Report by Adam Leighton
Totley AC’s FRA cat A long race saw a healthy field of over 150 runners gather, ready to test themselves over some of South Yorkshire’s finest landscapes. Unsurprisingly, there was strong representation from Steel City Striders, Dark Peak Fell Runners and Totley AC. Wirksworth had 2 eager runners in the starting pen, namely team captain Elaine Stone, and Adam Leighton. The unrouted, unmarked course comprised of 9 checkpoints spread over an advertised 17 miles, with 1,290m of ascent (depending on the route chosen).
As the starting signal approached, so did grey clouds, giving the runners a refreshing shower during the long first ascent to the trig point atop Totley Moor. After a welcome but all too brief downhill, the wet stuff soon gave way to some cracking weather conditions for taking in the next arduous climb to reach Blacka Moor. Leg-whipping single-file trails through the heather offered a chance for the legs to find something resembling a rhythm before more leg-sapping ascents over Higger Tor and Stanage Edge. The ups were soon forgotten during fast-flowing descents through the tall ferns below the Edge leading to mildly undulating ground in the direction of Hathersage Booth and more gruelling climbing before reaching Padley Gorge. Sadly, there wasn’t a chance to stop and admire the enchanting silver birch woodland as we sailed downhill on a luxurious wide grassy carpet to the next checkpoint. We tenaciously followed the stream back up toward The Longshaw Estate for some much appreciated WRC-specific support and pushed on to the final checkpoint back at Totley Moor trig. A long and steep downhill was next on the menu (trying to keep tired legs in check) before a victory lap of the cricket pitch to the finish.
Elaine put in a strong performance as first lady back for the club in 3 hours 19 minutes 😉 Adam also had a solid race making it back in a smidge under 3 hours 5 minutes.
In summary; a challenging and equally rewarding course with beautiful scenery (when you get the chance to look up). Many thanks to Totley AC for a very well organised race, highly recommended!!!