Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Hope Wakes Fell Race

Five Plodders (Sam, Helen, Steve M, Steve and Me) braved the sunshine (the what?) to run the Hope Wakes Fell Race on a balmy June evening... well ‘balmy’ compared to recent weather.
The course starts with a quick dash across a field into what can only be described as an obstacle course… obstacles included a very fast narrowing from field to country lane, a choice of going through the river (probably only a stream before the ‘Summer’) or bridge, a field of long grass to whip at your legs, some S bends and a shouty farmer, shouty because some of the front runners had jumped his gate rather than taking the adjacent stile. Then it’s under the railway bridge and into the first climb, run-able at first but then it’s hands on knees for a bit before reaching the top and taking in the wonderful views.

Definitely a pre-race shot

The peace is soon shattered by a fast, twisty-turny and simultaneously rocky and boggy descent through the woods, lots of fun. Then after a sharp right turn its climb 2 up Win Hill. I’d never been up Win Hill before, as I missed the ‘Hope Springs’ away day, so wasn’t sure what to expect, so I climbed and climbed and climbed some more, finally I saw a clearing in the trees and the summit so I dug deep and climbed on, only to find that the clearing was a false summit and revealed before me was the ‘real’ climb through thick heather to Win Hill’s rocky top… bugger! There may have been some more wonderful views at the top but I couldn’t tell you, because straight after you summit there’s an ankle breaking descent over boulders so its head down and plod on.
After a further field there was a spectator kindly dowsing the runners with a hose pipe then a very fast tarmac descent, by now I could hear the sports club Tannoy so thought I was nearly home, but as Sam pointed out afterwards, it’s the loudest Tannoy in Derbyshire so I still had a mile to go!
The end is the start in reverse, minus the very shouty farmer, who by now is probably attacking hay effigies of fell runners with a pitch fork, and back over the line cheered by fellow plodders and our own cheerleading team of Liz and Scott.
I managed to get round in just under an hour… which was nice. No official results yet.
Then there was cake!