My third time running this awesome 6.2 mile with 1125ft of ascent Gritstone series Fell race, rather a personal fave, it does have something of everything and a lot of fun. I had hoped to get a few more of us by pointing out that the mere £5.00 entry on the day is better than the £60 plus that many people will happily part with to adventure races. However we did get 7 Stilton Striders myself, Dan Valencia, John Houghton, Luke Eggleston, Steve Dewick, Stuart Shaw and Katie Hateley plus Leics locals Dave Lodwick from Roadhoggs and Haydn Williams from Barrow.
Even though rainfall has been heavy it`s still very muggy and will be wet under foot regardless, there is an absolute swarm of flies around the village, thankfully didn’t eat one today. Luke and Stuart have taken higher places up the start line, the race starts with a quick run through the village before heading offroad with a couple of downhill fields. This is followed by a very steep descent (aka drop) and rocky track before the long pull uphill and getting my feet wet for the first time. It`s not a too tough uphill but I’m stuck in my lines and can see Luke and Stuart pushing on, trying to manoeuvre forward would be a huge waste of energy I’d need later so I have to bide my time.
The highest point comes early on before a marshy downhill, a poll across the moors, a second peak and a long downhill to the only bit of road on the course. After two `shiny` races last week I overtake six people before we hit the offroad again, the following section I never told Luke about or he wouldn’t have come! You hit a wooded valley that is a really good slalom, its muddy, often cantered footpath, trees and branches come out of nowhere, footing is precarious, oh its superb but you really have to be on it!
You then come out in Griezedale valley which means readjusting your legs to the hills again and the sun is now out and beating down, I see Luke and Stuart who are still going superbly 30 seconds ahead but any thoughts of catching them are lost when I follow someone on the wrong path and end up surrounded by nettles! On the right path still going strong there is the really big uphill pull out of the valley before one large down and up and just the downhill through the woodland to finish.
Well I beat last year’s time so going right, didn’t catch Luke and Stuart who both ran superbly – Stuart`s first and definitely not last fell race, Luke who has now ran 3 superb races this week. The rest of the team come in and we partake of the awesome homemade flapjacks and those locally sourced Hucklow bananas (where do they grow them? Superb!). Steve Dewick ran a little slower than usual when a branch caught his glasses and flung them nearby which enforced a Thelma from Scooby-Doo type search!
Yonderman cafe after for the best chip cob in the peaks followed by a trip across the road to the Three Stags at Wardlow Mires, the saltiest pub in the Peak, absolutely awesome day – please join us people next time, we`d love to have you with us!
Stuart Shaw (34th, 58:45) Luke Egglestone (38th,58:55) Rob Beers (45th, 1:00:28) Katie Hateley (84th, 1:06:39) John Houghton (92nd, 1:08:22) Dan Valencia (98th,1:09:17) and Steve Dewick (148th, 1:29:41) [Rob]