Race Report by Caroline Brash
Race Date: Sunday 24th March 2019
Saxons, Vikings and Normans (SVN) have built a reputation for delivering inclusive, multi-distance lapped Challenge Events where runners (or walkers) can choose to do whatever distance they wish within stipulated time limits (usually, as is the case of the Penistone events, this is six hours). Participants only need to complete one lap to be an official finisher. Initially these events took place in various venues in Kent; however, in 2018 they edged northwards delivering events in Northampton and finally God’s Own Country and Penistone! The company is also known for its magnificent medals and sumptuous aid stations (the pre-race email advises that there will be “none of the usual running stuff at Base Camp, so no isotonic drinks, fruit or energy gels, but there will be cookies, crisps, jelly babies, M&Ms, pringles, nuts and all that sort of thing…”).
I had taken part in a couple of SVN events in Penistone in 2018. In the first, a “Cakeathon” I not only came joint second in the half marathon distance, I also walked away with a “Highly Commended” trophy for my light-as-a-feather lemon sponge cake, an achievement I suspect I will never better. In the second (the “Very British Challenge”) I clocked up my longest ever run, secure in the knowledge that there was no pressure for me to complete a specific distance. This year I had already signed up for the Nice Work Monsal Trail 10k on the Saturday of the SVN Penistone weekend, so the plan was that my (non-running) daughter and I would walk one lap of the “Chocathon”, with the motivation of going away with huge medals, chocolate-filled goody bags, and tummies full of naughty food. In practice this would mean strolling one 6.55 loop of the Trans Pennine Trail, headquartered at the St John’s Community Centre in Penistone.
As with all the best laid plans, things conspired against us. My daughter was unable to take part in the event due to injury, so rather than lose the place I transferred it to my unsuspecting husband. Therefore, the day after achieving what were (for us) pretty decent times at the Monsal Trail 10k, we set off for Penistone to “see how things went”.
The long and short of it was that we ran, very steadily, two laps of the course, including a short break at the “Aid Station” to stuff our faces with cake, fudge, chocolate, crisps and sweets. With that Pete had completed his first half marathon, a distance he swore he’d never run. The organisation of the event was excellent, there was a comfortable mix of abilities taking part (several of whom had already taken part in the sister event held on the previous day), and it was extremely friendly (I lost count of the number of “well dones” and smiles we encountered as we passed the other participants on the course).
The results of the race don’t show clubs, but I think the only other Strider on the day was Rose Royles who comfortably completed the (slightly longer than) half marathon distance. Equally, I’m unsure as to whether any others from the club were among the 111 people who ran the Cakeathon which took place on the afternoon of Saturday 23rd March (in that event two people ran 6 laps totalling 39.6 miles).
To give an idea of the mix of abilities across the 60 people who took part in the Chocathon, I’ve copied from the results the fastest finishers from each distance:
33 miles – 5:41:23
26.4 miles – 3:25:38
19.8 miles – 2:09:24
13.2 miles – 1:38:55
6.6 miles – 1:06:53
Adam Collett ‘won’ the race, completing 33 miles in 05.41.23. Tara Spillings did the 26.4 in a speedy 3.25.38.
Three Striders took part, all completing 13.2 miles (two laps):
Full results may be found here: here