Steel City Trail 10k Whirlowbrook hall report

Race Date: Sunday 15th August 2021

Could the Outdoor City host a regular 10k Sunday morning trail race? A question SCS and the city council have been pondering this year, when news came the Longshaw Trust 10 was cancelled until further notice.

Key issues for the council are: could such a race support conservation? Can it draw in runners from all over the city? Can you get there by public transport, walking or cycling rather than having to drive 10 miles to take part? Will it be challenging, but still possible for relative newcomers to trail running?

The inaugural Steel City Trail Ten trial run was held on Sunday 15th August: not a race, but a simple ‘how can we make it work’ morning for around 25 runners and 20 volunteers – and thanks all of you for attending.

The course is a double figure of 8 circuit through the woods and trails of Whirlowbrook Park, with short start and finish sections along the driveway. Taking a seldom used and very bumpy track through the woods and fields (where course markers were met by three roe deer early in the morning) means runners get the chance to hurtle down much of the Limb Valley Trail twice (not just once as per the Round Sheffield Run), with further detours through local woods and farmland.

Plenty of stiles, rocks and tree roots make the route ‘technical’ I’m told, but we still think it’ll work as a ‘can I actually get round 10k of this’ adventure for newcomers to trail running inspired to take to the quiet trails of Sheffield during lockdown. There’ll also be an approx 5K bail out point for those not keen on the full 9.85K.

Long term, if the council agree, the plan is to move the SCTT around the city in rotation, with a different venue every month. Shire Brook Valley Nature Reserve, Loxley Valley, Parkwood Springs, Gleadless and Grenoside are all being considered as other venues. The plans is there’ll be a small entry fee of around £3 to cover costs and make the event sustainable long term and allow an SCS event to support donations to local conservation causes. We’re also looking at Trunce stile ‘race numbers for life’ to make life simpler for everyone. Sometimes green and tight fisted Yorkshire practices sit hand in hand.

The first trial run at Whirlow was not a race, but the first two runners back were Fiona Kesteven from Totley AC followed by our own Sian Evans.

What we hope is the final trial run of the trail run will be on Sunday 12th Sept, 8.45 start for runners, 8 for volunteers. We know it’s the same day as other fell and trail races, but if you’re not taking part in those, please come along if you can. And if all goes well, watch SCS social media for announcements about the first actual race, hopefully this autumn.

More info on the route:

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