Two late injury worries meant only four Stilton Striders running this year`s Rugby Rover 30k, although we thankfully retained Greg Pettingill in a supportive/advisory measure during the race on a nice sunny day in Belper. Myself (Rob Beers), Rich Gray, Luke Eggleston and Vicki Lowe donned the blue and whites and made for the start line, thankfully the time honoured route of 13th anniversary of this race has not changed. Luke, winner of yesterday`s parkrun goes off at the race start like a stung cat despite our best efforts telling him not to. A lovely warm up mile along the canal before the first climb and the more harrowing for many second before quite a rocky and perilous descent along some stunning trail. 5k in and Luke is well within my sights, running well but it`s still very early doors and have to admit knowing the course profile helps as the first half has the steepest climbs. Pass Luke at 8k and then its uphill field upon field towards the radio mast and the highest point, this can be really draining already some are down to a walk.
Pass the pub at Alderwasley and come to my favourite part of the course, its ever changing scenery from running beside a field to through a farm then woodland then a kissing gate, the scenery is absolutely breathtaking. I slow up a little through Shining Cliff woods, tummy issues throughout the race after a party the previous night, last time I listen to `you’ll run it off tomorrow`.
Two years ago it wasn’t all run-able to certainly was this time, come out of Shining Cliffs woods and know I’m on the path home, even the Bovines in the field don’t bother me for once. 18.6 miles is a long way in most people`s books but the undulation (ok sometimes quite hard hills) and terrain do really take it out of the legs so very happy to be getting stronger with age!
Aiming for sub 2:40 and make it in at 2:37 in 42nd place! Rich gets a course PB in 2:48, a very tired but well ran Luke in at 2:50 and Vicki Lowe at 3:14.
A great race which I’ve said many times, friendly and laid back, cheap entry with a great tech T-shirt, even as training it’s a good day out and a lovely course, hope we can get a few more in 2016. [Rob]