Sunday, 21 June 2009

Grindleford Fell Race

Looking down Padley Gorge following the route of the Grindelford Fell Race.

On wednesday night I finally managed to do the Grindleford Fell Race. A lovely little village in the peak district that like many puts on its own little race to raise funds and just basically keep the tradition of fell running alive. So the cricket pavillion was the headquarters for the race and on arrival I had a little chat with the groundsman who seemed to be a little worried about his cricket pitch. Damage by cars to the grass being his main worry but it was a hot night so all was okay.
A few familiar faces generally mulling around at the start with lots of rival clubs en mass. This would not be a big turnout for my team Pennine Fellrunners as its t other side of the Peak as they say.
Dark Peak Fellrunners and Totley being the main local clubs.

Billed as a C Short cat race with only 500ft of climb and a distance of just 4.5miles i knew this race would set off at a manic pace and it did.
Two laps of he playing field to string the runners out and we were soon on the main climb with everybody gasping for breath an wondering why oh why they had entered. This is where i had my first problem. I ran head first into a tree. OUCH
You would have thought an experienced fellrunner would know better but nope headbutt the tree i duly did.
The adrenalin soon kicked in as three runners came by me and i had to dig in deep to keep up with the pace. But i got my second wind and managed to keep with them. Experience told me that as soon as we hit the rough stuff i would come into my element. I had banked on one spot to push the pace. Padley Gorge was the only technical descent of the race and sure enough i duly gained back four places as some of the runners who couldnt descend as quickly slowed to traverse the boulders and rocks. Mometum was now with me and all I had to do was cross the river and run into the finish back on the cricket pitch.
I ploughed into the river and clambered up the muddy bank which was lined with spectators. A few hundred yards and I crossed the finish line.
After a cup of water and a chat with some of the other runners it was time to look for my other half who was waiting with badger. He had that look on his face to say why couldnt I have raced with you.
No time to see what position I had come as hunger had set in by then and it was a quick change of clothes in the back of the van and off to the pub for a meal.
Def a race to recommend. Very fast and probably not as much true fell as some would like but for a midweek summer race you would be hard pressed to find a better one.
With about 300 runners taking part I obviously wasnt the only one who enjoyed the race.

So a thumbs up for that race. The village sounds a bit like Grindelwald which is another story altogether.

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