After a rather rainy few days, the clouds seemed to be parting just in time for the Black Rocks Fell Race, hosted by our friends at Matlock AC. A small team of Wirksworth runners – Dave B, Mark, Jake and Kat – arrived eagerly at the registration table with their £6 cash in hand. After some pre-race team discussion it was revealed that the course was in fact 10km, rather than the mere 6km that some of the club members had foolishly believed.

After a quick warm up, we lined up on the start line in Cromford Meadows with feelings of dread and trepidation at what lay ahead. Luckily, the first few km were very pleasant; nice and flat along Cromford Canal with just a few nettles to attack the legs. The crowd thinned out nicely and we all made good time. In what felt like no time at all, we approached the incline. Turning across the bridge and through the tunnel, we were all too aware of the challenge to come. Some club members flew lightly up, for others it was a dreary trudge, but we all made it to the turn off point where we were greeted by a small contingent of Wirksworth Wednesday night social runners cheering us on. This gave a much needed boost as we turned off the trail and things got rockier and squelchier. Eventually turning back out onto the trail, we continued along to Black Rocks where we began a very steep ascent up to the trig point.

With most of the race participants reduced to a walk by this time, it felt pretty great to see the trig point looming ahead. A quick dash around it and we began the descent. The rocky, rutted path proved to be quite a challenge for hurtling down at breakneck speed, particularly as the heavens opened and a torrential downpour began. Before long we were back on the incline but heading downwards this time, making the most of the (fairly) smooth descent for a spot of overtaking. All too soon, we reached the canal and pushed the legs that final few km to return to Cromford Meadows for the finish.

A spectacular double rainbow was our reward for all finishing with no broken ankles or necks. David Brassington came home first for Wirksworth in 46:50, bagging 12th place overall. He was followed by Mark C in 54:12, Jake in 58:16 and Kat in 1:03:16.

Full results are here: