Vale Royal AC - Senior Section

Running and Athletics in the Heart of Cheshire.

Archive Jan-Jun 2016

3 June: An annual fell race near the Alwen reservoir. 11k distance 177m ascent or 6.8miles and 582ft. Jo Edwards and Anthony Atkinson's last outing was the Wrexham half marathon so this was an interesting event to get back into racing. Anthony was 52nd in 55.43. Jo was 70th in 59.12.  134 finished the race. "Knackered but glad to be back racing again" was Jo's summary.
3 July: Stu Doyle and  Jayne Lomax  the only 2 VRAC runners who made the trip to Alderley Edge. The by-pass isn't as flat as you'd think with several undulations although it's pretty straight being 2.5m out and 2.5m back. Stu was 7th and 1st v45 in 27.00 whilst Jayne finished 258th (5th w45 our of 69) out of 875 finishers. 
3 July:   4 Vale Royal runners (two in disguise!) turned up for this very nice friendly race over 2 laps of a challenging cross-country course (grass and trails).   Conditions were very hot in place but that made for happy spectators and plenty of cheering on from our friends in Northwich Runnng Club who has a good crowd out for the day.   Nikky had a great run to win the ladies race.     Tom was 6th not far in front of Joe.   Debbie was please with her run to be 1st in age cat.  Actual distance was a little under the 10k mark....closer to 6 miles but on that course it was all about friendly competitive racing (as it should be!).

PosCatTimeCat Pos
6Tom AnnableM5038:101
14Joe CavanaghM4040:573
38Nicola CavanaghF4045:231
70Debbie MoretonF4549:372

2 June: Knowsley Harriers hold a free to enter 5k race on the the first Saturday of each month. Donations are in aid of Prostate Cancer. Mike Harrington continued his intensive race program and also continued his good form equalling his PB on this course. He came 3rd overall and 1st M40 in 17.25. 
30 June: The first in this well established 4 race series. The absence of 'sizzling' conditions of late meant the first section from the track to the 1k point was a mud bath. Nevertheless, some decent times and performances from the VRACers.

 PosGun timeNameNameGen PosCategoryCat Pos
6517:54DarrenCottier61Vet 454
7117:59SarahMurphy5Vet 352
8118:10TomArmstrong74Senior Male48
9418:27GrahamMiles85Vet 457

30 June: Seems Bob Corinaldi smuggled his race kit into the luggage.  He took on an undulating, 5 mile multi – terrain race in the beautiful Boconnoc Estate, Nr Lostwithiel, Cornwall. Here's hpw he got on.
"Been for a scenic 5 mile trot round  country estate. Think hilly cross country  with loads of mud and potential to lose your shoes....but at least it was warmSmiling face (black and white). Finished in 39.01 47th overall from 221 runner's.  Received jars of muscle rub at the finish and I'm almost through mine already!" 
28 June: The first of this three race series run around Queens Park and the surrounding area in Crewe.  A big turnout of 20 runners from VRAC with the overall race winner, Oliver Williams and Ladies winner Sarah Griffiths and 4 in the top 10. Oh, and a V70 category win for our very own Shaun McGrath! Nice work folks. 

0:16:27 WILLIAMS, OLIVER All Men 
0:17:45 AINSWORTH, James Male V40 
0:17:57 PETTITT, Edward All Men 
10 0:18:10 GRIFFITHS, Sarah All Ladies 
14 0:18:17 HEAWORD, Tom All Men 
19 0:18:31 SMITH, Holly All Ladies 
30 0:19:26 WASHINGTON, Sam All Men 
32 0:19:36 WHITBY, Helen Female V35 
33 0:19:38 DIMMICK, Caitlin All Ladies 
34 0:19:38 MURRAY, Rick Male V45 
41 0:20:14 SMITH, Lucy All Ladies 
49 0:20:54 HUMPHREYS, Charlie All Men 
53 0:21:08 CLARKE, John Male V60 
54 0:21:13 HUMPHREYS, David Male V40 
59 0:21:34 BENNETT, George All Men 
63 0:22:04 LATHAM, Beth All Ladies 
85 0:25:34 DAVIES, Lydia All Ladies 
92 0:26:27 DAVIES, Isabelle All Ladies 
121 0:32:06 JAFFREY, Kasey All Ladies 
128 0:34:46 MCGRATH, Shaun Male V70 

26 June: Another excellent event organised by Mike Harrington.   Pretty good conditions enabled some strong performances from VRAC athletes in the 5th race in the Cheshire GP series. This should ensue we maintain our high positions in the series although updated results are still awaited. There were a number of close battles, notably between James Ainsworth (who is quickly  returning to a high fitness after injury) and Chris Jones, between Tommy Armstrong and Gary Richardson, and between 4 ladies separated by only 23 seconds on chip times. However there was a 4th battle that should have taken place but didn't - because Gareth 'schoolboy error' Williams found himself in the changing tent when the gun went! He managed to work his through way the field but finished 73 seconds behind son Nathan on gun time albeit only 6 seconds behind on chip times - would have been very interesting if they'd set off together! Nathan managed to finish 1st U21 even without his dad pushing him. Whilst Gemma claimed 3rd overall lady.

 PosGun timeFirst nameLast nameChip TimeChip PosGend PosCatCat Pos

17 June:   9 Vale Royal Runners turned out for this favourite race.   Teams of 3 compete over the 9 mile course with a tough 3-mile trail section - including the infamous steep railway climb which has the grim reaper waiting for you at the top.  The last runner to cross the line determines the teams finishing order.  Some teams decide to run it together and others choose to just run at their own paces - and there a split in strategy for the VR runners this year.    Gareth and Nathan joined up with Alex Mason from the Spartans and got in the prizes in 3rd place.   After a good battle with a number of teams, Tom, Dave and Ian overhauled Helsby in the closing metres to take the MV prize.   John, Gemma and Darren ran separately - Darren mixing it with the two other VR teams.   Bob ran with 2 stourbridge runners a little further down the field.   A great atmosphere and a lovely evening of racing done the way it should be.

3Alex Mason64.07
Gareth Williams64.48
Nathan Williams64.13
4Tom Annable65.071st MV
Dave Shepherd65.08
Ian Brough65.07
21John Todd74.25
Gemma Barnett68.17
Darren Cottier64.42
33Bob Corinaldi79.45

HORWICH 5K (Incorporating BMAF Championships)
19 June: Stu Doyle lined up in a fast field to compete in the BMAF Championships. As usual he acquitted himself with great credit.  Official results still awaited. Meanwhile here's his report: 
"I came 2nd v45 so got a British Champs Silver medal. I got my time as 16.20 (but still need confirmation) which I'm slightly disappointed by as I know I'm in shape to run well under 16 mins but it's not a fast course - 3 laps of the town centre with a reasonable incline on each. Also not helped by mile splits of 4.56, 5.20 and 5.23 with a desperate last 0.1m at sub 5 min miling to hold off the 3rd place v45 and 1st v50 who were both 1 second behind! The 1st v45 was Glaswegian too so I guess that makes me the fastest Englishman!"
19 June: Given such a frenetic weekend for racing it was good to see a reasonable turnout and some good times for this race which was also included in the Cheshire Road Race Grand Prix.  
This was the final race in the series (best 4 from 5). Mike Harrington reports "I am vet 40 winner for Vet 40 N Cheshire Grand Prix Series. First thing I have won since the 'Ugliest Baby' competition at Butlin's Minehead in 1973". Both well deserved Mike :)

PosTimeNameCategorymins/kCat Pos
1700:17:42JONES, ChrisMale Senior03:32.4
2500:18:10AINSWORTH, JamesMale Vet 4003:38.04
3600:18:45DUFTY, JonnyMale Senior03:45.0
4100:18:58SPILSBURY, KateFemale Senior03:47.64th Lady
4300:19:00MILES, Graham RMale Vet 4503:48.03
5000:19:11SEPHTON, CraigMale Vet 4503:50.26
5800:19:34MURRAY, RickMale Vet 4503:54.88
15500:24:35CHAMBERS, BarryMale Vet 6004:55.05
Men Team6th4 to Count

19 June: Billed as a fast flat two lapper. Unfortunately not the case for the Harrington/Whitby household. @A race too far' for Mike who still finished well up the field but not at his best.  A very tough day for Helen who was in all sorts of trouble after a fast opening 2k. At one point she was reduced to a wolk. Having dropped out of a race in 2003 she vowed never to DNF again unless seriously injured so she battled on to the finish. Respect H.  It was no doubt a quiet ride home but they did agree not to return next year!

Pos   Time   Name   Cat   CatPos   Pace per Km/Mile   
2000:36:44Michael HarringtonM40(004/040)03.40/05.55
8800:43:19Helen WhitbyF35(004/028)04.20/06.58

19 June: Congratulations to Northwich Running Club on holding this inaugural festival incorporating 10K and 5K races with the emphasis on fun and enjoyment.  A great atmosphere and organisation with interesting routes,  VRACers, as always, acquitted themselves with great credit.

 PosGun timeFirst nameLast nameChip TimeGenderGen PosCategoryCat Pos
941:26:00NathanWilliams??Male9Under 406
 PosGun timeFirst nameLast nameChip TimeGenderGen PosCategoryCat Pos
219:17HollyWeedall19:16Female2Under 402
320:19ChrisWeedall20:17Male1Under 401

18 June: Nick Haywood tackled the brutal full marathon and Dave Haines the half marathon in the stunning trails and tracks of the world-renowned Coed y Brenin forest in the Snowdonia National Park taking in track, forest roads and paths in some of the most stunning forestry and heathland in the UK.  Nick Haywood had an excellent run finishing just outside the top 50. Dave Haines has struggled with injury so was relieved the only pain he suffered was inflicted by the hills!  "The race was well organised and well supported, I would recommend it to anyone. A possible club event next year. Excellent support from the Soloman stand with great advice and trail shoe bargains to be had (Soloman Fellrasier for £40)". Well done both.
Nick Haywood  52nd 4.01.54  Full Marathon
Dave Haines     ??     2.05.47  Half Marathon
16 June: Mike Harrington continued his good form and held off the 'young pretenders' and secured another M40 top spot. Excellent races from the younger VRACers Jonny Dufty, Edward Pettitt and Nathan WIlliams. Good progress for Tommy Armstrong who traded places with Gareth Williams a few times but prevailed in the end. A category win for Gareth nonetheless. Good runs from Clara Pettitt, Jayne Lomax and Richard Pettitt making it a good night for VRAC. 

PosNameTimeCatCat Pos
11Mike Harrington17.18M401
14Jonny Dufty17.28SM
15Edward Pettitt17.35MJ3
16Nathan Williams17.55MJ4
19Tommy Armstrong18.15SM
21Gareth Williams18.24M451
75Clara Pettitt21.08FJ1
111Jayne Lomax24.00F455
119Richard Pettitt24.15M5511

9 June: A very warm evening and another consistently good race from Mike Harrington. Progress forTommy Armstrong who avoided the need for a walking break this time  Also progress for Jayne Lomax who is 'racing herself fit'.  

PosNameTimeCatCat Pos
11Mike Harrington17.22MV403
27Tom Armstrong18.37SM
127Jayne Lomax24.45F454

29 May: Belated congratulations to Chris Swift who ran the Liverpool marathon just over a month after an excellent 3.21 at London. Liverpool has some tough hills in the first half and added to this it turned out to be a hot day with the temperature rising to 20c. Despite this Chris knocked over 2 minutes off his PB.  Great result. More to come we suspect.
Position: 107 out of 2531
Halfway: 1:33:36
Finish: 3:18:54 
8 June:  Congratulations to David Shepherd!  "A 4.4 mile fell race amongst the Clywydian hills produced my first ever age catagory win. Well I never thought it would take a fell race to do that".

13th overall in 44.11
91 runners
8 June: Paul Hudson continues his multi event competitions. Here's his latest update:
Disappointing start to the season so far but following PB's in javelin and discus at the Manchester Grand Prix, Trafford on Tuesday. Managed to top the week off with 2 bronze and 1 silver for javelin, shot put and high jump at the Joe Moran masters meeting, Sport City, Manchester. It was a well attended meeting (for a mid week event) particularly on the track with entrants from the lake district and (God's own county)Yorkshire. Tuesday's PB's bumped up the ranking to mid table on the power of 10 (once the masters weights are put in correctly) but there's a big gap to the next ranking. The lustre of gold, on what should be the silver medal, is due to there being a shortage of silver medals (don't know why) so those of us left to the end were given gold as a substitute - no complaints there - nice embellishment to the mantle piece!
 5 June:    Great weather for the Wincle Village Fete with Vale Royal members (Flo the dog) competing in the catch the sausage competition.  And a second group opting instead for the 5.1 mile fell race.   This tough event is a real cracker - and feels like uphill the whole route bar the steep finishing decent.
Tom led the gang home after a few falls including a plunge in the river.    James struggled with the > 3 stone he conceded to Tom on the hills!   John had a great run except for the two minute queue at the first stile.   Wincle brewery provided great refreshments.   Tom was heard to mutter "it beats road racing" yet again.   James wasn't so sure. 

Pos.NameCategoryCat posTime
28Tom AnnableMV50442:30
42James AinsworthMV401444:17
127John ClarkeMV60753:46

3 June: The dynamic racing duo Harrington and Armstrong know how to spend a Friday night. Racing. Feedback based on Mike's observations.
The course is 500m on Birchwood Business Park then paths and trails in the woods. Around every corner a group of Warrington's finest emanating clouds of heady mixtures. Good job there were no drug tests after the race! Mike was 10th in 17.33. Tommy had a little walk at 3k to draw in the night air and clocked 19.24 with a silly smile on his face at the finish. The dynamic duo concluded the evening proceeding with a stop at the BP garage for 28 Curly Wurlys and a PinK Floyd CD. 
29 May: Paul Hudson's report: The moorfield 5k Glossop with a field of just 16 made it the smallest race I've been in. Things didn't bode well from the start after seeing the course map indicating steep dangerous parts and then being surrounded by home town seasoned fell runners added to the apprehension. Very testing start and agonising finish resembled mow cop killer mile with 3k down hill in between. Happy to finish 16th out of 16 on this one with a time of 58.52 (bearing in mind the route and the last hill which I was told quite a few walked up - but I don't think we're allowed to do in Vale royal). Still, even at that pace and apart from the last up hill k taking ages - back on target of previous form from 2 years ago.
29 May: No ordinary half marathon this. Over 1500 feet of ascent make it a very stern challenge. Some familiar faces, past and present VRACers, took on the challenge. David 'Spud' Murphy has proved his ability in this type of terrain more than once at the Snowdonia Marathon. So it was again in this race with an excellent performance. Stanno wisely pulled out in the early stages when he felt a back twinge.

109David Murphy1.43.12
(76Dave Gough1.39.12)
(237Paul Clutterbuck1.57.35)
DNFIain StantonDNF

26 May: the first race in the 5 race series. There are two races at Dunham Massey run in opposite rotations. This race was the 'slower' of the two circuits.  Another excellent race from Mike Harrington who was so so close to breaking 17 mins at Christleton (17.00). Well done all. 

PosNameTimeCatCat Pos
13Mike Harrington17.28M401
30Tommy Armstrong18.28SM
148Richard Pettitt24.09M5517
162Jayne Lomax24.49F456

22 May: Gary Richardson tackled the scenic but very tough Snowdonia half Marathon. His endurance following the Barcelona Marathon stood him in good stead with a top 20 finishing position. 

PosNameGen PosCatCat PosGunChip

25 May:   Scott and Zack Bamber tackled this stunning route undulating up and around the trails close to Dovestones Reservoir. All terrain under foot, through, soft fields, short sections of Tarmac country lanes, woodland tracks, and hard packed surface around the reservoir. Scott reports:
 "Zack ends up coming third. I limp home 'some time later'. All in a day's work".
Zack Bamber 3rd 39.26

Scott Bamber 29th 46.49 (2nd V45)

Actual course length was 10.5k with 220 metres of elevation in the first 4.5k. 

22 May: Amelia Pettitt and Sarah Murphy were selected to run in the elite ladies race won by Tirunesh Dibaba. Both acquitting themselves with great credit.  Fast times in the masses for the other VRACers were always going to be difficult due to the congestion.  

SARAH MURPHY2200:38:12
James Griffiths24700:39:12
Rick Murray36700:40:22
Ryan Stringer171300:45:50
Emma-Louise Pyatt178000:45:58
Chris Griffiths566100:52:53
Eileen Griffiths??01:15:00

20 May: Wow! What a turnout with 36 VRACers men and women in many age groups.  Many brilliant performances and no doubt lots of PB's on the remeasured course.  VRAC at it's best.

Gun PosChip PosFirst nameLast nameFinish timeNet timeClub PosGenGen PosCategoryCat Pos
66MatthewSheen00:15:1500:15:141Male6Under 201
3534StuartDoyle00:16:0700:16:052Male35Over 452
6764MattRowlinson00:16:5000:16:444Male66Under 208
7777MichaelHarrington00:17:0400:17:005Male76Over 408
110108NathanWilliams00:17:3500:17:298Male107Under 2013
117117jamesainsworth00:17:4100:17:359Male113Over 4013
133131GarethWilliams00:17:5800:17:5110Male126Over 4516
139134Ianbrough00:18:0000:17:5313Male129Over 4517
160157JonathanDufty00:18:2700:18:161Male147Under 2016
161160GrahamMiles00:18:2800:18:2116Male148Over 4521
176174RichardMurray00:18:5100:18:4217Male163Over 4525
193191GaryWeedall00:19:1600:19:0519Male177Over 509
199201HelenWhitby00:19:1900:19:1120Female18Over 353
200199JamesEdwards00:19:2100:19:0921Male182Over 553
219220BrianDooley00:19:3900:19:3022Male197Over 4029
227229CarolynDooley00:19:5100:19:4223Female24Over 404
233231BobCorinaldi00:20:0100:19:4624Male206Over 4533
248248Johnclarke00:20:1800:20:0725Male217Over 605
258256GeoffFawkes00:20:3300:20:1826Male226Over 4534
262263HelenSmith00:20:3600:20:2627Female33Over 452
271271EuanDunbar00:20:4900:20:3628Male237Over 5019
277282ChloeDooley00:20:5700:20:5029Female36Under 202
283289LucyBurch00:21:0700:20:5930Female39Under 203
295295TonyArcher00:21:2100:21:1031Male252Over 609
305306PennyThorn00:21:4800:21:3532Female45Over 409
308306AlanWilcox00:21:5300:21:3533Male262Over 5026
363363RichardPettitt00:24:3400:24:1434Male291Over 5517

16 May:   What a fantastically enjoyable day for the above event. The weather was superb both for spectators and runners alike. Vale Royal managed to muster 8 full teams out of the 9 pre entered - unprecedented. Special thanks to Colin Rathbone and John Davies for overseeing the entry process, Helen Whitby, Stu Doyle & Colin Rathbone for pestering and co-ordinating teams, Carole Williams and John Davies for number distribution and all Vale Royal runners who responded to the call of team duty.  32 Vale Royalers ran, every one performing to their max.  Best team performance was the over 35 ladies team who came a creditable 9th out of 26 complete teams and best individual performance was Stu Doyle only 12 days into his new over 45 category who ran the 7th fastest leg of the day in that age group.
The ladies provided a feast of a picnic which was enjoyed by all.  Definitely the most memorable Vets Relays yet. Let's make 2017 even better.

The ladies provided a feast of a picnic which was enjoyed by all.  Definitely the most memorable Vets Relays yet. Let's make 2017 even better.

Over 35 Ladies - 9th out of 26 teams
Over 45 Ladies - team A  14th out of 23 teams
Over 45 Ladies - team B  17th out of 23 teams
Over 55 Ladies - incomplete team Pauline Davies our only runner.

Over 35 Men - 24th out of 38 teams
Over 45 Men - team A 18th out of 49 teams
Over 45 Men - team B 35th out of 49 teams
Over 45 Men - team C 42nd out of 49 teams
Over 55 Men - 37th team

For individual times and team composition see or link via BMAF website.

Over 35 Ladies - 9th out of 26 teams
Over 45 Ladies - team A  14th out of 23 teams
Over 45 Ladies - team B  17th out of 23 teams
Over 55 Ladies - incomplete team Pauline Davies our only runner.
Over 35 Men - 24th out of 38 teams
Over 45 Men - team A 18th out of 49 teams
Over 45 Men - team B 35th out of 49 teams
Over 45 Men - team C 42nd out of 49 teams
Over 55 Men - 37th team


9  Vale Royal Ac W35                   1:19:32
        Helen Whitby     (10) 19:08
        Andrea Hilldrup  (6) 18:51
        Sarah Gibbs      (10) 22:12
        Carolyn Dooley   (9) 19:21
14  Vale Royal Ac W45              'A'  1:05:51
        Helen Smith      (5) 19:52
        Debbie Moreton   (12) 23:17
        Lisa Meadows     (14) 22:42
17  Vale Royal Ac W45              'B'  1:12:54
        Jayne Lomax      (18) 23:42
        Carole Williams  (20) 26:13
        Debbie Broad     (17) 22:59
-   Vale Royal Ac W55             
       Pauline Davies   (11) 27:16
24  Vale Royal AC M35                   1:49:59
        Michael Harrington (31) 17:07
        Tom Armstrong    (30) 18:14
        Nick Haywood     (27) 18:28
        Ian Brough       (27) 18:20
        Brian Dooley     (28) 19:29
        Matthew Sweeting (24) 18:21
18  Vale Royal Ac M45              'A'  1:10:07
        Stuart Doyle     (6) 15:53
        David Shepherd   (17) 18:07
        Scott Bamber     (18) 18:27
        Gareth Williams  (18) 17:40
35  Vale Royal Ac M45              'B'  1:15:40
        Darren Cottier   (26) 17:37
        Ian Barker       (34) 19:16
        Tom Annable      (32) 18:24
        John Moulds      (35) 20:23
42 Vale Royal Ac M45            'C' 
        Mark Pilliner    (47) 20:31
        John Clarke      (45) 20:33
        Robert Tipping   (45) 21:54
        Dave Haines (JE) 19:31
37  Vale Royal Ac  M55                  1:10:34
        C Griffiths      (41) 22:52
        Richard Pettitt  (38) 24:06
        Colin Rathbone   A12:A41(37) 23:36

15 May: Euan Dunbar had a second pop at this race having done it last year.  Good conditions in Aberdeen but as always quite a stiff North East wind. Euan was 23 seconds short of a PB but a minute and 2 seconds quicker than last year.


Time - 41.54         Overall Position 209          MV 16        4689 Entrants

15 May: Fine conditions if a little breezy. Some good times posted by the VRACers. Chris Swift was pleased with an evenly paced race after his London Marathon exploits. A minute short of his PB but 3 minutes faster than his time at Chester last year. A high finishing place in the ladies race and a 2 second PB for Kate Titlow.  Ex VRAC member Kathy Stringer (now living in Bristol) made a welcome return for what we think was her half marathon debut. Big PB for Chris Weedall and solid race from Ray Tran.

 PosGunName ChipGender PosCatCat Pos 
33601:33;03Kathy Stringer01.31.2418SF7PB?

15 May: Not often we get the chance to report field exploits for the seniors.  Congrats to muscle bound Sarah Gibbs on bronze in the Senior Ladies Shot Put throwing 6.6m. She is now the VRAC club record holder!  Well done Sarah. 
10 May: This popular 5 race 5k series is run by Liverpool Harriers. Great midweek burn up and only £2. Mike Harrington made the trip, arriving late at 7.05 but still managing to register for the 7.15pm start. Nice work Mike! After a comprehensive warm up (not) he proceeded to run 17.39 finishing 9th. Not a recommended routine but it seemed to work OK for Mike! 
8 May: Paul Hudson took the VRAC colours to France on a very warm weekend. Here'e his report:
" 28 degrees and vin de table the previous night made this a hard run. Loads dropped out after 5k leaving the rest of us to compete for shade fromr the 1.00pm sun rather than speed. Did 10.4k (on my GPS) before surendering to the chaser car. I think most gave up at this point leaving the rest to head off to Le Harve. 4000 in this French race and about 110,000 world wide - we all set off at the same time. It's a 'Run as far as you can race'. Some one did 70k last year!"
7 May: The nice warm weather suited those of us taking it easy! It wasn't ideal if you were tackling a 34 mile ultra. Congratulations and respect to them all. Here's Sophie's report:
"The Sandstone Trail Challenge, 33.16 miles according to my faithful Garmin, has now been ticked off the bucket list. It was a great event, well organised checkpoints and overall,  and there were lovely, cheerful, friendly supporters popping up all over the place, just to make sure you were still in one piece. I'd fully recommend it. Alex Mason (ex-VR) showed how it was done, as always, in 5:28. Nick Haywood, in 6:14, says "the distance and heat worked together today, and after some consideration, I let them win". Sophie Rees, in 6:48, left two full body imprints on the trail, deciding to properly face-plant a couple of times, and very nearly took a drastic short cut vertically down the escarpment with about 1 mile to go, but thoroughly enjoyed doing something a bit different. John Clarke decided he wanted to take his time and "enjoy" the heat that bit more, so took the walking challenge....though I can't see him on the results. Maybe he's still out there.

Alex Mason 5:28 16th
Nick Haywood 6:14 33rd
Sophia Rees 6:48 49th (9th female)
John Clarke......don't know!
Officially there were 125 runners, 125 walkers. 176 finished."

3 May:  A new off-road start and finish point this year reduced the overall distance from the traditional 5.3 miles to a shade over 5 miles. Perfect sunny spring evening weather, 350 runners, and a lot of mud and puddles in sections out on the course. Only four VRACers this year. Zack Bamber went off in the leading pack, which whittled itself down to a group of four runners, and after the hill climb up from the Bollin at three miles Zack kicked on and dropped those around him coming home first in 27:17, a five mile PB and a (new) course record. Mike Harrington ran a strong race, coming home in the second pack and in ninth place in 29:37. Further back Scott Bamber and Tommy Armstrong exchanged positions a couple of times before Scott mercilessly attacked on the hill after the runway tunnel. Tommy’s lack of training during his recent honeymoon caught up with him on the hill. Scott finishing in 32:07, Tommy in 32:24. Zack was home so far ahead of his Dad he had time to shower, change and snap a selfie with one of his supporters :)

1st   Zack Bamber 27:17   PB

9th   Mike Harrington 29:37

30th Scott Bamber V45 32:07

37th Tommy Armstrong 32:24

1 May:  Great to see Helen Whitby returning to VRAC and in her first race back in blue and yellow. She, Mike Harrington and Paul Hudson flew the flag at Northern Vets track and field at Leigh. Here's H's report:

"Mike and I both did the 3k then 1500m. 3k - Mike ran 10:12, 3rd overall, silver in the M40. I did 11:30 1st overall, weather was abysmal! Nick Jones won the race overall. 1500m - Mike out dipped Bernie Jones on the line to finish 3rd overall and 2nd M40 in 4:56, I ran 5:31 and finished 3rd overall and 1st W35 in a race again won by Nick Jones. Paul was 2nd in his age in the discus and was still throwing the Jav as we left."
Footnote: Paul reports that he made up for the disappointments at the Europeans and he secured silver in the discus M60 category.
After 3 races in the series (Helsby half, Whitley 10k, Mid Cheshire 5K) the men are lying 1st overall and the women are lying 3rd overall.  Helped by a fantastic turnout at Mid Cheshire 5k where both men and women's teams came out on top. Next race in the series is Hollins Green 5k on Sunday 19 June. Lets keep it up!!

1Vale Royal4834765531512
2South Cheshire H5145214701505
3Macclesfield H4194943981311
4Wilmslow RC3144804941288
5Spectrum Striders3324453761153


1Wilmslow RC203218196617
2Macclesfield H196199204599
3Vale Royal142161234537
4South Cheshire H152182153487
5Helsby RC183116186485


28 April: The 3rd race in the Cheshire Grand Prix series.A terrific turn out from VRAC with 37 runners across a wide range of age categories.  Wet conditions for much of the day gave way to a drier slot for the start of the race although much of the field was pelted by painful hail stones in the latter stages. Ask poor Ann Collier for further details! Some excellent performances throughout. More details on our Grand Prix standing to follow.

 PosGun timeNameNameChip TimeGenderPosCategoryPos
915:46ChrisPerry15:46Male9Senior Male8
1416:02OliverWilliams16:02Male14Senior Male12
2416:34StuartDoyle16:34Male23Vet 406
2616:47GeorgeThompson16:47Male25Senior Male16
3917:17MattRowlinson17:16Male37Under 216
5217:42SarahGriffiths17:42Female3Senior Female2
5517:46NathanWilliams17:44Male52Under 218
6218:02JodieSpencer18:02Female5Senior Female4
6718:05JamesGriffiths18:03Male61Senior Male34
7218:12HollySmith18:11Female7Under 211
7418:18SarahMurphy18:18Male67Senior Male39
7618:22GarethWilliams18:21Male69Vet 454
7818:29TomArmstrong18:27Male71Senior Male41
9118:50SophieSmith18:47Female10Under 213
9619:01KateTitlow18:57Female12Senior Female6
10619:18GaryWeedall19:15Male94Vet 504
11119:22ChloeDooley19:20Female14Under 214
11719:32JamesEdwards19:26Male103Vet 554
12119:36ChrisWeedall19:31Male107Senior Male55
12219:36CraigSephton19:26Male108Vet 458
12319:37RichardMurray19:31Male109Vet 459
12519:37CarolynDooley19:35Female16Vet 403
14320:02BrianDooley19:58Male122Vet 4019
16320:33johnclarke20:26Male136Vet 606
16720:43TonyArcher20:37Male140Vet 607
17220:48LucyBurch20:47Female29Under 218
17320:50GeoffFawkes20:45Male144Vet 4512
18020:57LucySmith20:54Female31Under 219
21521:55stevecollier21:50Male177Vet 5511
22222:10HannahYoung21:53Female43Under 2110
22922:22LisaMeadows22:11Female47Vet 454
25323:18DebbieMoreton23:08Female56Vet 456
25823:27ChrisGriffiths23:21Male198Vet 5516
26023:35SueYoung23:17Female61Vet 457
28124:29JayneLomax24:18:00Female69Vet 459
32827.11AnnCollier26:46:00Female93Vet 556

 24 April: Despite pessimistic forecasts nice cool conditions for the runners.  Fantastic performances from each and every one of our runners. Ian Brough 'didn't believe I could do it' but broke the magic 3 hour barrier by 12 seconds. Top notch runs from Gemma Barnett, Helen Smith(both PB's) and marathon débutante Rick Murray. Also a big PB for recently joined Nikki Cavanagh. Brave run from John Todd following his injury strewn build up. Big PB for Sarah Gibbs and wonderful to see Carole WIlliams running well in the marathon Colin has graced so many times. Brilliant day.
Footnote: One that got away. Eagle eyes spotted another VRAC vest on TV. It was Chris Swift. Excellent run. Result inserted below. 

Place overallPlace genderPlace categoryNameCatHALFFINISH 
20561971252 Brough, Ian (GBR)45-4901:29:4302:59:48PB
3750308208 Barnett, Gemma Louise (GBR)18-3901:34:1003:13:40PB
400636238 Smith, Helen Claire (GBR)45-4901:35:4503:15:26PB
40613688607 Murray, Richard (ENG)45-4901:33:0803:15:45Debut
485743262099 Swift, Chris (GBR)18-3901:34:2703:21:04 
6054840169 Cavanagh, Nicola (GBR)40-4401:43:1603:27:58PB
70725939581 Todd, John Brough (GBR)50-5401:40:3003:32:36 
1021620931205 Gibbs, Sarah (GBR)18-3901:51:5303:46:48PB
22738644684 Williams, Carole (ENG)60-6402:12:0304:33:00 

24 April: Let's not forget there was another race was going on as well as the London Marathon! Decent turnout for the second race in the Cheshire Grand Prix series with 12 from VRAC in this challenging (undulating!) local race. Despite this Mike Harrington was just 11 seconds away from the PB he set at Crewe in March. Messrs Richardson, Barker and Corinaldi all completed recent marathons (Barelona and Manchester) and the training seems to have paid off with all posting PB's at Whitley. A superb PB for young Jonathan Dufty. Strong runs from all our other competitors especially our F45 ladies claiming 5th, 6th and 7th in the category. Well done all. 

PosNameGunChipCatCat Pos 
10Mike Harrington36.3836.38M404 
22Gary Richardson38.4738.46M407PB
37Jonathan Dufty40.1340.12M PB
39Ian Barker40.2040.19M505PB
63Bob Corinaldi42.0842.05M4021PB
81Euan Dunbar42.4742.44M5014 
89John Moulds43.2743.18M5015 
160Ray Tran47.0346.52M4045 
184Debbie Moreton47.5747.33F455 
187Lisa Meadows47.5847.37F456 
189Sarah Edgar48.0347.41F457 
249Jayne Lomax51.5551.34F4512 

16 April: VRAC fielded a team at the above event in Sutton Coldfield on Saturday and performed very well with an excellent top 10 finish. Amelia Pettitt set the tone with a strong 1st leg, coming home in 10th place, which was consolidated by Kate Spilsbury, Kate Titlow, Sarah Murphy and Jodie Spencer before Sarah Griffiths produced the club's fastest short leg of the day to come home 9th. Full results here.
9th overallVale Royal AC ‘A’ 2:21:44 
Amelia Pettitt (10) 31:10 
Kate Spilsbury (10) 19:19 
Kate Titlow (10) 19:57 
Sarah Murphy (13) 33:10 
Jodie Spencer (13) 19:19 
Sarah Griffiths (9) 18:49
13 April: It feels like summer is on the way when this race comes along.  Mike Harrington continued his good form and was a tantalising 2 seconds away from his 5 mile PB set 8 years ago! Great to see Graham Miles return to racing with his competitive juices intact as he narrowly edged Kate Titlow in a sprint finish. Kate significantly improved her PB. John Clarke and Chris Weedall also had a close battle (honours even maybe as John crossed the line first but Chris was 3 seconds quicker on chip time!). Good to see stalwarts Barry Chambers and Jayne Lomax completing the VRAC contingent.

 PosGun timeFirst nameLast nameChip TimeGender PosCategoryCat Pos 
2328:45:00MichaelHarrington28:43:0023Male Vet 406 
5631:04:00GrahamMiles31:01:0053Male Vet 4511 
5731:05:00KateTitlow31:02:004Senior Female2PB
10234:06:00JohnClarke34:00:0094Male Vet 605 
10334:07:00ChrisWeedall33:57:0095Senior Male41 
19139:17:00BarryChambers38:52:00164Male Vet 609 
22241:06:00JayneLomax40:55:0041Female Vet 4510 

10 April: On the back of a 17.22 Parkrun (Birkenhead) the previous day V40 Mike Harrington bravely joined a field of young fliers (mostly U23 and U20) for his first ever track race in the 1 mile event. Despite bringing up the rear this spurred Mike to a new PB in a worthy 5m 19s. The other half of the family. V35 Helen Whitby, joined 4 U17 ladies in the 3000m race finishing 3rd in a creditable 11m 24s in breezy conditions. 
10 April: Good to see Katie Brough back racing again after 6 months 'semi retirement' and bagging a good 3rd place in the female category. Just one place back Sarah Griffiths ran an excellent PB. Well done all. 

Pos Name Time Chip Time Category Gender Gender Pos  
35KATIE BROUGH00:36:3200:36:28FemaleFemale3 
43SARAH GRIFFITHS00:37:1400:37:11FemaleFemale4PB
146JONNY DUFTY00:42:0000:41:57V35Male128 
149EUAN DUNBAR00:42:1400:42:02V50Male131 
362CHRIS GRIFFITHS00:49:4800:49:24V55Male298 
1027EILEEN GRIFFITHS01:08:3001:06:12V55Female426 

10 April: A beautiful day for running and spectating if a little warm in the latter stages. Some great performances from VRAC. Stu Doyle suffering from an untimely cold made a late decision to compete. He was rewarded with big PB (previously 2.48 at Stratford 2010) and top 20 finish to take the club record from Gavin Tomlinson (2.34). Chris Jones ran an impressive sub 3 hour marathon debut. Nick Haywood 'went for it' and ran with the 3 hour pace group for the first half. And suffered in the second half. Bob Corinaldi has had a difficult build up with niggles but ran strongly with the 3.29 pace group for much of the race. 'The wheels came off at 19 miles' and he dropped back but still posted a 61 sec PB. Likewise Ian Barker has been suffering with shin problems in the build up and was in so much pain with 11 miles to go he stopped to ask the way to nearest tram station. Starting his walk to the station he felt better and started to run again to a PB! We are all aware of Sophie Rees' injury tribulations but we also know her determination. She had a tough time from 18 miles but came home with great credit.  Marathon debutants Hazel Reader and Alan Wilcox got solid races under their belts.
Footnote: Past member Amy Sheils (Archer) ran with pride in the VRAC vest for parental identification purposes and delivered a fantastic 6 minute PB running 3.41.44

PosNameTimeCatCat PosGen Pos10k21k30kFinish 
18Stuart DOYLE02:33:07V4021800:34:3700:40:0700:32:0900:46:12PB
313Chris JONES02:59:00SEN12330600:41:0400:46:1600:36:5600:54:42PB
1272Nick HAYWOOD03:22:34V35254119700:42:0600:48:4200:46:0001:05:45 
2051Bob CORINALDI03:33:59V45260187300:48:4100:54:3200:43:5001:06:55PB
2056Ian BARKER03:34:01V50146187800:45:2900:51:2400:48:0701:09:00PB
3629Sophia REES03:53:42SEN32953000:50:5800:58:0500:48:5001:15:48 
4809Hazel READER04:07:07SEN54691000:51:5301:00:0800:53:1401:21:51PB
7252Alan WILCOX04:44:17V50450534201:03:1101:14:1401:00:5601:25:55PB

3 April: Darren Cottier led the troops home at Wilmslow with an excellent PB. Rick Murray put his pre race nerves aside to smash through the 1.30 barrier with a big PB in his final outing before the London Marathon. Likewise Sarah Gibbs is in the final stages of her marathon training and ran a solid race and a decent time given an unplanned pause around the 8 mile mark which runners and spectators will remember for a while. Excellent (thought to be) half marathon debuts for Lisa Meadows and Sarah and Martin Main with Carole WIlliams also getting a final race under her belt before London. 

Name Gender PosCatCat Pos10kGunGun PosChipChip Pos 

29 Mar - 3 April: The indomitable Paul Hudson joined a squad of 750 GB athletes competing at the Palaindoor Stadium, Ancona, Italy. Paul says he went for the experience this time but hopes next year to compete for the 'middle' ground in his age group in Poland,  Here's Paul's description of the event.
"An impressive field of three and a half thousand masters athletes taking part in this 7 day event with the GB squad of 750 being by far the largest contingent followed by 550 from France.  The level of competition matched the size of the event with ex-Olympians and former senior international champs competing to produce some outstanding results in all ages (35 to 90) and categories.  Due to the sheer amount of entrants (a record year) indoor and outdoor running heats, jumps and throws continued non-stop from 8.00am up to 11.00pm most days.   With one day of competition still left (at time of writing) the GB squad, as in previous years, is expected to take the majority of medals.  The next European Masters out door takes place in Portugal later in this season with the World Masters in Australia also later this year." 
2 April: The dubious duo Mike Harrington and Tommy Armstrong returned to enjoy another of these free races held on the first Saturday of each month (donations to Prostate Cancer UK).  Mike ran well to finish 6th in 17.28 just 3 seconds outside his course PB. Tommy was off colour on his last visit here but put that behind him with a 16th place finish and a new course PB of 18.26. 
25 - 27 Mar:  Following her appearance for GB at the World University XC Championships earlier in March Amelia Pettitt made the trip to the IOM  to enjoy herself at "an end of season thing" with her friends. She took the women's title with a clean sweep of victories in the 3 events. In Good Friday's 10Km, Amelia recorded 35 min 26sec - the second fastest time ever by a woman over the current 10Km course. This was followed by emphatic wins in the Peel Hill fell race and in Sunday's 5Km. 
27 Mar: Some very strong winds didn't make for super fast times but nonetheless a good turnout from VRAC and some solid performances. 

PosNameCatGunChip Cat Pos
4Stu DoyleM4033.4633.461
14Mike HarringtonM4036.3036.273
38Tommy ArmstrongM3538.3638.338
59Sophie SmithU1740.0740.052
106Euan DunbarM5043.2143.1510
213Colin RathboneM7050.3250.183
242Richard PettittM5553.3653.2716
294Carole WilliamsL6059.5259.386

26 Mar:  David Shepherd  and Alan Wilcox  took a trip to Llangollen to take part in their second Fell race. Appox 10k of very tough terrain. Here’s David Shepherd’s report.  

“Following on from last week we set off nervously as the weather forecast was for heavy rain and gales. I had a great race, far tougher than last week. The ups were severe and the downs fast, rocky and steep. Each hill seemed more difficult than the last. I had a great tussle with 4 other runners in the second half of the race who were forcing me to run up hills that i really didn't want to. I had the last laugh as the final 1/2 mile was on a steep road where i was in my element and overtook them all. Alan had a tougher race as he quickly became isolated which made motivation to really bury yourself on the hills much harder. The weather really closed in for his final hill and the frozen rain and gales made visability really hard. Alan still managed a smile and a sprint finish at the end.” 

40th   David Shepherd      1:09.35   

88th   Alan Wilcox             1:32.09    

97     Finishers 

6 Mar: One we missed! Congrats to Sarah Griffiths on an excellent 3rd lady placing at this 5 miler.  At 6.13/mile pace that's pretty quick though not even a PB! (30.08 at Alsager 2015). 

14Sarah Griffiths31.053rd Lady

13 Mar: Here's the long awaited and keenly anticipated report from Gary Richardson and his debut marathon experience. Well done Gary!
" My first marathon and originally set the target at 3h:30m, however became a little more confident with the long runs and changed it to 3h:15m which was probably a little ambitious for first one. Had my plan in my head of averaging 7m 20s each mile when all of a sudden, the experienced head of James offered advice a couple of days before the race of running quicker than this to allow for fading towards the end. Fading….my plan was to push hard in the last 2-3 miles with whatever I had left!!! Oh how experience has now taught me a valuable lesson for the next marathon…. As you can imagine, I didn’t take this advice from James’ and from mile 23, James’ advice was ringing in my head as I slowed with each remaining mile and unable to maintain the average pace I had held for the first 23 miles. Then at mile 25, I really got taught a new lesson with my first experience of cramp. The weather was cold at first, then blue skies and very warm, hence the slightly sun burnt face after the race. A very well organised race with over 20,000 runners and excellent support all the way around. I will definitely entering again next year." 

2353Gary RichardsonM353.25.563.18.27

Before and after photos also tell the story!
20 Mar: Seems Euan Dunbar made the most of a relaxing weekend in Scotland like this: 
"I did a 20.50 in the Aberdeen Parkrun on Saturday (1st time under 21mins since I got injured last October), then did the Garioch half marathon on Sunday.

The half marathon started from the Garioch Sports Centre (15miles north of Aberdeen), and is a one lap course over some serious undulating terrain, on roads and surrounding countryside and is referred to locally as "The Beast". The temperature is, and was, also a factor - at the start of the race it was 11 degrees but this had dropped to 4 degrees by the time you got to the summits of the two peaks before returning once again to 11 degrees at the finish. Time 1hr 40mins 19secs - SVM 7th - not the course for 6' 4", 16st, 50 something!, however, when you check the results and look at the attached graph and then realise that only 2 runners broke 1hr 18mins it probably wasn't that bad. Whoever it was that told me that doing plenty of hills (Andy Carter) would get some of my strength back after injury was porkie pieing!"

20 Mar: Congratulations to Chris Jones for a superb PB (nearly 2 mins) at Stafford Half marathon. It took him just 1.20.59 to run the 13.1 miles. It then took him over 2 hours to get from Jn 14 to Jn 15 on the M6! Chris is in training for a spring marathon so this looks very promising.

301.20.59Chris JonesPB

20 Mar: Debbie Moreton was the lone VRACer at warm Poynton 10k. Debbie enjoyed "a great race but found it rather hot in the sun" and finished 3rd in her category. 

PosGunChipNameCatCat Pos
12450.3350.23Debbie MoretonL453

 19 Mar: David Shepherd and Alan Wilcox had a go at this one. 
David Shepherd   22nd in a time of 49:47sec
Alan Wilcox        50th in a time of 56:34sec
79 runners.
True to form David fell again but just avoided going wrong way this time. Alan enjoyed his fell run debut and was well pleased with his run and even managed to produce a sprint finish which was impressive after the hills that had gone before. 
We don't routinely report Park Run results due to the volume and frequency of the events. However, our local Delamere Park run has just celebrated it's 3rd anniversary.  There is an annual award based on points accumulated for various aspects of participation including runs themselves and volunteering. On the men's side Steve Collier won the award in the first year, Ian Brough in the second year and we can now celebrate a 3rd VRAC winner with Nathan WIlliams edging out Steve Collier. Nathan has had some great runs at Delamere spurred on by his ongoing rivalry with his Dad! Congratulations also to Lisa Meadows who was runner up in the ladies award.  
13 Mar: Three VRACers in marathon training used Knighton 20 (formerly Stafford 20) as part of their build up.  A three lapper on traffic free lanes it was judged a great improvement. Nick Haywood is showing great form in training and things look promising for Manchester in a few weeks.  Then, two great news stories. Sophie Rees has had a long and frustrating battle with injury. She has quietly gone about her rehab on her own and terrific that she completed her build up to Manchester in good form. Likewise Carole WIlliams, who was delighted to get a club entry for London, has had injury set backs that threatened her hopes. She too had a great and very reassuring run at Knighton.  Good luck for the rest of your training folks. 

PosTimeNameCatCat Pos
642.21.02Nick HaywoodSM 
1942.49.06Sophie ReesL355
3613.28.57Carole WilliamsL692

13 Mar: Euan Dunbar went along to this event which had options of 5k, 10, or 15k. Euan opted for the 15k. Here's his report:
"And the long slow road to recovery continues!! 573 competitors between the 5/10/15km runs.  The course was a good work out going up and down short steep hills with some parts like a cross country course, temperature an excellent 13 degrees. 137 entrants in the 15km – Position 4th (yes that’s right 4th) – 1hr 2mins 56secs (3mins 19secs quicker than last year)."
We believe there were some other VRACers out there but as yet no further information. 

 12 Mar. Warm recent conditions meant a dry course that definitely suited the faster runners although there were a few tough hills to break things up. The Cheshire ladies team contained a large contingent from Vale Royal and performed admirably with Sarah Murphy in the top 60, Kate Spilsbury well inside the top 100 and Kate Titlow, Kate Moulds and Helen Whitby all in the scoring 6. Helen Smith only just missed out on the scoring and declared the privilege of running for Cheshire 'one of the proudest days of my life'. Cheshire were 14th out of 25, a good position for one of the smaller counties. Stu Doyle was the only VRAC member of the male team. Stu had a ‘reasonable’ run in 87th although it was so congested that another 10 seconds quicker would have meant 15 places higher up! He wasn't helped by the firm conditions but still happy to be in the top 100 for the first time at the Inter-counties.


Footnote: Congratulations to Amelia Pettitt who finished 17th overall and 4th British runner in the World University Champs - just missed out on 3rd and only 3 to count and the team got silver! 
13 Mar: Another very high quality field for this race. Add perfect conditions and some super quick times were delivered with 28 runners going under 30 minutes.  Three VRAC younsters and one oldster joined the field. First back Matt Sheen with a PB followed my Ryan Moore close to his PB and close behind Oliver Williams also with a PB. Somewhat further back Tony Archer returned to road racing after prolonged injury problems. His first 10k for 2 years courtesy of a late entry due to James Ainsworth's injury and pleased with a pain free run and better than expected time. 

PosGunChipNameCatCat Pos 
7931.3531.34Matt SheenU204PB
12333.1233.07Ryan MooreU2324 
14033.3533.32Oliver WilliamsU2327PB
37641.5341.45Tony ArcherM602 

 6 Mar: Unfortunately, a few non starters due to injury this year so just 2 VRACers. Both well up the field in this scenic fell race that ascends to the top of the 'Cloud'.  Stephen 'JT' Thompson followed up a few decent XC races with a strong run placing 2nd M50. Nick Haywood continued his build towards the Manchester marathon running sensibly but strongly.

PosNameTimeCatCat Pos
49Stephen Thompson1.10.52M502
52Nick Haywood1.11.38SM 

18 Feb: Belated congratulations to Matt Sheen who ran this high quality race finishing 71st in a big PB of 15.05. 65 runners went under 15 minutes and the last placed runner came in 130th in 16.55!!
5 Mar: David Shepherd decided to return for a second stab at this tough head torch trail race in the Clwyd Forest. Last year he came close to winning it but for a navigational mishap. Billed as a "real, pure adventure at its best.The route is not easy, combining woodland, single track and a few hills to test your reserve and wits and being dark it just got tougher! You could get muddy and wet, you will need a light and have no fear!" Would he prevail this year? Here's his report:
"Much tougher than last year. No flat bits at any point. Total 1836 ft of climb. I was in second just behind the leader when he led us over a stile (please note....he, not me led us over the stile) and across a field in the wrong direction. more than 3 minutes were lost before we got back on route. I later passed him and finished 3rd only 2 minutes behind the winner. So maybe I'm destined never to win a race but I will keep trying."  
                                                            Pos: 3rd Overall   Time: 54.46 
28 Feb: 6 VRACers took advantage of great conditions and a fast course with all but one logging PB's.  David Shepherd did it the hard way running the first mile "far too quickly" but painfully holding on to take around a minute off his PB. Likewise Ric Murray and Helen Smith who seem to be thriving on marathon training took around 90 seconds and 5 seconds respectively off their PB's with Ric coming tantalisingly close to breaking 40 minutes and Helen bagging 3rd lady overall. Not to be out done Debbie Moreton and Lisa Meadows logged PB's too. Tommy Armstrong also enjoyed a nice day out :o)

PosNameChipGunCatCat Pos 
23David Shepherd37.5237.55M407PB
42Ric Murray40.0640.10M4014PB
43Tommy Armstrong40.1440.18SM  
54Helen Smith40.5741.01F403rd LadyPB
174Debbie Moreton47.0947.29F408PB
180Lisa Meadows47.2247.41F409PB

28 Feb: A couple of VRACers at opposing ends of the age grades!  The course is not a 'quicky' involving a few hills.  Young Jonny Dufty (U15) ran an excellent PB. Not so young Euan Dunbar ran well following a brisk Park Run the previous day to finish 2nd in his category.

PosNameChipGunCatCat Pos 
20John Dufty41.2341.30SM (U15) PB
35Euan Dunbar43.3743.45M502 

 27 Feb: Another excellent day with good turnouts and impressive performances. The course was undulating with patches of mud interspersed with some fast conditions.

The senior ladies again excelled with a bronze medal ( would have been the club's first ever team medal at the National except the U15 boys won gold earlier in the day!). We got all 4 counters home in the top 100 thanks to superb performances from Amelia Pettitt (13th), Sarah Murphy (35th), Kate Spilsbury (79th) and Kate Titlow (97th). Meanwhile not far behind were Kate Moulds in 112th and Sarah Griffiths (150th) whilst Carolyn Dooley (323rd), Kerry Riley in 470th and Jayne Lomax in 528th were also well up the field of 740 finishers ensuring we 2 completed strong and full teams.



Although not in medal contention the senior men also produced their best team performance in living memory with their scoring 6 finishing 33rd out of 123 complete teams made up from the usual large field (1730 finishers). There were close battles between Stu Doyle (105th) and Chris Perry (125th) and between James Griffiths (663rd) and Gareth Williams (668th) with Ryan Moore in 339th sandwiched between and Tom Heaword completing the 6 scorers well inside the top half in 768th. Next home was Steve Caldwell (902nd) making a very welcome return to racing after a 6 month absence due to injury. With Bryan Dooley (1274th) and John Clarke (1433rd) also running really strongly we achieved an excellent total of 9 finishers.

PS: Congratulation to the U15 boys winning VRAC's first ever team Gold at the Nationals. Brilliant. 

22 Feb: Mike Harrington made his way North to the Central Lancs 5k which incorporated the Northern Vets Championships. The course and very windy conditions were not conducive to fast times but Mike put in another good performance picking up silver in the Northern Vets Championships (behind Ex VRAC legend Nick Jones).  Nice to see Mike's better half was indeed better as VRAC friend Helen Whitby confirmed her return to form picking up Northern Vets Gold!  

PosNameGunChipCatCat PosN Vet Champs
22Mike Harrington18.2818.27M4032
52Helen Whitby20.1920.17F3521

14 Feb: Racing over romance for 13 VRACers. Decent conditions if a cold stiff breeze to contend with in places. Some excellent performances. A strong run from Stu Doyle going sub 1.13 again. Ian Brough was delighted with a 2 minute improvement on Helsby and a 5 second PB. Perhaps the run of the day came from Ian Barker. Ian has been showing huge progress in training sessions and converted this into a fantastic sub 1.25 time taking nearly 5 minutes off his recent PB at Helsby. Solid run from Gemma Barnett to finish well up in the ladies field. Also special mention for Chris Swift, a relatively new member and breaking the 1.30 barrier for the first time with a 90 second PB.  Great to see Euan Dunbar, John Todd, Anthony Atkinson, Sophie Rees and Jo Edwards completing the race after illness/injury challenges. Well done everyone and also to Mike Harrington and his team for organising the race. Full results here.

 PosGun timeFirst nameLast nameChip TimeCategoryCat Pos 
701:12:37StuartDoyle01:12:36Vet 402 
8801:23:29IanBrough01:23:20Vet 4514PB
10401:24:51IanBarker01:24:45Vet 504PB
16701:28:33GemmaBarnett01:28:27SF47th Lady
22401:32:40DavidHaines01:32:31Vet 4536 
26901:36:48EuanDunbar01:36:36Vet 5025 
29801:38:50JohnTodd01:38:32Vet 5029 
31801:40:31AnthonyAtkinson01:39:51Vet 4550 
41401.46.00Sophie Rees01.45.30F3518 
48801:49:46JoEdwards01:49:06Vet 508 

13 Feb: Extremely wet conditions led to some course changes. Nonetheless, mud and surface water/slurry were much in evidence for the runners. Carole WIlliams was the only senior lady and given her intention to run Wrexham half the following day she started the race but decided to call it day with a sore hip. Just 5 senior men. Another excellent run from the Williams father/son duo with Nathan coming out on top this time. Tony Archer has been struggling to overcome injury but was delighted with a strong final lap to overhaul his rival from Altrincham for a M60 series 3rd place. John Clarke was off colour the previous night so was glad to complete the series. Richard Pettitt completing the scoring for VRAC.

PosName Time CatCat pos
95Nathan Williams41.26U208
102Gareth Williams41.39M4512
158Tony Archer44.30M603
248John Clarke50.19M6010
288Richard Pettit55.27M5522
24th/31Vets Team 4 to count  
 Series Results: Best 4 races from possible 5
 Carole WilliamsL605th 
 Gareth WilliamsM4510th 
 Tony ArcherM603rd 
 John ClarkeM607th 

The Senior Ladies team has been announced. Fair to say it's dominated by VRAC ladies (in red below)!  Well done ladies you have done VRAC and yourselves proud.

Sarah Murphy  1st 2 reserves:
Carol Parsons  Helen Whitby
Kate Moulds  Helen Smith
Kate Titlow   
Sarah Roberts   
Katie Brough (subject to confirmation) 
Tessa McCormick   
Amelia Pettitt   
Kate Spilsbury   

7 Feb: Blustery winds made for tough racing conditions at Alsager. Unusually, just 3 VRACers at the race this year. James Ainsworth having a very decent sub 30 minute race although pointing out he was a little slower than last year. Also great to see Anthony Atkinson and Jo Edwards racing again after a some illness and injury problems hurdles. More photos courtesy of Rob Brown here.

PosNameGunChipCatCat Pos
66James Ainsworth29.3329.31M407
273Anthony Atkinson35.5235.49M4529
461Jo Edwards40.0240.00F507

6 Feb: In the UK 1 in 8 men will get prostate cancer at some stage in their lives. Knowsley Harriers organise a free to enter 5k on the first Saturday of each month to raise awareness and raise a little money through donations. Mike Harrington and Tommy Armstrong went along to try it out with very positive feedback. A fast, flat traffic free course on tarmac. Mike Harrington continued his fine form coming in 4th in 17.25. A little off colour Tommy Armstrong came in 17th in 19.10. More details of the race here if anyone fancies trying one.
30 Jan: A combination of hail, sleet, rain, wind, mud and extreme hills made this one of the toughest challenges for any runner. 'Brutal; Beast; Horrendous' were a few of the printable descriptions. Captain Stu Doyle commented "I have never seen so many senior men drop out or get reduced to walking in a XC race". The oddly names 'teaspoon' hill (see profile above) which the men tackled 4 times was a very steep ascent and a frighteningly steep and slippery descent. Undaunted, VRAC runners showed huge determination, courage and ability at all age levels. On the senior side the ladies excelled with a Silver team placing and we believe were the first Cheshire senior ladies team ever to medal at the Northerns. 
A strong top 10 performance by Amelia Pettitt, very ably supported by the Sarah Murphy and Kate Spilsbury, both in the top 20. Kate Titlow revelled in the tough conditions completing the scoring in 61st place with Helen Smith 8 seconds and 3 places further back. Also performing really well in the conditions were Carolyn Dooley and Carole Williams. 
The men fielded 12 runners - an excellent turnout for this Championships. The conditions suited Stu Doyle who had an excellent race with Ollie Williams making a strong debut in the senior Northern champs. Mike Harrington again showed his ability as a cross country runner backing up his superb Cheshire XC performance. Next a resurgent Gareth Williams followed by Scott Bamber narrowly edging Gary Weedall to complete the team scoring. Next home was Mark Pilliner whilst Rick Murray continued his improvement. Euan Dunbar and Simon Bridge fought out a close battle followed by Alan Wilcox, also debuting for the club in these champs.  The finishers were completed by a valiant Richard Pettitt. Full results here.
Pos Name Time Pos Name Time
10Amelia Pettitt31.40 44Stu Doyle47.49
13Sarah Murphy32.22 103Oliver Williams50.52
17Kate Spilsbury32.36 211Mike Harrington55.31
61Kate Titlow36.26 336Gareth Williams1.00.37
64Helen Smith36.34 407Scott Bamber1.03.07
174Carolyn Dooley41.55 429Gary Weedall1.03.59
336Carole Williams55.13 454Mark Pilliner1.05.03
    491Richard Murray1.06.56
358Finishers  578Euan Dunbar1.11.06
    579Simo Bridge1.11.11
2nd/40Team (4 to count)  649Alan Wilcox1.18.23
    711Richard Pettitt1.35.02
    23/52Team (6 to count) 
23 Jan: Colin and Carole made their way to Wales this weekend. Here's their report. "With decent weather to assist, Colin and Carole were the VR reps in the above great event. A record turnout ( 440 finishers ) and a mainly favourable wind, both enjoyed decent runs, Carole kicking off her London Marathon training ( due to the unfortunate withdrawal of Sarah Walker Carole, as club place reserve, filled the slot.)
Colin Rathbone. 182nd. 49.46. 1st O70
Carole Williams. 277th. 56.02. 3rd O60
This is a brilliant race and is surprising that so few Vale Royalers give it a go. It starts at Llandudno Pier finishing at Colwyn Bay Pier.
The Nick Beer 10k which also starts at Llandudno Pier but runs the opposite way around the Great Orme finishing back on the prom takes place Sunday 7th Feb at noon is also a great race which has been won by two previous Vale Royalers....Dan Rathbone and Nick Jones". 
23 Jan: Intrepid Debbie Moreton was the lone VRACer amongst a sell out field of 325 runners. The head torch run was just under 7k involving "...hills, wind, mud and horizontal rain and a glow in the dark medal". Debbie assures she 'loved it". She did herself proud finishing in 39.45 to place 56th overall, 16th lady and and 5th F40. Full results here.
After the first race of the series. the Four Villages Half Marathon, the men are lying 2nd and the ladies 6th. On an individual basis Stu Doyle is in first place in the men's category with Gemma Barnett and Helen Smith 5th and 8th respectively in the ladies category.  Next two GP races are Whitley 10k 24 April and mid-Cheshire 5k (Kingsley) 28 April. Get your entries in so we can have a good turnout and hopefully maintain or enhance our standing.  More details here
17 Jan: Following last years cancellation due to icy conditions there was some nervous athletes who awoke to a covering of snow. Thankfully, the race went ahead with relatively good road conditions. A cold day though with some of the more fragile VRACers resorting to under vests and in some cases even gloves and hats!! Yes I know. Some truly excellent performances with no less than 8 PB's throughout the 15 VRAC runners. Too many individual performances to mention them all but the results below tell the story. Of particular note Gary Richardson and Ian Barker went sub 1.30 for the first time (Ian Barkers exact previous PB not known but it was over 90 min). Helen Smith's PB was tantalisingly close to the sub 1.30 mark (2 seconds short) but she was delighted to win her category. Ric Murray turned his recent training performance into a huge 11+ min PB and what about Sarah Gibbs?  Just taking 15 min 30 secs off her previous best!  For some this was part of their spring marathon build up so things are looking good. Well done all. 

PosGunForenameSurnameGenPosCatCatPosChipChip PosPB
5401:22:45ChrisJones54MSEN3301:22:40533m 9s
9701:25:39NickHaywood94MSEN5001:25:14952m 2s
11701:27:00GaryRichardson113M402501:26:341134m 43s
17701:29:46Ian Barker169M501701:29:271781m + ?
20101:30:40RichardMurray189M452901:30:1320111m 36s
58501:44:56SarahGibbs79F351201:44:3063315m 30s

16 Jan: Tricky conditions for VRACers at Heaton Park. Expecting loads of mud they were faced with parts of the course frozen hard and parts (in the woods) very muddy. Some chose spikes. Some trail shoes. Jury still out. No doubt depleted by Helsby Half the following day a lower turnout than usual. Just Carole Williams in the ladies race and 7 men in their race. Great to see Barry Chambers racing... having done Delamere Park Run in the morning. The Bamber and WIlliams father/son duos were present again with Zack first home for VRAC. Nathan Williams was no doubt pleased to gain evening bragging rights with a good victory over his Dad!  One more race to come at Wythenshawe to complete the series.

PosNameCatCat PosTime
191Carole WilliamsF60856.26
PosNameCatCat PosTime
79Zack BamberSM 39.43
89Nathan WilliamsU20540.13
97Gareth WilliamsM451240.33
169Scott BamberM452343.50
210Tony ArcherM60546.31
269John ClarkeM60949.56
303Barry ChambersM601254.27
23rd/41Senior Team (6 count)   
19th/35Vets Team (4 count)   

(Lots more photos of all races on main VRAC website here)
9 Jan: A terrific day for VRAC. Blue and yellow shirts abounding and excelling in all races throughout the day. For the seniors we saw 11 ladies tackling the muddy fields at Reaseheath including the infamous clawing mud of the 'cabbage patch'. Sarah Murphy ran superbly to win the race outright and of course her age category. Category wins also for Kate Moulds and Helen Smith. VRAC ladies taking 1st, 2nd and 11th team places and 1st and 8th vets teams. Brilliant ladies. 

Pos.NameCategoryMV Pos.Cat posTime
1Sarah MurphyV351125:16
3Kate MouldsL 126:44
6Kate TitlowL 227:29
9Helen SmithV456127:58
12Gemma BarnettL 328:18
25Penny ThornV4016630:12
31Carolyn DooleyV4020931:34
50Debbie MoretonV4537834:08
53Sarah GibbsV35401234:26
58Jayne Lomax V45441135:10
72Carole WilliamsV6053242:13
 1st TeamVRAC 'A'10 points (1,3,6)  
 2nd TeamVRAC 'B'46 points (9,12,25)  
 3rd TeamTattenhall47 points (11,16,20)  
 11th TeamVRAC 'C'134 points  
 1st Vet TeamVRAC 'A'23 points (1,6,16)  
 2nd Vet TeamWilmslow31 points (3,13,15)  
 3rd Vet TeamCongleton55 points (14,17,24)  
 8th Vet TeamVRAC 'B'97 points  

 On the mens side we saw a swarm of 26 VRACers on the start line. Category wins for Stu Doyle and Colin Rathbone. Top 10 finishes for Chris Perry, Stu Doyle and Zack Bamber. A sensational run from Mike Harrington... and many more brilliant individual battles and performances. 4 complete teams in both the overall and vets categories with 2nd place in both.  Fantastic VRAC day. Well done everyone and thanks to the organisers. 

Pos.NameCategoryMV Pos.Cat posTime
4Chris PerryM 432:59
7Stuart DoyleV401133:25
10Zack BamberM 834:48
15Mike HarringtonV405436:42
36Gareth WilliamsV4516738:47
38Chris JonesM 2139:02
40James AinsworthV4018839:11
55Matt SweetingV40301440:19
56Tom HeawordM 2640:29
63Tom ArmstrongM 2941:15
69Stephen ThompsonV5038541:40
71James GriffithsM 3241:45
77Ian BroughV45421742:04
81James EdwardsV5545242:25
86Tony ArcherV6048342:44
90Rick MurrayV45512143:05
106Euan DunbarV50631244:53
113Mark PillinerV45692445:24
115Brian DooleyV40712045:43
116Geoff FawkesV45722545:54
138John ClarkeV6090749:45
142Simon BridgeV50942550:50
144Steve CollierV55961151:29
147Chris GriffithsV55991253:26
150Colin RathboneV70101154:02
155Richard PettittV551061457:18
 1st TeamSale83 points (2,5,6,8,19,43)  
 2nd TeamVRAC 'A'110 points (4,7,10,15,36,38)  
 3rd TeamWilmslow132 points (9,18,20,26,27,32)  
 7th TeamVRAC 'B'354 points  
 13th TeamVRAC 'C'553 points  
 17th TeamVRAC 'D'802 points  
 1st Vet TeamWilmslow31 points (2,6,11,12)  
 2nd Vet TeamVRAC 'A'40 points (1,5,16,18)  
 3rd Vet TeamS Cheshire59 points (4,10,22,23)  
 8th Vet TeamVRAC 'B'155 points  
 13th Vet TeamVRAC 'C'231 points  
 17th Vet TeamVRAC 'D'327 points

Vale Royal AC Website Link

Recent Photos

Message Board

Quick Links

Many thanks to Bryan Dale for allowing us to use his photos of runners in action throughout the site. Be sure to visit his racephotos website for more pictures!

Injured?  See Colin Rathbone for a massage, Paul Hudson for phyiotherapy.   There are a number of other good physios - several of us have had very successful treatment at Athlete Matters in Worsley:

Vale Royal AC Main Site

Vale Royal AC on Facebook

Cheshire Athletics

John Schofield Race Results

Sportsoft Race Results

Joe Lee Race Results

Fell Runners Association

Athletics Data - Athlete Search

British Masters Athletics

Northern Vets

Runners World