Vale Royal AC - Senior Section

Running and Athletics in the Heart of Cheshire.

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10 June: Huge congratulations to Bob Corinaldi who has put many months and miles into tackling one of the world iconic ultra races. Here's how his exprerience unfolded... including 'before' and 'after' photos!

Described as the oldest and largest ultra marathon in the world, the Comrades Marathon was originally conceived in 1921 by South African Veteran Vic Clapham to commemorate South African soldiers killed during the war and to be a unique test of physical endurance….it didn’t disappoint.  Its run annually between Pietermaritzburgh and Durban, changing direction each year and a nominal 90km long.  Due to the changes in elevation between the start & finish, the Pietermaritzburgh to Durban leg is called the ‘Down Run’ and the reverse route is the ‘Up Run’.  2018 was to be a Down Run from Pietermaritzburgh to Durban.   There are several significant hills along the route affectionately known as the big five along with timed cut offs culminating in the final 12 hour cut off at the finish.


I qualified in group C following last years Chester Marathon and lined up on the chilly start line ready for the cock crowing at the 5:30am start. Pacing was always going to be difficult as it’s a hilly 50km followed by a fairly steep 30km downhill and a steady 10km to the finish.  Apparently there’s only 4km of flat profile on the entire route. I decided early on to try and enjoy it & soak up the atmosphere as the support along the entire route was incredible. I saved the legs through the first 50km and all went relatively well until about 75km when my stomach went on strike, the km’s seemed like miles and I had to give myself a serious talking to which thankfully had the desired effect. The long downhill on tired legs was brutal and I managed to get some ice from a water bath and run with it on my quads for a while until it melted in the heat.  I finished in 9:54:57 which is just inside the target I set myself although I hadn’t appreciated just how long & steep the downhill section was. All in all a great day out and thankfully the months of long miles (1,650 since November) paid off.   


Apparently I’m halfway through my Comrades journey which isn’t complete until you’ve run both up & down legs!


Final result 9:54:57

Overall 5407 from approx 20,000 starters and 16,478 finishers


9 June: Bob Corinaldi used this as his warm up for the Comrades Marathon on the following day.  "Told myself beforehand to take it easy.  No problem there, it was packed with  2271 runners!"


12 July: VRAC  had 4 out on Thursday evening in good conditions and a really enjoyable race despite the hills and numerous stiles. Stu Doyle came 2nd overall (1st vet) after a close battle with the 3rd and 4th placed runners which meant he finished within 10 secs of the winner. Pauline Davies had another strong run to win the w65 category. Chris Beard continued his excellent recent form with a really good run and was closely followed by Geoff Fawkes, both enjoying their debuts at this race and liking the variety of terrain.


14 July: Tony Dutton is training for the Chester Marathon and wanted a half as part of his build up. He didn't choose an easy one. Hot conditions and a brutal profile with nearly 2000 feet of elevation, Here's his report.

Needed to get a half marathon race in as part of my marathon training for Chester. So I entered the Pendle Running Festival half marathon. They run both the 10k and the half marathon at the same time setting off together, but the half basically does the course twice and is measured a little further than a actual half. Without doubt the hardest race I've done, over 13 miles in 25 degrees with 1989 elevation, but a beautiful part of the countryside finishing time 02:02:40 27th out of 56 runners.Full results here.


8 July: Another excellent event staged by our friends at Northwich Running Club. VRAC took first place in both in both 5k and 10k races with Nathan Williams and Chris WIlliams prevailing respectively. Top 3 placings for Rick Murray (5k) and Gareth Williams (10k) and a strong run from Mel Johnson 3rd lady in the 5k. Full results here.
PosGun NameNameChipGenPosCatPos
118:08 NathanWilliams18:08Male1Under 401
319:17 RichardMurray19:16Male3Under 601
722:10 MelanieJohnson22:08Female3Under 402
1524:18:00 BenjaminFisher24:17:00Male11Under 405
2627:10:00 GeorgeScott27:08:00Male20Under 4010
PosGun NameNameChipGenPosCatPos
134:37:00 ChrisWilliams34:36:00Male1Under 401
239:57:00 GarethWilliams39:56:00Male2Under 601
3650:46:00 JeanettePope50:43:00Female7Under 505
3850:58:00 JadeEvans50:56:00Female8Under 403


8 Jul: Carolyn Dooley, Helen Smith and Debbie Broad headed to Solihull to represent Northern Masters in the British Masters Inter-area challenge. With temperatures sizzling conditions were very warm for distance racing. That said great performances all round. Carolyn was first up in the 1500m and was pleasantly surprised with her time of 5.25 exceeding her pre race target in her first track race in over 25 years. Helen made her debut over 400m and was strong right through to the finish with a time quicker than expected. Debbie Broad completed the line up with her first ever track race over 3000m running sensibly in the heat and being rewarded with a time to be proud of. Also to note that Helen took on the role of ladies team manager and did a sterling job with lots of last minute changes to deal with. Without The Helen’s of this world many events wouldn’t happen so thankyou! (Thanks to Carolyun Dooley for report)


5 Jul: Another warm one at the first Sale Sizzler series of 4 races, Another fantastic run by Athlete of the Month Liz Renondeau bringing home 2nd Lady (1st v35 age cat) in a 4 second PB of 17:41, Big Stu Doyle had a target to get sub 16:30 which he didn’t fail to deliver with 16:21 and won a pair of trainers from a raffle picked out from 10 race numbers at the start! What a bonus. James Ainsworth adopted the go hard off go home tactic and blew at 4k so stopped briefly and then decided to run again to finish. More solid performances by Gary Richardson and Dave Haines with Gary very close to sub 18 which is impressive both still having a fell race from the weekend in their legs. Tony Dutton and a jet lagged Geoff Fawkes brought the VRAC contingent home in style. Photo credit Brian Tuohey.
2616:22StuartDoyle16:21Male26Vet 45301:1516:21 
3316:48JamesAinsworth16:47Male33Vet 40401:1616:47 
6217:43ElizabethRenondeau17:41Female2Vet 35101:2517:41PB
8518:11GaryRichardson18:08Male78Vet 401301:2518:08 
14119:25DavidHaines19:21Male129Vet 451601:2519:21 
24221:35AnthonyDutton21:25Male211Vet 403201:4021:25 
25521:48GeoffFawkes21:40Male223Vet 453501:4421:40


4 July:Only two ladies this year at the Forest Park ladies 5k trail race, Lisa Meadows and Helen Harrington. After a promising start Helen was one of a duo who were turned the wrong way and was disappointed to finish is 20:54 after turning back 30s later and completing the remainder of the course. Lisa had a fantastic run finishing only 16s slower than she ran at Mid Cheshire 5k earlier this year on a significantly tougher course. Lisa finished 18th in 23:07 and 2nd V45. Full results here. Thanks to Helen Harrington for report.


22June: Thanks to Helen Harrington for report and pics.Beautiful night again, this race always seems to provide the weather. VRAC had 2 complete teams with Gareth Williams joining two hardy hill runners and Geoff Fawkes featuring in the same team as when he last raced the 9 mile trail race 7 years ago. Gareth (Partnered with Chris Collins from Helsby and Alex Mason from Delamere Spartans) finished 5th team overall narrowly missing out on the prizes in a time of 64:51. Next home were the all female trio of Gemma Barnett, Kate Moulds and Helen Harrington finishing first ladies team and breaking the ladies course record by 3 minutes in a time of 69:30 (11th team overall). The VRAC trio of Toddy, Darren and Goffy finished in 73:25 and 15th place with Geoff's team knocking almost 10 minutes off their time from 2011 clocking 77:53 and 20th place overall.


July 1: The hot weather continues to effect races and this one was just a matter of surviving. Five VRAC runners ran this out and back 10k on the bypass as it was temporarily closed to traffic. Another fine run from Chris WIlliams in 3rd place and just dipping under 33 minutes. Good to see Tommy Armstrong back racing and after a quick check on Power of Ten there didn't seem to be any PBs.  



June 23: A belated well done to Chris Perry who ran a fantastic 14.18 over 5000m improving his PB from 14.57. An amazing time that puts Chris well within the elite criteria set by England Athletics. 


July 1: David Shepherd raced the  Lymm running Festival 10k trail race in very hot conditions. He placed 11th out of 117. Time 42:42.


We have a number of triatletes in VRAC. While we don't report triathlon races this piece of advice from VRAC's Craig Sephton is worth posting.  Recover well Craig.

"If ever I could offer a piece of advice. Please, please always wear a helmet when riding and ensure your kids do too. We collected mine along with my bike today after crashing out of the Coniston triathlon on Sunday, drystone walls don’t yield! Glad to be on the mend."


26 June: Thanks to Rick Murray for the following report: A hot summers evening for the 2nd of 3 races in the south Cheshire 5k series. Jake WIlson and Oliver WIlliams with top 10 placings. Another good tussle between Robert Roe and Rick Murray, this time Rob outdoing Rick by 3 seconds. Ladies win for Gemma Barnett and lots of other solid performances by the vale athletes. Great to see the legend Shaun McGrath bringing VRAC home. Hats off to all that competed in the heat. Full results here.
PosTimeNameCatCat Pos 
617.28Jake Wilson   
717.52Oliver Williams   
1218.46Robert Roe   
1318.49Rick MurrayM501 
1819.22Gemma BarnettF3511st Lady
3420.59John ToddM552 
3921.42Tony DuttonM402 
4221.55John ClarkeM603 
4822.34Emma Louise Pyatt   
5823.50George Scott   
7224.39Richard PettittM557 
8125.56Sharon WilsonF454 
10733.15Shaun McGrathM704 


24 June: Davis Shepherd has set himself the challenge of doing all 4 UK Ultras in 2018. Having completed 2 it looked like his challenge was over when he sustained a significant ankle injury. Not so. Having missed a lot of training he got to the start line for the 3rd ultra. One to go (Snowdon). Here is David's report.

Finished 58th out of 198 In 11 hours 50 mins. The 3rd GB Ultra out of 4 to complete the grand slam. The weather was so much better for this one and needed to be as this really pushed me to my limits. The route was the "Yorkshire 3 Peaks" challenge route with a marathon added on for good measure. Starting in Malham we headed North along the Pennine Way climbing up over Fountains Fell and on to join the 3 Peaks route. Was concentrating so much not to turn my damaged left ankle almost left me turning over on my other ankle on the climb onto Penyghent. No alarms after this but was trying to save energy for the last 10 miles. It was inevitable the lack of training was going to bite and hit me on the climb back onto Fountains Fell. I had to really dig deep and after several runners had passed me I finally managed to latch onto a group and stay with them. With 2 miles to go a few in the group had dropped back and this gave me a boost knowing others were feeling worse than me. Me and one other then pushed on to the finish and a great welcome at the finish. Just Snowdon 50 to go now (57) to be exact with 5500mts of climb.


24 June: Thanks to Debbie Broad for report and pic. Chloe Broad, Mel Johnson and Sophie Smith picked up the women’s team. Chloe won the junior women’s and was 4th women overall. Gary Richardson won the v40 men’s prize. Mike Harrington won the overall Grand Prix prize. Full results here.


24 June: Thanks to Chris Jones for the Race Report: It was a fairly successful trip to Staffordshire in very warm conditions for the VRAC contingent for the Stone 10K which incorporated the inter-area match between Cheshire, Staffordshire and North Wales with Liz Renondeau, Carolyn Dooley, James Ainsworth and Chris Jones all earning county vests. There was also a race win and a couple of age category wins for the VRAC members.James Ainsworth was first back with an excellent sub 35 time to claim the 1st V40 category followed by Chris Jones who gained a new 10k pb. Liz Renondeau was next home with a fantastic result picking up 1st Lady with Brian Dooley finishing ahead of wife Carolyn who did a superb job to win the 1st V40 ladies prize.In the inter-area match both Men's and Ladies team were second with both teams losing out to Staffordshire. Full results here.


24 June: Given that the original event was postponed due to the freezing cold weather in March it was fitting that the re-arranged race was on a scorching hot day. Only 4 VRAC runners competed - Chris Williams led the team home with an excellent 9th place in 73.23, narrowly missing his PB by 9 seconds. Next was Stu Doyle (75.15) in 18th (2nd vet) having passed Sam Whitehead (75.54) , making an excellent debut at the event, in the last mile. All 3 would undoubtedly have been quicker in more  favourable conditions having lost time over the 2nd half. Solle female, and making good use of her Spring Marathon training was Eleanor Riches finishing in an excellent 1.49.36. An added bonus was the senior men winning the team event. Full results here.


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.