Accelerate Gritstone Series

Race Reporting: Castleton 2012

Monsoon Fell Race

Drizzle, Rain, Monsoon and Ice Pellets!!

Report By Matt Ridge, Totley AC.

For my first attempt at a fell race further afield than my ‘home’ races of Totley AC, I thought I’d give Castleton a try. I was aware it had a reasonable (understatement) climb in it, but surely a bit of light rain would keep me cool?

After a misty drizzly drive from Sheffield with three other Totleyites in the A-Team bus we parked in the misty drizzly car park at Castleton and were told the forecast was mist and drizzle. No surprises then. The weather got progressively worse and I made the decision to wear my goretex jacket (that I usually wear to work!) under my vest. Best decision I ever made as after the race started and we began the climb up Lose Hill the weather got worse, my feet were soaked and I started to feel older. Plenty of fellow runners were game for a bit of banter on the way up: “Why are you doing this?” Reply: “I don’t know”.

At the top of the hill with the rain now blowing uphill at a nice angle into my eyes I was strangely enjoying the experience. A battle along the ridge, climbing higher at points up to Mam Tor, and only managing to turn my ankle once on a submerged stone, it was time for my calves to start aching in an unknown way. The turn and the steady trot back to base couldn’t come soon enough, and I was also gaining motivation from my fellow runners with looks of relief flying back down the hill past me.

The roar from the immense crowd of 3 marshalls at the finishing line spurred me on to a fast finish and some well earned champ points. I found the rest of the fell runners crammed into the hut in the field and everyone looked suitably pleased with themselves. I’m hooked on this fell running lark and the weather can only add to the fun.

Back in Sheffield myself, and 3 other victors (we all won today!) of the Castleton race went for a curry and a couple of drinks. And my calves were very happy in their natural environment once more.

Fast fading light on the ridge above Castleton, Back Tor behind, Mam Tor ahead.

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