 age category victory in 49.21. Completing the finishers was Richard Pettitt with 53.35 to finish well inside the top 2/3rds.


7 Apr: A little different to our usual races was Bob Corinald's latest adventure.  Bob tells us:

"The LDWA (Long Distance Walkers Association) organise challenge events which are long distance events for both walkers and runners in a similar format to the popular Sandstone event in May.  The 3 Shires has 21,23,28 & 30 mile options & I went for the 30 mile route running from Swythamley, The Roaches, Three Shires Head, Shuttlingsloe, Wildboarclough (twice) and back to Swythamley. The route is almost entirely on footpaths / bridleways with navigation required but nothing too serious.  With 5,400ft of climbing, its best described as 'a bit lumpy' but the scenery made it all worthwhile and the sun shone throughout. I'd set myself a target of 6 hours, nothing scientific behind that, just thought 6 hours was a nice round number but my main aim was to get round without injury as after all it was just a training run. All went well until Shuttlingsloe which took its toll and things started to slip.  I seemed to recover throughout the second half and pull it back....the 6 hour finish was back on.  With a desperate sprint to the village hall at the end the Garmin said 5:59:39 but I couldn't get back in the village hall as the door was shut!  Turns out we'd left through an emergency exit in the morning and the proper entrance was round the side!  Quick jog round the side to check in as complete and my time officially recorded as 6 hours 0 minutes, happy with that! No idea where I came as there aren't any official results but chatting to a few people, 6 hours seems like a reasonable time for a 30 mile training run.If anyone fancies something different, a really well organised low key event with no pressure, amazing views and some of the best food I've ever seen at a checkpoint (which you have to visit twice) then this is the one for you but be have to run past the Wincle Brewery at around 25 miles"


7 Apr: Perfect weather conditions for the 4 VRAC toeing the line at the Greater Manchester Marathon.  1st home was Chris Jones with with a huge PB of 2.50.01. Next home making his marathon debut was Mark Pilliner who ran superbly well after recovering from hip injuries earlier in the year.  Debbie Broad was next in with a fantastic 3.57.08.  Another huge PB and securing a good for age for London (next year). Fourth finisher for VRAC was Eleanor Riches who finished behind Debbie but with a faster chip time of 3.53.30  Obviously Debbie had her elbows out at the start line.   All four should be extremely proud of their achievement and take a well deserved recovery. As a footnote is it a coincidence that all four used the Village Bakery Wexham Half in their build up? Full Results. 

226Chris Jones1006MMO3502:50:1102:50:01
3321Mark Pilliner4527MMV5003:45:2403:38:16
4518debbie broad7789FFV5004:01:1303:57:08
5061Eleanor Riches6763FFV4504:07:3203:53:30


6 Apr: Colin Rathbone writes:  Unfortunately no Men’s team this year despite qualifying in the Northern 12 Stage at Birkenhead Park. But fielded a partial team in the Women’s 6 Stage. Four stalwarts ran soundly in perfect conditions. Pity we couldn’t muster the full 6.

Leg 1, long leg.    Amelia Pettit. 32.52.
Leg 2, short leg.  Clara Pettit.   21.41. 
Leg 3, short leg.   Carole Williams. 28.44
Leg 4, long leg.     Kate Moulds.  36.44

Leeds won both the Men’s 12 Stage and the Women’s 6 Stage - A very entertaining day of racing - certainly on a par with the Grand National and the Varsity Boat Race.


24 Mar: Colin Rathbone reports: A perfect day for running a Half Marathon, attracted 2836 finishers, 5 of them Vale Royalers. Sarah Murphy had a good run - 5th lady overall - 2nd F40. Darren Cottier a sound run, Matt Hough improving all the time. Eleanor Riches a super PB performance and a sub 1.45 for Colin Rathbone 1st M75. In the 10k Paula Manley (Shaun’s daughter) ran soundly for a 7th F40.


24 Mar: Despite a couple of enforced late changes we fielded a strong 12 man team at Birkenhead park this afternoon. Conditions were dry and sunny but pretty windy and the team performed admirably achieving a best ever position of 11th ( within 30 seconds of a top 10 finish) and beating the previous best of 12th set last year. There were some superb performances enabling us to reach a peak of 4th after 4 legs. We inevitably slipped back marginally over the remaining 8 legs however it is notable that 3 of our team are first year seniors and 3 are over 45 therefore we will undoubtedly get even stronger in forthcoming years as our juniors develop and more come through to replace the old guard!! It is also worthy of note that every one of the 10 teams ahead of us is based in a city or major town so we are definitely punching above our weight!
Chris PerryAlex Doyle
Ben LeeChris Williams
Andrew MilesRyan Moore
Matt RowlinsonGareth Williams
Stu DoyleJohn Humphries
Jacob BrownGary Richardson


23 Mar: Good racing conditions and some very good results.  First back for VRAC Chris Standidge our triathlon specialist. Next,James Ainsworth satisfied with his continued progress after injury. Another good race for Liz Renondeau finishing a tantalising 4 seconds short of her PB. Performance of the day came from Chloe Dooley posting a big PB (nearly 2 minutes) witnessed by her proud parents. Mum Carolyn commented: "5 weeks ago Chloe ended up in A & E after spraining her ankle in training just before Nationals, on crutches and unable to walk let alone run. Today after much hard work, rehab and cross training she took almost 2 minutes of her 10K PB running 37.03. She often says I’m her inspiration to keep working hard...well today she was totally mine!". A great run from Helen Harrington once more posting sub 40 minutes and her fastest time since 2005! Solid runs from Paul Davies and frequent racer Mary Tavener. George Thompson completed the VRAC line up limping home with a torn calf.
FavPosNet PosNameTimeNet TimeCategoryCat PosGenderGen PosNet Gender Pos
 3434CHRIS STANDIDGE00:34:3200:34:26Male28Male3333
 4647JAMES AINSWORTH00:35:1800:35:17V404Male4445
 5456ELIZABETH RENONDEAU00:35:4100:35:41Female4Female44
 7574CHLOE DOOLEY00:37:0600:37:02Female6Female65
 134142HELEN HARRINGTON00:39:5600:39:47Female13Female1617
 208213PAUL DAVIES00:42:3800:42:19V4528Male185189
 339344MARY TAVENER00:47:1000:46:26V553Female4949
 391422GEORGE THOMPSON00:48:4000:48:36Male168Male326349


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!