Race Date: Sunday 3rd November
Report from Jennie Stevens
Peak Raid 3 is a series of 4 navigation events in the Peak District.
On each event there is a total of 500 points to be gained from navigating to 15 control points over a 3 hour period. It’s up to you whether you walk or run (or both!), and you choose your own route. You can also run solo or as a pair.
The first event was on Sunday 3rd November in Alstonefield, not too far from Ashbourne. It was my first such event, but I went along with Andy Buck and Joe Buckman so I was in very capable hands. Joe kindly agreed to show me the ropes and we went as a mixed pair.
We were lucky with the weather and it was a very atmospheric drive down to Alstonefield, with the low November sun and mist across the valleys. Despite the fine weather on the day itself, all the rain of recent weeks meant that this was a very muddy run indeed, and hard-going in places, though there were some lovely trails too!
At registration you get an SI dibber (which you have to hire for £2.50 if you don’t have one of your own). You can then start at any time between 8:30 and 10:00 – just dib in and off you go. But hang on a minute!…The first bit of advice Joe gave me was ‘when you start, stop!’. You don’t actually get a map with the location of the control points until after you have started, so the first thing you need to do is stop, orientate yourself and plan.
Strategy plays a big part here. The points cover quite a big area and they are all assigned different points values, usually depending on their remoteness/difficulty to access. So you need to have a think about which direction to go in first, which controls are ‘definites’, and which are ‘maybes’. It’s worth mentioning here that if you’re back late, you incur penalties. 20 mins late means your points are wiped out completely! You need to have a fair idea of how far you are capable of running, bearing in mind the profile and the fact that 3 hours on your legs on mixed terrain is a long time.
Joe and I agreed a plan and we set off. Due to the staggered start times and option to go off in any direction you choose, you don’t encounter many people as you would in other races. For much of the first 1.5 hours we were out there alone, but in the second half encountered many runners who’d obviously chosen the opposite direction to us. I think that, had I been alone, on my first event, this would have freaked me out a bit – I mean – runners going the opposite direction to you in a race is usually a sign you’re going the wrong way right?! Running as a pair though, I felt pretty confident that we’d chosen the best way and they were all doing it wrong!
Things went to plan for pretty much the whole route. About 2 hours in we had to make a decision about whether or not to risk an out-and-back to get a 25 pointer. We decided not to and it turned out to be the right decision. Joe and I covered a half marathon distance, it was very up and down and wet and muddy in places so to say my legs were tired in the last 30 mins was a understatement!
We dibbed in at just over 02:44 and had collected 405 points. This gave us a respectable 6th place in the mixed pairs category. Massive thanks to Joe as I’m sure he’d have collected a fair few more points without having me huffing and puffing up hills behind him!
I consider myself to be a capable map reader but completely useless with a compass! I think that I would have done ok, but not as well, if I had done this event solo. Due to permission issues for open access land for this event, controls were all close to footpaths and public rights of way, and therefore superior navigation skills were not necessary. I think that later on in the series things may become more complicated as the event moves up to the Dark Peak.
For anyone like myself who prefers the trails to the road, I would thoroughly recommend giving this a go. It’s something a bit different, a different way to challenge yourself, and a lot of fun! Also, there’s hot drinks, snacks and cake afterwards!
Full results are here.
Highest scoring male was Steve Franklin of Totley AC with 500 points, highest scoring female was Sue Richmond of Pennine Fell Runners, who got 455 points.
Striders results as follows:
|Pos / Cat
|Caroline Fry/Andrew Fry||450 points||02:54:14|
|61st MIX||Jennie Stevens/Joe Buckman||405 points||02:44:09
|64th VM50||Roger Walters||405 points||02:52:17
|74th VM60||Andy Buck||380 points||02:37:57
The next events in the series are:
1st December – Great Longstone
15th December – Grindleford
12th January – Calver