Race date: Friday 17 August, 2018
Hob Hurst’s Fell Race is a new addition to the calendar for 2018, as the opening event of the Peak District Trail Running Weekender, which also offered a couple of other interesting-looking runs. This one starts and ends in the impossibly picturesque village of Beeley, just outside the grounds of Chatsworth. Once I’d squeezed the car in through the narrow gate to the parking field, I got to registration just in time to see the last on-the-night registrations selling out (there were only 200 places, and to be honest the village would struggle to accommodate more), and bumped into the obligatory gaggle of Striders waiting for the race to begin.
The race is a 5-mile lollipop shape, heading up out of the village through the delightfully named Hell Bank plantation (steep, but not as bad as the name suggests) before coming out onto the moor and taking a sharp right for a slightly watch-your-footing climb up to Hob Hurst’s House, the Bronze Age barrow that gives the race its name. There was no real opportunity to look at the place though, as the race turns here and doubles back, so there are runners going in both directions along the path (there are enough passing places). The route soon splits again, and the long descent back to Beeley begins. It’s gradual at first along a farm track, before a slightly more technical footpath, a fragrant farmyard and some lean-forward-and-go-full-pelt fields. Then you’re back in the village, where a couple of left turns and a group of Striders shouting encouragement bring you to the finish.
I ran this in fell shoes, but trail would have been fine and I saw at least one runner doing ok in road shoes. If we’d had a wetter summer it would have been a very different race though, as you could see quite a lot of potential mud and stream channels. The organisers also specified carrying a waterproof, as the top of the route is quite exposed and it did look like rain, but I don’t think anyone needed to use them. It was a really nice friendly race, and everyone I spoke to afterwards seemed to have enjoyed themselves. I’d definitely have another go at it.
197 runners completed the course, among them nine Striders. The race was won by Harry Holmes of Pudsey & Bramley, in 29:44. It was a great night for Striders women. First female was our own Caroline Brock, in 35:33 (and third female was Fran Cummins, in 38:23). Nicola Rafferty won her F50 category in 42:11.
Provisional results can be found at: https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/78cf0e_46669ba37f0a40a8aaddf2ede8abc6f4.pdf