The Essar Four Villages half marathon looks set to attract a record crowd this Sunday (20 January) with 2250 runners registered. Now in its 32nd year, the race is seen as the perfect seasonal opener for runners before looking ahead to a spring time half or full marathon.
Organised by Helsby Running Club, the scenic course follows a rural countryside route, passing through the Cheshire villages of Dunham on the Hill, Mouldsworth, Manley and Helsby. With a total climb of 170m, the half marathon is regarded as fairly undulating.
Last year's event saw runners face tough weather conditions with strong and blustery winds throughout. Tipton Harriers recorded a 1-2 with Martin Williams leading home the field in 1:08:32, 89 seconds ahead of team-mate Ben Gamble (1:10:01). Top in the female field was Gemma Connolly, with the St Helens Sutton runner finishing in 1:21:05.
Organiser Steve Riley said that he is expecting a competitive day of running: "All of our previous prizewinners from 2012 are again making the return journey, so strong performances are expected from seniors right up to the V75 class. The event draws an incredibly loyal and friendly crowd, with northwest club runners and a healthy cohort of civilians all participating."
Results of the Essar Four Villages half marathon will be available at northernrunningguide.com.