5th September, 2021

AM: 8 miles, 450m

This was the first year this race was run and I was curious to try a new cat-A race an hour’s drive away in the Peak District. On paper it looked a straight forward lollipop-shaped course mainly following the Pennine Way with a modest amount of climbing for the distance. However, the on-paper-easiness belied some energy sapping, constantly changing terrain. It was a beautiful day with stunning September sunshine and perfect running temperature.

The first 3/4 of a mile is a flat, gravelled path. With fresh legs and a healthy tailwind, this felt great as I set off. There’s then a section of fairly steep stone steps that makes up a big chunk of the total elevation. Having reccied part of the route, I tried quite hard up the steps, knowing that what lay ahead of this was 2.5 miles of very narrow paths banked by deep heather and very few passing places. The terrain constantly changes from large shards of angular rocks embedded in the earth to sudden, random peat bogs to loose rocks and shale.

It was tiring physically, but also required total concentration up and down. Having finished the descent, I faced what I found the most difficult part of the race; a flat, unchanging, seemingly interminable 3⁄4 of a mile into a headwind. The 1st man was Ben Light of Buxton AC in 1:02:24. first woman was Imogen Jones of Pennine Fell Runners in 1:16:07. I was 7th woman and first V50 in a very small field in 1:31:52.

Having moaned about all the tricky bits, I’d still recommend this race. It’s easy to get to, it has parking and toilets, stunning views and a goody bag of a mug with a picture of Bleaklow, numerous sweeties and bottled water.

— Ruth Dorrington