A 21 mile challenge for walkers, and 333 runners too, on paths, tracks, moorland and parkland in the White Peak about Eyam, Longstone Moor, Bakewell and Chatsworth estate and culminating along the high escarpments above the Derwent valley. The route joined together many of my excursions with the local club in Derbyshire.
After a bit too brisk 1.5 miles to the first climb, I spent most of the race in third place, sometimes second, generally 200m off the pace, my protagonists being a Totley AC fellrunner and a high mileage roadrunner from Stockport. Both had raced each other closely last year and both had improved since then. Typically the fellrunner would push on at each control or hill, the roadrunner taking a little longer then regaining the lead on the flat sections.
We were almost together at 12 miles at a short stiff climb through some woods, where I eased a little to drink and then took 3 miles to rejoin the fellrunner. He was complaining about the flat in the Chatsworth parkland, but saying he would catch the roadrunner on the impending climb … except he didn’t. I was still hopeful to get him though, and closed to near striking distance on the one-mile climb to Baslow Edge. Another mile along the top and I was able to press my advantage on the rocky path, then desperately legged it as the surface improved on Froggatt Edge. A 50m gap by the descent through the woods was enough to secure the win in 2:26:51, and very pleased I was as I’d had to work all the way.