RUNNERS braved atrocious conditions as they ran through some of Cheshire’s finest country lanes at the weekend.

The 13.1 mile Essar Four Villages Half Marathon, which started at Helsby Sports Club, saw 1,500 runners of all ages taking part – braving high winds, sleet and hail, and torrential rain.

For the first time the race was traffic free – with roads closed to allow the race.

Despite the rain, runners enjoyed the race and praised the organisers.

Runner Michael Connaughton said: “Many people have contacted #4vhm about how much they enjoyed the race in spite of the atrocious weather and how fantastic the organisation was and the hardy volunteers were. I would like to echo that with bells on.”

The race – organised by Helsby Running Club – is becoming a well-established event in the winter running calendar.