Race date: Sunday 10 November 2019
The Roaches was the last fell race in the 2019 Striders Fell Race Championships. With around 3,700ft of climbing in its 15 (and a bit) miles, it was never going to take any prisoners, but the relentless rain over the last few weeks made conditions ‘interesting’.
Six Striders made the trip through the south Peaks and just over the border into Staffordshire, some hunting points and titles, others just to enjoy the race. We started with the customary 2 minutes silence to mark Remembrance Day before the barely audible ‘go’ set us off. This year’s moment of reflection was given added poignancy by the news of the recent passing of Roaches stalwart and multiple English Champion in his age group, Barry Blyth of Macclesfield Harriers.
If you want to know what the route is like, I’d recommend Russell Stevenson’s in depth race report from 2017. This year’s conditions were very similar: a beautiful calm, sunny day above, with lots of strength-sapping bog and frequent patches of deep mud/slurry/unspeakable filth underfoot. Perhaps the course is twisted tribute to the conditions endured by the troops in the trenches of the Great War.
In the days leading into the race, there was talk of the race being rerouted over – rather than through – the river, but in the end it was no more then knee high and relatively simple to ford. The final climb of Shutlingsloe before the turnaround was a the hardest of the lot. As a pay off, runners were rewarded with a glorious decent through the long grass. The out and back route also gave Striders a chance to cheer each other on, which was great.
The race was won by Simon Harding (Macclesfield Harriers) in a fantastically speedy time of 2:02:51. Only two other runners dipped below 2:20:00. First lady, in a superb ninth overall, was Sophie Horrocks (Rossendale) in 2:26:14. There were 204 finishers.
|126||Rosa Sampson Geroski||F||03:10:43|
Full results on the Mow Cop Runners website
Photo of Nigel Barnes, courtesy of Frank Golden photography.