Accelerate Gritstone Series

Race Reporting: Burbage Skyline 2010

Stu B&W Web
A record entry, long queues, a delayed start and a dry beer beer cask. Sounds like a good receipe for a succesful and enjoyable evenings racing. So it proved.

The entry record for the event was smashed and long queues ensured a swift descision to delay the start. The number of competitors that arrived caught everyone by surprise, especially as it was felt that the very chilly conditions would keep people at home – Wrong!
So 324 competitors headed from the Fox House Inn, down towards the Burbage Brook crossing, and around to Mother Cap before a short descent and then up onto Higger Tor. The ‘Plummet’ followed with a run down to the brook before climbing again to Burbage North. A final run along the ridge and a last descent to the finish and sprint for the line – well for some anyway.

The experienced and more recognised local fell runners were mixing with a number of fell running ‘newbies’, for whom there was definitely plenty of encouragement. It was however easy enough to spot those more used to tarmac.
That said one or two of the faster paced ‘roadies’ were definitely towards the front of the field. From the start Stuart Bond made his intentions very clear leading from the front as he lead the way to the first Brook crossing. In close attendance was a small group which included Rob Little and Neil Northrop. By the time the bottom of the ‘Plumett’ had been reached Mr Bond had opened a small gap with Mr Little continuing to chase hard.
Helen Elmore was clearly in determined mood as she had already run clear of Judy Jepson, at this very same point.

So this was how things would remain. Stuart ran home clear in 35.45 with Rob finishing in 37.38, with Helen clocking a very respectable time of 46.34.

Results were a little slower than normal, only because of the unexpected number of racers. Announcements were made and the bar was drunk dry.

If you ask me it was a highly succesful evening and racers, marshals, the organisers and the results team all deserve a pat on the back. Well done to one and all. Many thanks to all the staff at the Fox House for ensuring everyone was made to feel welcome.

So the attemtion now turns to the next race in the series, Castleton. See you here….


Thumbs Up BW
By Lucy Watkins, a fell running ‘newbie’.

WOW – So this is Fell Racing!
A multitude of feet, mud bogs, wild rock clambering, sleet sprinklings, peachy sunset glow, painful tired ascents, wild river sploshings, long power descent home to the big yellow flag that wasn’t near enough!!!

A fantastic show of people, runners and cheering watchers – (NOTE TO SELF – must have support crowd ready with warm clothes and chocolate…. and beer money!)

So even though I was expecting a course half the length it was a liberating experience, what with the rough terrain and late hour of the day – bootiful!

A wonderfully varied route beginning just below the Fox House pub – starting uphill (?!) then plummeting down through rocks to Burbage Brook and up the other side (where the reality of setting off so fast set in!) and veered off down and left towards the Surprise View car park on a nice sandy path through low shin-cutting heather. Evil up through the boulders – very pretty as I plodded at a walking pace with time to look around!
A stunning panorama met our eyes at the top, passed the Mother Cap rock, as the path flattened and opened up; looking towards Hope an orange misty glow was nestled in the valley bottom – a real prize in itself.
Along, then down, then an “Oh NO – we’ve got to go up that!” moment as we saw the fitter runners ahead and the realisation that we were joining the Higgor Tor path. Not so bad though!
Then WHOOOSH! – what a descent; the ground just fell away from the feet, back down to Burbage Brook, via some slippy mud and tree roots that no matter the warnings everyone seemed to go askew. A manic jump across the water, through the trees then another even more manic jump back across the water to even more mud-sucking bog, as the path slowly went up to Burbage Bridge. Another “Oh NO” moment as the faster runners could be seen silhouetted on the Burbage Edge skyline.
A dizzy skip across the muddied brook boulders onto the path above the Burbage cliff line as the last of the peach glow started to fade. A wonderful last blast negotiating the rocky path obstacles down to join the lower track and on, and on, and on it went. But then, there it was, in all its glory, the yellow flag and all the paraphernalia that goes with 300 people finishing a race just before dark, in the middle of nowhere, being cold, exhausted, thirsty, slightly disorientated but hugely relieved and happy!
But it was the number of feet at the start that I don’t think I’ll forget in a hurry – they were everywhere!!

So that was 5 ups and 5 downs!
Doesn’t sound too bad now . . . . I think I’ll be doing the next one!

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