Accelerate Gritstone Series

Race Reporting: Castleton 2010

Castleton Fell Race, June 4th 2010
Once again fell runners came out in force for Round 3 of the Accelerate Gritstone Series. Entries were again way up on last year with over 240 toeing the start lane on a sunny summers evening. The odd roll of thunder could be heard in the distance and race organisers, Charlie and Stuart, were hoping the clouds would stay high, keeping the rain at bay.
Castleton is also the only race in the series that has a junior race and the prize presentation for this took place with the seniors lined up and ready for the off.

The Series Leaders, Stuart Bond and Helen Elmore, were both on hand along with many of the Vet leaders and it proved that places would be hard fought with what turned out to be a number of ‘Private Battles’ taking place during the race. Mike Nolan and Graham Moffatt were no exception and it was clear these two would be racing hard and keeping one another firmly in their respective sights.

The race would be won early on, but not without a fight.

Stuart made the first call of the day, electing to use his speed to get him away, fast, on the road out before the punishing climb to the summit of Loose Hill. By the time he had passed over the summit, had cleared Back Tor he was away and clear by Hollins Cross, with what appeared a remarkable lead. At this point it seemed the course record was in danger.

For Helen, it seemed tactics were also fairly straightforward. Run fast from the start, whilst leaving a little in the tank for the climb to Loose Hill. From the gun to just below that first summit Zanthe Wray was in close attandance and it was here that Helen took the opportunity to open up a gap and take the lead.

For both Stuart and Helen this is how things were to stay. Stuart missed the course record by a mere 30 seconds, whilst Helen’s time is as I write, waiting to be confirmed by the organisers.

For many others it was a great evenings racing and fell running on what is a deceptively tough course with a blend of fast running and technical ‘fast feet’ descents. As to the speed of Richard Snowdon on the decent from Hollins Cross, well, wow!

In a little over a weeks time attention turns to Round 4 and the Edale Fell Race, all part of the Edale Country Day – a great day out for all the family and one superb event that takes in the edge of Kinder. See you there.

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