By Steve Elliff
People are motivated to run for a number of different reasons. Judging by the popularity of the monthly cake runs, cake forms a significant motivator for many members of Wirksworth Running Club, and this tale does involve cake! However, before the cake, there are one or two hills to mention, as we embark on a journey navigating around the scenic Hope Valley.
For those of you who are not familiar with The Hope Valley Round, it has been put together by Outside, (the outdoors shop in Hathersage) which is where the route starts and finishes. With around 1350 meters of ascent, this 20 mile / 32km loop heads out to Mam Tor via Shatton Moor, then follows along to Hollins Cross, up to Lose Hill, down into the valley and then up again to Win Hill before taking a scenic route back to Hathersage.
Whilst this is not a race, the round is quickly becoming popular, particularly as it is free to take part and you can do it at your own convenience.
Flying the WRC flag this weekend was Graham, Olly, Gavin and Steve. We were also joined by Graham’s friend Steve, who proved very handy with a map! With an absolute beaut of a day, the weather provided some lovely blue skies throughout the run, which looked stunning against the backdrop of the hills. It was possibly a tad warm, but with Olly’s quick thinking, we managed to replenish our empty bottles with orange juice and water from the Cheshire Cheese pub in Hope, helping to avoid dehydration. Sadly shortly after this Gavin, who was struggling with his hamstrings, decided to make the difficult, but sensible decision to call it a day. Although he did still run back to Hathersage along the flat, completing an impressive 29km of running with over 850 meters of ascent.
For the rest of the crew, there was a sweltering slog up onto Win Hill, where the full extent of the round is clear to see. We made it back to Outside in a tidy 4 hours and 29 minutes, where we got an enthusiastic welcome from the staff, despite looking rather dishevelled and smelling a bit ripe. After filling in a short form, we got enlisted on their role of honour, with a group mug shot to boot. The round is sponsored by Montane, who provide you with a free buff to mark your achievement. Outside then show their admiration by offering a free tray bake and brew, making this possibly the best cake run yet 😉
For those of you who enjoy running in the hills, this is a great little fell run, particularly if you are looking for a leisurely day out, without the pressure of a race. For more info on the round, why not visit their website – https://www.outside.co.uk/outside-hope-valley-round