Race Date: Saturday/Sunday 23rd/24th November 2019
The Peak South and North Ultra is a two-day event with each open for lightweights like me who couldn’t face two days in a row. So I can only comment on the first day…
The event has its headquarters in Edale. Competitors are bussed to the start of the route each morning and make their way back. The Saturday we headed South to Ashbourne where the start was billed as being at ‘The Tunnel Entrance to the Tissington Trail’ presumably because ‘a car park out the back of a leisure centre’ didn’t quite have the same draw.
The underwhelming start continued for the first half of the race as it wound north along the Tissington Trail before picking up the South end of the Pennine Bridleway – another disused railway line. Don’t get me wrong, some easy terrain in a 50k race is always welcome but it was a little uninspiring. The fact that it was a nearly constant false flat for the first 15k was also a struggle.
At about two-thirds distance (just as you’re starting to feel it in the legs), the character of the race changed completely and almost instantaneously. It went from easy gradients and easy underfoot straight onto a technical descent and from then on there was no let-up. Stiff climbs, heavily rutted rolling sections and shin-deep gloop were the order of the day as we made our way to Mam Tor and down to Edale for some well-earned hot grub.
There were two other Striders in the race – one of whose name I can’t remember (sorry!) who was doing both days and another doing the Sunday only (judging by the vest he was wearing in the event photography!). Neither were registered as being with the club on the results, though.
For the Saturday, the fastest chap was Mark Burley in 4:30:35 and the fastest lady was Lucinda Beresford in 5:55:58 (who probably wishes she’d run just three seconds faster…). I finished fifth on the day in 5:35:00 but probably benefited a lot from not having to save my legs for the Sunday over Kinder.
Overall, it was a really well-organised event with the usual amazingly cheerful volunteers and aid stations tables groaning with food – I’d recommend it as long as you’re mentally prepared for the nature of the first half!
Full 2 day ultra Strider results:
Day 1 Strider results:
Full results here – mystery Strider please make yourselves known!