At last! After many months, even years of planning, I eventually got this one off the ground but it wasn't easy. As the race passed through some farmers' fields I decided to seek permission for the whole race. The Peak Park were quite happy as I had already talked to most of the farmers and I was actually asking them for permission unlike our usual "Trespass and aggravate as many people as possible" policy. (Take note all you aspiring organisers.) The only niggling problem was the need for someone to marshal 1 a gate in Alport Valley — many thanks to my better half, I was lucky that it was a nice day.
The turn-out was not as high as I expected but enough for an inaugural run. I had only run the course once before with Malcolm, a year earlier, and couldn't remember how long it had taken which is why most of you who ran were under the impression that it would be won in under 50 minutes — Well, if I'd have told you the right time, would you have come?
A fine day had dawned, although a little windy, and 14 eager souls lined up in the lay—by in Birchin Clough facing the 1 in 3 climb up onto the moor. The sprint for the stile brought short—lived glory to Neil who paid dearly immediately after. Andy and myself raced away towards Alport Trig, a little white speck on the horizon, (pity it was clear) with Andy geeting a 20 second advantage on the climb out of Alport Valley. The long run down the ridge to the Castles was severly hampered by ths strong wind and despite numerous efforts I was unable to catch Andy. However, a devious short cut through the river at the bottom and a sprint through the farmyard soon closed the gap for the ascent through the trees to Cowms Rocks. It was neck and neck across the tussocks and down into Oyster Clough but alas the superior climbing ability of Mr Harmer got the better of me and despite closing fast on the finishing straight up the Snake Road, Andy held on for a good 10 second victory.
The battle for third place was on between Alan Yates and Tim Daniel, but Alans bad route choice and Tim's lack of getting lost for once, enabled him to come home third. In last place was 'man of the moment' Pete Jones fresh from completing the 15 trigs the previous day!
I think everyone agreed that it was a challenging course with two punishing climbs and similar descents. Maybe if the weather and competition is better next year the 60 minute barrier will be broken.
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