RUNNING: MORE than 1,500 runners pounded the quiet country lanes and roads around Helsby for one of the UK's most popular races.
There were 1,655 finishers in the Shell Four Villages Half Marathon, which started and finished at Helsby Sports and Social Club on Sunday.
The scenic 13.1-mile course also passed through Dunham on the Hill, Mouldsworth and Manley.
Andy Norman, of Altrincham and District AC, was the first home in one hour, five minutes and 58 seconds.
The first female finisher was Tipton AC's Debbie Mason, who finished eighth overall in 1.14:31.
The Czech Republic's Anna Pichrtova defended her title, but, suffering from injury, could only manage 1.23:12 as the seventh lady. Of the local athletes taking part, Adair Broughton was first home for hosts Helsby Running Club in 1.35:09 and 413th position.
It was his first half-marathon. Mike Hallsworth set a new personal-best time of 1.35:43 in 438th place. Mandy Blenkinsop was Helsby's first lady, and winner of the local lady prize, in 1.39:36 and 578th.
Other Helsby finishers were Carol Shaw (601st in 1.40:03), Geoff Shaw (612th in 1.40:53), Mick Charman (672th in 1.42:35), Paul Broughey (724th in 1.43:57), Steph Charman (892nd in 1.47:33), Phil Jones (938th in 1.48:52), Sarah Gooda (1,000th in 1.50:17), Holly Taylor (1,147th in 1.54:22), Jon Muir (1,256th in 1.57:53pb), Val Ball (1,319th in 1.59:54), Lucinda Strudwick (1,325th in 1.59:58), Bev Roberts (1,372nd in 2.02:18), Sheila Ryder (1,469th in 2.07:50), Sue Cushing (1,581st in 2.20:00), Mike Collins (1,630th in 2.29:34), Sarah Savage (1,638th in 2.34:28), Susan Bell (1,651st in 2.48:51), Kevin Bell (1,652nd in 2.48:52), Des Hyde (1,656th in 2.50:26).
Helsby Sports and Social Club chairman, David Healing, was the fourth 'veteran 70' finisher in 2.05:06 and 1422nd place overall.
Paul Frodsham was the first of 14 West Cheshire AC members to cross the finish line.
He posted 1.19:40 in 46th position, ahead of Andrew Clague (48th in 1.19:44), Paul Price (78th in 1.22:11), Richard Batterham (225th in 1.28:35), Mike Perchard (299th in 1.31:36), and Tony Kennedy (399th in 1.34:44).
Brian Beattie completed the course in a time of 1.36:25 for 463rd spot, ahead of Andrew Hetherington (534th in 1.38:16), Robert Hill (550th in 1.38:49), Lisa Davies (769th in 1.45:02), Clive Donavon (937th in 1.48:52), Peter Povey (1062nd in 1.51:48), Charles Thackray (1314th in 1.59:36), and Mike Lamb (1460th in 2.07:01).
As for Chester Triathlon Club, Richard Webster registered an impressive time of 1.26:55.
Hard on his heels were club-mates Gerard Wilkinson (1.25:53), Simon Greenwood (1.27:27), Nick Rose (1.27:41), Nick Campbell (1.29:42), Chris Morgan (1.29:59), Keith Robbins (1.32:47), Stephen Spall (1.33:47), Ken Davenport (1.34:25), Phil McDonald (1.35:20), Magnus Walker (1.35:37), Peter Timson (1.35:40), Ian Weaver (1.36:36), Dave Taylor (1.36:53) and Ian Gough (1.39:36).
Janet Frost was the first Chester Tri lady over the line in 1.40:39 while in her wake were Bill Neave (1.40:47), Steve Eastwood (1.40:50), Dominique Miller (1.43:30), Linda Worrall (1.44:04), Janet Taylor (1.44:23), Nick Minion (1.44:44), Alyn Evans (1.45:00), Karl Prothero (1.45:19), Charlotte Riddick (1.46:00), Dave Whieldon (1.48:15), Jeff Nagle (1.48:35), Neil Davies (1.49:26), Simon McAllister (1.50:09), Paul Simpson (1.51:17), Christine Salvage (1.51:52), Julie Shalloe (1.53:17), Sue Haslam (1.54:35), Sarah Davis (2.01:03), Sian Williams (2.10:45), Janet Morgan (2.10:46), Claire Beswick (2.14:01), Jenny Edwards (2.14:02), Elizabeth Scott (2.14:03), Susie Woods (2.14:03), Linda Green (2.14:04), Sian Vaughan-Jones (2.14:06) and Derek Spurdele (2.16:43). Twenty-one members of Tattenhall Runners took part, with six setting personal-best times.
First home was Andrew Gooda, who was 118th in 1.23:41. Mark Smith smashed his pb by two minutes as he finished 187th in 1.27:00.
The club's other finishers were Justin Realff (199th in 1.27:28), Justin Wyke (246th in 1.29:27), Andy Blair (no position, 1.29:30), Matt Treby (392nd in 1.33:55), Darren Rogers (402nd in 1.33:37), Dave Ratcliffe (418th in 1.34:53), Chris Lamb (451st in 1.35:05), Dave Sykes (473rd in 1.36:13pb), Dave Oldfield (580th in 1.38:09), Helen Lester (no position, 1.42:00), Mark Williams (777th, 1.44:30), Dave Carnelley (898th in 1.45:57pb), Grace Hart (982nd in 1.47:49), Geoff Cornfield (1,148th in 1.52:52), Karen Jones and Peter Maddock (1,201st and 1,202nd respectively, both in 1.54:48), Catherine Jones (1,330th in 1.58:09pb), Tessa Swaine (1,537th in 2.12:35) and Lesley Clague (1,553rd in 2.13:36). nHelsby RC want to thank all the volunteers who made the race possible, the event's sponsors and local residents. Much of the proceeds will go to local charities.