Race Date: 20 June 2017
Hosted by Valley Hill Runners, High Green this is another fun little midweek trail race that also happens to explore the industrial heritage of South Yorkshire. With race headquarters at The Packhorse Inn and advertised as just under five miles, its two laps loop intricately around Thorncliffe Wood and Newbiggin Wood. A mixture of technical paths and descents, fast flat running and five hills all combine to provide a good challenge of running ability and technique. This evening, with recent fine weather, conditions underfoot were like concrete so road shoes were a good choice but on another day this course would need a stud.
Five hills on a two lap course? Well, the second lap avoids the final hill, catching out some competitors so a lesson is to be learned: if you can’t recce the whole route at least have a look at the map first. Another tip is to get close to the start to avoid the congestion during the first mile; strangely however, many competitors didn’t seem to mind having to walk up the first hill.
Enthusiastically marshalled, trip hazards were marked with yellow paint. There was additional red and white tape although this didn’t prevent one individual from spurning his position as leading Strider by taking the wrong route.
Nine Stiders, virtually all of them veterans, ventured out for this race with Jennifer Rich bringing home the prize as first lady. First man was Alan Ford, Barnsley in 29:48. There were 140 finishers.
Both Thorncliffe and Newbiggin are Ancient Woodlands which provided charcoal for the local iron industry from, at least, the early 17th century whilst later ironstone and coal mining activities have changed their nature considerably. At first sight unprepossessing, these woods have a rich heritage and if you want to learn more about them, this is a link to the excellent Fuelling the Revolution website.
If you do want to visit, the yellow paint may be around for a little while.