Weekly Update 16th-17 November 2019. By Cat J

-Despite the recent deluge, this weekend was fairly dry. Well, sort of…. A good thing too, as it’s been a busy weekend of racing with over 30 members out and about running their (probably damp) socks off.

-On Saturday 16th November Jo Coates took on the Beacons Trail marathon…

“Earlier this year I looked for an end of season trail or ultra run since completing my triathlon. I came across this Brecon Beacons run and thought it looked an interesting challenge with the climb up Pen-y-fan and the unpredictable weather that happens at this time of year. There was an ultra available although 2 lap course did not really appeal. I thought it was going to be an interesting run after the rain and floods leading up to it in the week and found at registration that the climb up Pen-y-fan had been cancelled due to the 3ft of snow and risk of ice. Apparently snowboarders had been up enjoying the conditions and could understand their decision to change the route. This definitely changed the elevation and resulted in the extra miles being added onto the canal at the end. Not sure which would’ve been more challenging both mentally and physically.

The night before meant usual good food prep which turned into mashed up pasta/slop, surely that would be good carbo loading! I had my usual pre race prep in the morning and started at the usual back of the pack. The run started at a later time of 10am making the risk of finishing in the dark highly possible. It was looking to be a chilly day for a run but set off with my thermal leggings and full race pack adding extra warmth.

The first 3 miles were on the canal before turning off and heading up the first climb which seemed to last forever with hidden summits. I managed to start chatting to a man who seemed to keep repeating his same story to most who would listen, i got it 3 times so took a short break up this climb to enjoy the views! The first check point came at 7.5miles before a rocky decent and then a mentally tough gradual incline for a few miles. I took a few walking breaks although feeling guilty knew that I had a long way to go. I caught up with a runner before heading up the iconic pathway to The Gap together where we should’ve turned off to Pen-y-fan. It looked very picturesque but understood the decision to change the route, although had to wade through so much water coming off the mountains.

After the gap it was a rocky decent for a few miles before the second and final check point. I got some stomach cramps which seem to happen more recently on steeper decents. Luckily the check point helped and once hydrated and fuelled with doritoes and Bourbon biscuits i went on my way. The next section was a narrow gully where I met the chap i had earlier lost, luckily this time i kept moving past and stayed on my feet over some muddy ground.

The final 8 miles varied a bit, i ran in a group of 4 for a bit before us each carrying on at our own pace. I managed to get a song stuck in my head on repeat for the last 6 miles: Rudolf the red nose reindeer – not sure where that came from and still I’m unsure of the order of the song! The last 6 miles were tough going along the canal but definitely felt relieved when I passed a few more people to the finish, even someone getting caught short by the side of the canal. The finish was a lovely feeling as the sun started to fade and to come back to the village hall, feeling fairly happy with my time considering the little training I’ve done recently. I definitely would recommend this route and event, some very scenic sections and nice local atmosphere and well organised event. Just maybe next time Pen-y-fan would be preferable to the canal!”

Sounds epic Jo!

-On the Sunday, three races were on offer. First up was the Derby 10 miler that went ahead despite the rain that that engulfed most of the original course… With some clever rerouting, 15 Harriers took to the start line, and for Belper Harriers it was a very good day with some finishing time that are simply amazing!

Shaun Bott achieved a magnificent sub 1 hour finish (with a pb of over 2 minutes) in 59:58. Although I don’t think that even he was able to outrun the rain…

Ed James was close behind and also completed the course in a swift 1:00:51. A big congratulations also to David Horton who crossed the line in 1:06:09 and was 2nd MV50.

Well done to all 15 of you that completed the course. 10 miles isn’t easy so I hope you’re having a well earned rest now! (and perhaps a beverage or two)

-Another option for the Sunday was the annual Mathew Walker 10K Pudding Run. Again we had a swarm of Harriers taking part and some more excellent results!

Ruth Keeley crossed the line in 42:23 and was 3rd lady overall. Nicky Owen finished in 49:26 and was 3rd FV45. Fantastic running you two!

Super effort by all 18 Harriers that took part on a rather soggy day, enjoy your puds!

-Fancying something a little more muddy, Julia Buxton & Andy Naylor headed to Buxton to run ‘round 3’ of the Dark and White Peak Autumn Trail Series in.

Here is a summary of the route from the series website….

Beginning on a quiet country lane approximately 500m from the Burbage Institute; it is a steady uphill to begin with but the gradient is gentle enough to allow you to ease into the run. After 1km the climb begins to bite, initially on the road before a steep flight of steps brings you out into open pasture. The reward for the initial effort at the top of the climb is an absolutely stunning view (weather permitting of course…) across the Goyt Valley.

The short descent down to an old disused railway line can be quite slippery and muddy in places so CARE will be required. The old railway (originally the Cromford & High Peak Railway) provides the first flat section of the route and with its good hardcore surface will provide fast running. At the end of the railway the routes split (3.5km) with longer runners dropping all the way down to Errwood Reservoir.

The short route descends south on a narrow technical path then turns south east towards Buxton via a meandering uphill valley path with a number of steep sections back up to the beginning of the railway. From there it retraces the route back to start i.e. up and over the summit before dropping down to the tarmac lane for the final blast back to the finish.

-A superb effort by everyone this weekend! Great to see over 30 Harriers out in full force!