King Offa's Dyke Race
8 pm Friday 15 September 2017 to Tuesday 2 pm 19 September 2017
185 miles (297.7 km); 29,806 feet (9,085 m) of ascent (90 hour time limit)
The course follows the Offa's Dyke national trail path from near Chepstow in South Wales to Prestatyn in North Wales. The route roughly follows the boundary between England and Wales and crosses numerous counties in both England and Wales; passes several towns and villages and ascends various hills including the Black Mountains and the Clwydian Range giving a cumulative ascent and descent surpassing sea level to the summit of Everest. There was a 90 hour (6 hours short of four days) cut-off with any resting or sleeping eating into the time available.
First Man: Gregory Crowley Dark Peak Fell Runners 54:54:04
First Lady: Victoria Owens Joint 19th overall 85:17:59 (only lady finisher)
Steven Jones: 12th Dark Peak Fell Runners 80:18:00
The race started at 8 pm on Friday 15 September 2017 and by then it was already dark. Before the first checkpoint the runners were setting a fast pace through woods with tree roots coiled like serpents ready to trip any unwary runners not paying close attention to foot placement. By dawn the participants were running or walking over the Black Mountains and thereafter going up and down various hills one after another through the day and night and day and night again. Going over the Clwydian Range I diverted to explore the Jubilee Tower and view the sights before re-joining the race for yet more night running. At the finish at the Nova Centre in Prestatyn the successful athletes could be seen unconscious and frozen in time like the victims of Pompeii with bodies in suspended animation and captured in the act of whatever they were doing when the volcano struck. So it was at the Nova Centre with exhausted runners having fallen asleep in various poses such as on top of a sleeping bag asleep before they could crawl inside it; a sock half on and asleep on a chair; face first in a finisher's meal slumped across a table; prostrate on the floor around the building; sprawled next to a mobile phone with a conversation terminated abruptly by sleep and so on.
Gregory Crowley had finished more than a full day ahead of most runners having been in third position for most of the race then leap-frogging into the lead by not stopping to rest. He increased his lead to win comfortably and the full results and split results can be found in the link http://kingoffasdyke.co.uk/
The weather had been reasonable and mostly dry but with some rain from time to time.
Special trophies were given to Jon Dufty and Steven Jones as Double Finishers (both finished in 2016 and 2017).
The next King Offa's Dyke Race will take place in 2019. After this year the event will take place bi-annually.
There was also a shorter version of the event following the same course but ending at Montgomery. This was the Mercian Challenge of a mere 100 miles and the results for that are as follows:
1st (and first lady) Becky Wightman 31:25:19
2nd (and first man) Rupert Cheshire 33:10:51
© Dark Peak Fell Runners 2018
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