Great turnout from Stilton Striders on this highly recommended 18.6 mile multi-terrain race now in its 14th year. Although sometimes billed as a fell race there is far too much road to be treated as so, it`s maybe nearest to either Seagrave or Woodhouse Mayday in feel so do check it out if not going to Ireland or Racing the train this time next year.Sadly numbers for the race are down again this year, we must have been the most heaviest represented club, too many Derbyshire clubs simply not there supporting this event (A mere £15 on the day plus tech T-shirt or £13 in advance). We start at 9:30am with Stuart Shaw well out ahead for the Striders team, most of us started quite near the back for the opening mile or so along the canal. From the flat start those of us who have done it before know it very suddenly turns into a very steep uphill fell, last year Luke who is running with me ended up walking this, not this year, made it look positively easy! This first major uphill is great for getting the lungs working whilst wondering if your legs ever will again, I feel pretty groggy this morning but more of that later.
We reach the water station at about 8k, I recall last year roping in `Mr Positive split` Luke at about this distance, to be fair I think this year if he gave me 8k head start he`d have caught me on current form! Another big uphill and Luke is flying although he still decides it’s better to run with me than shoot off, we then head for the 10 mile point over many fields towards the radio mast at Alderwasley. Then we head towards the rather fine pub at Alderwasley and perhaps my favourite part of the route, unfortunately my legs aren’t feeling it today, a little lacking in sleep and worst of all stomach problems are starting to happen. I eventually nudge young Luke on who goes on to have a really good and comfortable race as I start to suffer going through Ambergate woods and slow noticeably. Coming out the other side I even am forced to walk due to how my stomach feels, new medication I’m on seemed to be the longer standing problem but at the time it was hell. All I want to do now is get over the finish line and the long three miles back seems a lot further, it wasn’t impressive by any means as 9 mins slower than last year but even then it certainly is and always will be a tough old course.
I thought I had it bad until I learned the fate of Dan Valencia who didn’t read the signs in the last half mile and ended up doing 20.6 miles and came back rather annoyed! Stuart Shaw was back first Strider, despite setting off too fast, it is a hard one to judge if you haven’t done this before where all the bumps are and tiring bits.
Was a tad warm today although the rain in days previous had left it softer (muddier!) underfoot than usual, despite the problems we all had a great day. [Rob]
Stuart Shaw (2:31:38, 22nd), Luke Eggleston (2:38:55, 35th), Rob Beers (2:47:39, 52nd), Paul Geeson (2:48:53, 54th), Simon Bottrill (3:04:24, 81st) John Houghton (3:08:08, 93rd), Matt White (3:11:01, 109th) Dan Valencia (3:26:35, 121st)