12 Jun 2016 – Edale fell race

Family commitments mean only three of us here today at Edale for race 3 of `3 in 3`, Rob Beers (Me), Katie Hateley with an ultra in her legs from yesterday and Matt Chalmers.

We all have absolutely shot legs and the warm up seems impossible let alone a 5 mile fell race, its a mere £5.00 entry which includes parking and the absolutely superb Village show. Despite the spots of rain we are cheerful near the start with the words `training run` and `bit of fun` mentioned numerous times as we view the sheer uphill path which starts the race to the ridge.

A good field of runners as we head off up `the Nab` and around `Ringing Rodger`, I try as much as possible to keep running but its heavy traffic and get irked at having to walk. I am following the Dark Peak girl I beat on the line at Castleton Friday night, she`s a tough runner throwing a lot into it. Suprisingly now my legs don’t feel bad and I`m making decent progress and passing quite a few people over the often quite scary and technical edges.

First wrong going of the day begins when we have the chance to go one of two ways along the edge or more through the middle, this quarter mile section I choose wrongly and must’ve lost about 8 places by hugging the edges.

I make the final hard ascent to the top and drop down what can only be described as `a fall`, it’s that steep thankfully its heather and some opt to slide down via the bottom! The descent then goes on to some very rocky scree track which again I’m not good at descending like an 100 year old man in Stiletto heels. So when the option again goes to descend via grass I follow a Steel City Strider along a trail path only to come out at the drop of doom! I’ve never descended off anything so steep and thank goodness I have both strong ankles and balance but it’s playing hell with my quads. When I resume to the normal path I must’ve lost 15 places with my awful descent and my quads have limited my speed temporarily, back on the flat it’s down an alley and the last half mile to the finish. Its hear like a `secret shiny` I sort of redeem myself by knocking a 5m/m to the finish line, overtaking a whole lot of people and as usual collapsing in a heap over the finish line.

Despite by the time Matt coming in the rain just bucketing down we got changed and enjoyed the great English traditional festival at Edale, it really is a corker. My second Edale fell race and I hope very much next year is my third, great hard technical fell race that feels a lot longer than it is.

Rob Beers (94th, 50:02) , Katie Hateley (145th, 55:12), Matt Chalmers ((189th, 1:00:29) Steve Dewick (210th, 1:06:45)

10 Jun 2016 – Castleton Fell Race

We are here in wet and humid Castleton on day 1 of the `3 races in 3 days series`, tonight’s effort is a 6.7 mile fell race. We are tonight Rob Beers (Me), John Houghton, Dan Valencia, Steve Dewick, Greg Pettingill, Dan Valencia, `Fell Virgin` Matt Chalmers and staying with us this evening Barrow Runner Haydn Williams who is also doing the Edale Skyline tomorrow. So despite multiple traffic jams and forgotten Bra`s (!) we get to Castleton in time, I`m in retro kit this evening and quite un-ironed it looks actually thought the rain might increase it but everyone seems to notice.

Set off as usual with Greg in my sights for the first half mile of tarmac, I`m watching the old warhorse slide up the pack whilst I get stuck behind some of the pointiest elbows this end of the Western Roman Empire. I finally get past Greg on the ascent towards Lose Hill, I have it in my head that I can stay ahead of him on the climbs at least and hopefully put some distance. Not far off the top of Lose Hill `Captain Cautious` is passed by a flying Pettingill on the descent and it’s a game of catch up as he`s looking strong and I’m still pattering on behind.

What actually happened next is I was running and Greg was getting nearer it wasn’t tactical, anyway I go past him going up Mam Tor fully expecting him to leave me standing on the descent. For non Fell people watching the leaders come off Mam Tor over Flagstones, Grass, Mud and rocky ground is something really to behold, there is some amazing nerve and skill there. I circle the trig point and start my descent, the guy just in front has taken a great line and I follow him as its mainly grass which I’m not too bad on seeing an impressive Simon Bottrill and the others on the way down the Tor shouting my best wishes.

We descend more sharply at the turn down at Hollins Cross, it’s a lot steeper and I lose quite a few places to local runners used to such rocky terrain, somehow I`m still in front of Gregmeister. Once I hit the road I feel safe in my abilities and power on to the finish even taking a Dark Peak shirt in a sprint on the line!

Lovely evening out and first fell race of the Peak district this year for a few of us, Chalmers came home ecstatic saying we were absolute nutters but loved it and was truly amazing!

Results – Rob Beers (95th, 59:07) Greg Pettingill (103rd, 59:32) Simon Bottrill (119th, 62:01) Dan Valencia (145th, 65:11) John Houghton (156th, 66:19) Matt Chalmers (211th, 76:04) and Steve Dewick (224th, 81:20)

12 Mar 2016 – Grindleford Gallop

I had a guy from Barrow Runners go on about this for years hence I had to give it a go, this year’s event sold out in a mere eleven minutes! Originally three Stiltons made the cut but injury meant just myself (Rob Beers) and stand in par-Excellence Dan Valencia would make it to the start line.

Very few Leicestershire clubs on show at this event of around 600 people, we meet up with Zoe Sewter from Hermitage and local legend Tim Hartley who not only hadn’t realised the event was today but hadn’t raced this distance for about 14 years!

We start mid-pack I must admit to not feeling up to it and `training run` being imprinted, in any case it was a reccie for both of us as not knowing really what to expect in 21 miles and 3000ft apart from pain. The first mile towards Froggat woods is incredibly slow with stiles and the usual bottleneck hold ups, people jumping the mud and puddles (surely? It’s an offroad race you know what to expect?). The first big hill comes and whilst I persist up it Dan has plumped for another technique (!) , we head towards the village of Eyam.

Bit too much road at the beginning but Longstone edge is plenty muddy, it’s all those high walls and stiles you have to climb that really play on the agility. Great Longstone leads us towards Bakewell and a long stretch of trail that is far too easy to just hammer and lose a lot of steam (Dan!) as at the end of which is a huge climb with some sort of cowbell at the Hill bottom!

The descent towards Chatsworth estate is one of the most scenic I find, I’m enjoying the downhill, I don’t enjoy the agility of dodging people from here to the end of the race as the weather is getting a lot better and they are coming out the cracks. We hit the village of Baslow at 17 miles and I am somewhat battered (Tim H said he suffered from here also), I’ve tried to conserve energy and definitely another gel or two wouldn’t have gone amiss. Anyway it’s the biggest climb of the lot up to Baslow edge, not knowing the course or how long I’ll be climbing the odd cheeky walk finds its way into my shattered legs as I hope saving them will help with the technical section on the edges. The top eventually came and the technical section began, testing ones agility against not only stones and mud but walkers, Dogs etc on tired legs was very hard work and by the time we came to the woods near the end of Baslow edge I felt really tired and no energy left. The final descent into Grindleford would’ve been done better by a Dalek down a flight of stairs; wearily I tread downhill through the village over the bridge and over the finish line. Thankfully getting inside to a hot cuppa, a bowl of soup and a cake can do wonders for rousing a flagging energy level!

Despite the pain, the uphill and everything it’s a superb well organised event showing off some of the best of the Peak district, both myself and a just as tired Dan Valencia loved it. This year was very much a reccie and we hope to return next year a bit wiser of where to go quick and where to lay off a bit, great day for the offroad runner.  [Rob]

7 Feb 2016 – Charnwood Hills Race

This year’s CHR sold out in some 25 mins, the 350-odd places snapped up so quick the website almost crashed. One of only two fell races in Leicestershire this race has now become one of the most popular and oversubscribed, given how many Leicestershire athletes we see on the actual fells (apart from Stilton of course and a few exceptions!) perhaps previous entry in a set number of FRA races over the previous 12 months would be a good race pre-requisite? Given that near 700 ran the Bradgate Derby runner league race and only 300-350 allowed here it may be a way for the race to move forward as a CL Fell race not just an extended XC.

Anyway CHR 2016, a mere three Striders this year with colds and flu depriving us late on of two Stilton entrants, it’s Rob Beers and Greg Pettingill out there suffering with heavy colds and Katie Hateley swearing she`s done no training. Not thankfully overly cold but a cold wind and quite a breeze, a few spots of rain in the sky but it has rained heavily the few days before and the mud is very plentiful.

The usual start off around the field with many people going off as usual with a far too positive split and an early faller who got tangled up in Mr Pettingill`s legs! The Greg-meister has made an impressive start and I’m towing him as we head into Bradgate Park and the looming Old John in the distance, at least I`m comforted by the fact he didn’t run all of that said hill. Yours truly does and then it’s the usual job of getting the breathing back to normal on the descent and down a very muddy cardiac hill into the (Bloody) golf course. Sue Pettingill is playing lead Stilton cheerleader today at Broombriggs and ahead of me is Greg climbing (walking!) upper broombriggs, I finally feel I’m gaining on the veteran warrior a little although I throw far too much into my descent towards Beacon Hill. Never my favourite climb the Beacon but for once no-one over takes me, a nice downhill off the Beacon where I sensibly go past Greg who is at the time suffering somewhat (you wouldn’t have thought given how effortlessly he was running).

Into the (Bloody) golf course and Cardiac Hill is a mud rink, back into Bradgate Park and by now I`m feeling not having a gel or water as by the technical section by Lady Jane Grey`s house my feet have the agility of your average Ogre. The last two miles I felt I lost 2-3 mins and the pace slowed greatly for me, I looked behind to see Greg climbing the long slow path towards the school thinking he had no way of catching me. Anyway a `Bottrill-esque` finish saw him take me in the last 100 metres followed by my climbing into the final field like it was Everest!

Greg Pettingill (73rd, 1:59:27), Rob Beers (77th, 2:00:09) and Katie Hateley a superb debut (131st, 2:11:14), felt like a letdown in the end (elusive sub 2hrs!) but given we were full of cold and results of similar runners I reckon team Stilton did very impressively.

And again thanks to the Blue Lion at Thrussington for their impressive Chip Cobs!  [Rob]

1 Nov 2015 – Dovedale Dash

It was a beautiful day in Derbyshire for this year’s Dovedale Dash a ridiculously popular event with some 1274 runners lining up at the start of this years 5 mile course. From the off it’s a mad downhill dash that takes you through the river Dove, loops round for 4 miles of muddy cross country and then brings you back for a lung bursting climb to the finish line. Two Striders made the journey Simon Bottrill home in 38:45 and Tony Allen who sadly had to pull up due to injury. Also competing was Nick Smith home in 41:44 running for his first claim club Stamford Striders. [Simon]

17 Oct 2015 – Wirksworth Undulator

The Wirksworth Undulator AKA: `The Stuart Learmouth memorial race` is an annual 8.5 mile Fell race put on by Wirksworth R.C now in its fourth year. Having done this twice before I know what to expect, with a mere £5.00 entry and massive kudos to Simon to get us here in a mere hour!

Today we are Six Stiltons (Myself [Rob Beers], Simon Bottrill, John Houghton, Dan Valencia, Katie Hateley and Steve Dewick. Worth pointing out that this is the only fell race I’ve ever seen a Leicestershire Club runner win (a Barrow runner) yet today we are the only Leicestershire club to have any entrants on the start line!

Starting from Wirksworth quarry, it’s a bit of a jam from the off on the narrow path to the top of the quarry, those really going for it will be on the front row. The course is like its title, undulating, `lots of ups and too little downs` was one Strider`s comment, although cliché I found it `all Run-able`, I know not all the team did.

The first few miles over many fields with various ups and downs, before hitting the trig point and just over half mile on tinder trail before my favourite climb which gives an astonishing view over Carsington Water. A real steep descent the other side where many end up on their backsides before nearly a mile of road which isn’t good if you’ve heavy duty Fell shoes on. The next turning offroad is probably when many really start to struggle going from tarmac back to struggling uphill offroad for another two miles. My plan of challenging a Tideswell R.C runner and trying to catch as many Beeston R.C Runners (also out in force) has paid off well, although my descent through the quarry to the finish was pretty bad.

Back in a very good time I think and 1st Strider, A very shiny face Dan Valencia is next Strider home followed by a more calm looking Simon. Katie doing her first fell race isn’t far behind, an ecstatic John comes in to a rendition of Happy Birthday and then Steve Dewick complete the Striders team.

I think Katie summed it up best about these events `everyone’s just so friendly and laid back`, John `best one yet, loved it! `, totally excellent event and a great day all round.  [Rob]

4 Sep 15 – Great Longstone fell race

A sublime 4.8 mile off road course that climbs a total of 950 feet onto Longstone Edge in the Peak District taking place annually on the 1st Friday of September. The runs start and finishes from the recreation ground in the middle of the village.
95 fell runners were sent on their way by resident local political celebrity Lord Roy Hattersley in this extremely friendly, relaxed and beautiful run, plenty of climb but not to technical and not so steep as it’s all runnable!  First Strider home in an incredible 35.29 Michael ‘Chris’ Atton in 26th position overall, next up Simon ‘thekitanator’ Bottrill 33rd place in 36.47, floating through the finish in 35th Dan ‘milko’ Valencia in 37.01 followed by John Houghton in 39th in a new course PB time of 38.08 last in Steve ‘superman’ Boylan coming back from injury in 76th position in a time of 44.19. [John]


4 Oct 2015 – Curbar Commotion

At 9.5 miles long with some 1300ft of ascent, the Curbar commotion is the first of this year’s `longer` fell races of the Gritstone accelerate series. An impressive five Stilton Striders (Myself, John and Lou Houghton, Steve Dewick and Dan Valencia) were on hand for the days proceedings, we beat all the other Leicester clubs in total (One Huncote, One Roadhogg and One Barrow!). The morning is cool-ish but the sun is going to blare out when it comes out properly, a large turnout has come out for this race along the edges, first time this new course has been run in the race`s two year history.

Team Stilton makes a gentle run out as the race starts, a nice hill early on thins the field out a bit, I join Barrow Runners Haydyn Williams accompanying a rookie Fell Running friend on the ascent, obviously having far too much fun as the banter and comments are flying !

I kick on when I reach the top and am really enjoying myself (it does happen), really seem to be moving very well along Baslow and White edge. Some rather protective Angus cattle along the rear of Longshaw and finally Haydn has caught up with me although I keep him near throughout the rest of the race, only person who passed me during the entire race.

Into Baslow woods where I’m stuck behind some bloke with appalling body odour! Couple of hills that we didn’t expect come out of nowhere and then a really fun descent through tress, ferns and finally fields to the finish. No way was I going to catch serial mountain man Haydn on descents but a minute behind I’m overjoyed at, very happy with my performance crossing the line in 1:13 .

Surprisingly Dan who seemed to be taking it steady early on follows in a 1:15 battling a female runner over the line superb performance, followed by John Houghton, Lou Houghton and Steve Dewick.

£6.00 entry and a massive cake free-for all at the finish, great day in the peaks, happy days!  [Rob Beers]

5th Sep 2015 – Longshaw Fell Race

A fine day on the fells marred by a number of incidents highlighting the need for FRA safety equipment on more exposed races. In separate falls, two Striders sustained injuries to their hands. John Houghton breaking a bone two miles into the race and Steve Dewick dislocating a finger in a fall when crossing a stream two miles from home. First Strider home Greg Pettingill 36th (3rd MV50) 51:04; Michael Atton 47th 53:01; Simon Bottrill 58th 56:18; Dan Valencia 65th 57:34; Stephen Boylan 88th 65:06; Steve Dewick (DPFR) 112th 71:47.


30th August 2015 – Bradbourne Fell Race

Bradbourne, notable for being valued at 30 shillings (£1.50) in the Domesday Book and not losing any inhabitants in the Great War, showed another remarkable feature today – accepting entries on the start line seconds before starters orders. Result – the race started 15 minutes late!

A spot of “gardening”, on the warm up, to remove some ankle breaking rocks (fallen dry stone wall) and branches from a narrow muddy path received no thanks, although Rob did manage to stay upright this weekend.

With the start at the foot of the first hill there is no warm-up, just a 100m climb onto the high gently undulating pasture typical of the White Peak – “all runnable” followed by a fast descent through a picturesque dale for the chance to repeat it on lap 2!!

First Strider home was Greg Pettingill 16th (3rd MV50) 37:05, followed by Rob Beers 24th (3rd MV40) 40:09.