The new Borders League season opened on a 10k certified course in the royal town of Caernarfon. The race is arguably the most picturesque of all the venues with the run starting alongside the Traeth Gwyllt and travelling down the Aber Foreshore Road to views of the Snowdonia Mountain Range and ultimately returning to the castle. Both teams performed well on the day with men finishing first and the ladies third. 3 runners achieved top ten finishes Joe Boden (6th), Greg Jones (9th) and Sallie Holt (9th). Other counters for the men were Rob Pearse (21st), John Armstrong (23rd), Connor McArdle (27th), Tony Barbat (40th), Mike Green (46th), Colin Palmer (48th), Jack Poland (64th) and debutant Matt Goodwin (66th) and for the ladies Zoe Pearse (15th), Helen Anne Stansfield (22nd) and Mary Rees (29th).
Race 2 - Chester - 06/11/2016
Records fell on the occasion of the second Borders League race of the season at the Cheshire County Sports Club. The total number of runners reached a new high of 431 and Wallasey AC set a record for both the club and the league with 65 representatives. The wind made the temperature seem cooler that the six degrees encountered for the start of the race. The course was a certified 5 miles and took place on the same route as the Chester Spring 5. Joe Boden (7th) and Sallie Holt (9th) ran well for their top ten finishes. The men finished second on the day ann slipped to second overall. Other counters for the men where Greg Jones (13th), Rob Pearse (29th), Neil Bullock (32nd), John Armstrong (35th), Tony Barbat (43rd), Connor McArdle (51st), Bryan Stevenson (52nd), Mike Green (53rd) and Colin Palmer (62nd). The ladies finished third on the day and remain in second place overall, also counting for the ladies were Helen-Anne Stanfield (18th), Zoe Pearse (26th) and Jo Irvin (28th).
Race 3 - Birkenhead Park - 04/12/2016
Wallasey A.C. returned from Birkenhead Park with a fine double after winning both the men's and ladies' races. The event was selected as the memorial race for Les Pullin who passed away earlier this year and was a loyal and long standing member of the club and with the help of his wife Gill was instrumental in building the camaraderie at Borders League events with their legendary post-race buffets. A new trophy was commissioned, the Les Pullin Memorial Trophy, and was contested for the first time in this race and is based on age graded performance in a road running event and will be contested each year in a selected Borders League race. The club once again equalled their record attendance of 65 runners, there were also a great many supporters including members of Les's family who gave great encouragement to the team members. Claire Walton superbly led the ladies home with a win in the women's race and a winning margin of 25 seconds, other counters were Sallie Holt (12th), Helen Anne Stansfield (17th) and Mary Rees (28th). Joe Boden had another strong run coming home 9th and was supported by Pete Bird (20th), Greg Jones (21st), Connor McArdle (28th), Neil Bullock (29th), Rob Pearse (30th), Bryan Stevenson (36th), Tony Barbat (38th), John Armstrong (41st) and Mike Green (45th). This was an outstanding performance by everyone.
Race 4 - Connah's Quay - 22/01/2017
With temperatures barely above freezing and a 300 foot hill climb at mile 2, Wallasey runners faced a stiff challenge at the fourth Borders League fixture in Connah's Quay. Joe Boden was unfazed by the challenge and came home in an excellent 7th place. Other counters for the men were Greg Jones (31st), Peter Bird (37th), Connor McArdle (39th), Karl Pickstock (40th), Rob Pearse (45th), Matt Goodwin (49th), John Armstrong (53rd), Mike Green (57th), John Thelwell (66th) and Ray Clark (70th). This helped the team finish second on the day but they relinquished the overall lead to Buckley A.C. Helen Anne Stansfield led the ladies home with a great top ten finish, she was assisted by Sallie Holt (15th), Jess Smith (22nd) and Kate Ryan (27th). The top of the ladies' division was very close with eight points separating the first 3 teams, Wallasey finishing third.
Race 5 - Manley Mere - 05/03/2017
The fifth Borders League fixture of the season took place at Manley Mere using parts of the Helsby Half Marathon course. The weather before the race was cold with rain and sleet, fortunately the weather improved for the start of the race. The runners encountered a lot of surface water on the course and nearly 300 feet of ascent. The men had an excellent race winning with their second lowest Borders League score ever of 210, this allowed them to overhaul Buckley at the top of division one. Joe Boden showed the way with a superb third place, not far behind him were Phil Walton (10th), Pete Bird (11th) and Rob Pearse (13th). Other counters were Greg Jones (23rd), Neil Bullock (24th), Matt Goodwin (25th), Karl Pickstock (29th), Connor McArdle (31st) and Rich Webster (41st). The ladies also had a good day finishing third and now lie in second place overall. Ladies counters were Helen Anne Stansfield (12th), Jo Irvin (20th), Vicky Kehoe (23rd) and Elaine Opara (27th). The men's team also won the veteran's race and lie in second overall.
Race 6 - New Brighton - 09/04/2017
The Borders League race at New Brighton was blessed with sunshine and warm temperatures, the 5.1-mile course set off along the embankment for two miles, before turning at the Gun Site, skirting Wallasey Golf Club and returning to the embankment for the last mile or so. The men won the race and consolidated their lead at the top of the table, they now head Buckley by 110 points. Joe Boden, once again, led the 32 men home finishing in 6th place, hot on his heels was Rob Pearse in 11th. Other counters were Greg Jones (20th), Neil Bullock (27th), Bryan Stevenson (31st), John Armstrong (32nd), Connor McArdle (43rd), Tony Barbat (45th), Ray Clark (49th) and Colin Palmer (52nd). The ladies also performed well on the day picking up second place, counting runners were Claire Walton with an excellent 4th, Jo Irvin (14th), Vicky Kehoe (20th) and Helen Anne Stansfield (22nd). Mary Rees, Colin Palmer and Tony Barbat lead their age categories and many others are in contention for individual awards.
Race 7 - Wrexham Ind Estate - 26/04/2017
Conditions were sunny and cool for the final Borders League fixture around the Wrexham Industrial Estate. The men started the race with a 99 point lead at the top of the table and despite a gallant attempt by Buckley's men to overhaul them Buckley came up short. Despite beating Wallasey AC on the night the Wallasey men gained victory by the narrow margin of 18 points in the overall team standings. This gave the men their third win in six seasons. Some the runners performances were remarkable particularly from runners who competed at the London Marathon at the weekend, Connor McArdle made a great contribution and travelled up from Leicester for every race. The team also had great support and were encouraged, coaxed and cajoled by club captain Dave Walton. Counters on the night were Greg Jones (18th), Pete Bird (22nd), Connor McArdle (26th), Rob Pearse (28th), Neil Bullock (29th), Bryan Stevenson (31st), Matt Goodwin (35th), Ray Clark (42nd), Richard Webster (51st) and John Armstrong (53rd).
The ladies maintained second place overall despite finishing in fifth place on the night. This was the highest finish achieved by the ladies team and augers well for the future. Counters on the night amongst the 17 strong ladies team were Helen Anne Stansfield (13th), Jess McKinlay (24th), Jess Smith (28th) and Grace Gibson (29th).
The runners also picked up 12 individual honours with Mary Rees (V60), Colin Palmer (V50) and Tony Barbat (V55) winning their categories. Other honours include Joe Boden fifth Senior Men, Greg Jones seventh Senior Men, Helen Anne Stansfield second Senior Women, Rob Pearse fifth V40, Vicky Kehoe second V40, John Armstrong fourth V45, Helen Symonds fourth V45, Keith Simpson third V50 and Phil Bird fourth V50.
Liverpool & District Cross Country Union
Race 1 - Arrowe Park - 29/10/2016
The Liverpool & District Cross Country Union league races commenced at Arrowe Park on a twice changed course bereft of mud. Wallasey A.C. finished fourth on the day of 11 complete teams. Counters were Joe Boden (11th), Greg Jones (15th), Connor McArdle (18th), John Armstrong (21st), Mike Green (25th) and Rob Pearse (27th).
Race 2 - Sefton Park - 26/11/2016
Wallasey Athletic Club runners had the opportunity to race against the best runners in the UK as the Liverpool & District Cross Country Union was incorporated into the British Athletics European Cross Country Trials at a foggy Sefton Park. The 10k course was running fast as there was relatively little mud compared to recent years. Connor McArdle led the Wallasey contingent of 36 home, finishing in an impressive 36:38 for 32nd in the L&D and 232nd in the Euro trials. Other counters were Greg Jones (36th), Rob Pearse (40th), Tony Barbat (47th), Mike Green (50th) and Bryan Stevenson (56th). This enabled the club to finish in fifth place. The club also had numerous helpers on the day who assisted with puttting on the race and providing great support.
Race 3 - Beacon Park - 10/12/2016
The final race in the Liverpool & District Cross Country Union league took place at a muddy and wet Beacon Park in Skelmersdale. The 5.2-mile course was challenging with long stretches of mud and several inclines and descents to deal with. The team of 22 ran well on the day and were rewarded with third place. This left the club in fourth place overall at the end of the 3 race series. Joe Boden once again led the way with 13th place, not far behind him was Connor McArdle in 15th, other counting runners were Greg Jones (21st), Tony Barbat (25th), Mike Green (26th) and Matt Goodwin (28th). Sallie Holt had a fine run finishing second lady.
Championships - Clarkes Garden - 05/02/2017
Wallasey A.C. finished 6th at the Liverpool & District Championships held at Clarkes Garden. The field at the back was available again this year and the course was muddy in the usual places. The race doubled as the club's cross-country championship with Helen Anne Stansfield and Rob Pearse taking the spoils. The counting team consisted of Rob Pearse (21st), Greg Jones (22nd), Connor McArdle (34th), Tony Barbat (40th), Mike Kelly (45th) and Phil Cuthbert (52nd).
Cross Country Championships
Merseyside - Sherdley Park - 07/01/2017
Wallasey AC headed to Sherdley Park for the first fixture of 2017, the occasion being the Merseyside County Cross Country Championships. The weather was kind, the course contained pockets of mud and each uphill was preceded by a downhill so the route was not as taxing as some others, the ladies covered 8k and the men 12k. The ladies race started first and the 78 runners were soon in single file. Helen Anne Stansfield had a strong run and led the team home with 13th place on the day, she was supported by Sallie Holt (16th), Kate Lawton (34th) and Mary Rees (35th), with the team finishing in sixth place. Mary Rees (gold over 55) and Rachel Saunders (bronze over 55) picked up individual medals for their brave efforts. Connor McArdle headed the men's team in 21st averaging 06:21 minute miles over the 7.5-mile course. Other counters were Greg Jones (28th), Tony Barbat (31st), Mike Green (34th), Mike Kelly (52nd) and Jack Poland (64th). The men finished fifth on the day and Tony Barbat picked up a gold medal in the V55 category. Bob Brimage, now president of the county association, presented the awards to the runners and marshalls from Wallasey AC assisted in putting on a successful race.
Northern - Knowsley - 28/01/2017
The Northern Cross Country Championships returned to Knowsley Safari Park on Saturday, the course had been churned up by races earlier in the day and the overnight rain meant that by the time the men's and ladies' races started the course was muddy most of the way round. 14 ladies completed the 2-lap 8k, energy sapping, course with 20 men finishing 3 laps totalling 12k. The men finished 21st of 50 complete teams with counters being Connor McArdle (203rd), Rob Pearse (248th), Mike Green (253rd), Greg Jones (266th), Tony Barbat (277th) and Pete Bird (311th). The ladies finished 29th of 44 complete teams with Helen-Anne Stansfield (131st), Kate Ryan (132nd), Elaine Opara (206th) and Mary Rees (235th) counting. Anne and Bob Brimage, Jane and Neil Vick and Pete McArdle assisted with the marshalling on the day helping to make the race a great success.
National - Wollaton Park - 25/02/2017
Most of the women arrived with only minutes to spare at the ECCA Saucony National Cross Country Championships in Wollaton Park in Nottingham after travel issues with a broken down lorry in the M6 roadworks and trouble finding the tent amongst the hundreds of club tents. The course was challenging with some water filled ditches and some energy sapping gloopy sections. Helen Anne Stansfield had a strong run finishing just inside the top 250 runners. Also counting for the team, that finished 61st of 93 complete teams, were Elaine Opara (406th), Mary Rees (524th) and Adrienne Hall (543rd). As well as the physical challenge of the course the men faced a mental challenge, as each lap of the course grew larger (described as small, medium, large and extra large). Although there were muddy sections there were also areas where the going was good. Connor McArdle led the team home in 592nd place, Mike Green (735th), Greg Jones (772nd), Tony Barbat (797th), Phil Cuthbert (923rd) and Mike Kelly (951st) also counted. The men finished 76th of 131 complete teams.
Wirral Multi Terrain League
Race 1 - Royden Park - 06/09/2016
The Wirral Multi Terrain series for 2016 began at Royden Park, over 370 runners finished the 2 lap course. Sallie Holt had a strong run finishing third lady and leading the ladies team home to fourth place with Zoe Pearse (19th) and Vicky Kehoe (21st) also counting. The men finished in second place with Pete Bird highest position of 8th, Greg Jones (12th), Phil Walton (13th), Karl Pickstock (17th) and Bryan Stevenson (20th) counting.
Race 2 - Wirral Country Park - 13/09/2016
The second race of Wirral Multi Terrain series was staged on a warm sunny evening at Wirral Country Park. Sallie Holt had a storming race as she returned as second lady, Zoe Pearse (11th) and Vicky Kehoe (17th) helped bring the team home in third place. Pete Bird led the men home in 8th with other counters being Greg Jones (11th), Richard Webster (17th), Rob Pearse (19th) and Bryan Stevenson (22nd) with the team finishing second.
Race 3 - Harrison Drive - 20/09/2016
Pete Bird completed another top ten finish as the Wirral Multi Terrain races moved to Harrison Drive for the third race of 2016. The men finished in third place and are positioned in second place overall with Greg Jones (16th), Rob Pearse (18th), Bryan Stevenson (19th) and Richard Webster (38th) also counting. The ladies finished in sixth place and lie fourth in the overall standings. The counters for the ladies were Helen Anne Stansfield (23rd), Mary Rees (24th) and Jess McKinlay (28th). Wallasey also provided 18 marshalls for the race and a massive 62 runners, which is the best ever turnout for the club.
Race 4 - Arrowe Park - 27/09/2016
The final race of the Wirral Multi Terrain series was held at Arrowe Park. The men slipped to fourth on the day and third overall. The ladies finished third on the night and fourth overall. Counters for the men were Greg Jones (10th), Bryan Stevenson (21st), Rob Pearse (24th), Richard Webster (33rd) and Tony Barbat (39th). Sallie Holt (2nd), Zoe Pearse (11th) and Vicky Kehoe (16th) made up the ladies' counters. Age category awards went to Greg Jones (Second - Men Under 40), Bryan Stevenson (Third - Men Under 40), Richard Webster (Second - Men Over 45), Tony Barbat (First - Men Over 55), Dave McAlister (Third - Men Over 55), Jess McKinlay (Third - Ladies Under 30), Zoe Pearse (Third - Ladies Under 40), Sallie Holt (Third - Ladies Over 40) and Mary Rees (Second - Ladies Over 60).