Ladybower Marathon Report by Alan Evans

Race Date: Saturday 8th June 2019

Race Report by: Alan Evans

This was my first visit to Ladybower Reservoir in the Peak District and despite the wet weather, I was impressed by the beauty of the location. This event was organised by David Riley of Peakrunners and his fabulous team. The route was on good-quality tarred roads and trails which circumnavigate the dam. There were 95 starters all dressed for the rain except for me and another bloke in a vest. I normally cover up well in the rain but experience tells me that you get just as wet from the inside wearing a jacket compared to just wearing a vest.

I did find that one arm got pretty cold and numb but other than that it was fine. The start was below the dam wall near Fairholmes Visitor Centre. Registration was simple and easy and the race started on time at 9.30.

The route around the dam is very undulating and is tough going at times. The first section of the race hugged the dam on its western side and wound round its northern end then followed the opposite side down to the A57, crossed the road bridge and turned north again before taking a diversion over the high ground up Hagg Side and Open Hagg. This involved a steep climb up a track that gained about 500 feet of elevation in just over half a mile, just what was needed after 15 miles of running.

Up on the top, it was very blustery and had the added fun of deep puddles covering much of the track on the way back down to the dam. There were very enthusiastic spectators, especially a lady who cheered every runner on and handed out Haribo. The descent was very technical with large blocks of stone covering the track and roots covering the bank to the right. I need to take these slowly as I am not that good on difficult ground.

The last five miles was tough, but I managed to keep running the whole way and even dropped two other runners with about three km to go. Considering the terrain, I was pleased with my time of 4:18:08 and was 37th overall. I’m currently using marathons as training for a couple of big ultras coming up, so I’ve completed seven in the last eight weeks. My main focus is on getting my pace right so that I don’t flake out near the end and also on stamina and strength building for the hills. I also want to improve my running and confidence on running over difficult terrain and am working on this. I have the Five Peaks Ultra in the Lake District on 15th June so plenty of opportunity there to practice.

First male was Matthew Ma with a time of 3:08:51. First lady was Emily Berg with a time of 3:51:23. Club affiliations were not included in the published results, so if other Striders were there then please get in touch and we can add you to the results.

239 runners took part, with full results here

Pos Name Category Time
37 Alan Evans 4:18:08

Competitors gather for 2019 race, and a map of the marathon route


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