John Hewitt Memorial Shelf Moor Fell Race report 2022

Race date: 25 September 2022

Race distance: 6 miles

The west edge of the peaks round Glossop is a good place for fell runs. The hills are steep and you can be in them quickly. This one is run by Glossopdale Harriers and named after their former chair.

Registration for this one was in a joinery workshop, and the smell of cut wood in the sunshine lifted my mood even before I collected my race number. It was a half-mile or so walk along a farm track from Old Glossop village to the start.

The race was similar to last time I did it in 2018, unsurprisingly, although I accidentally started right at the back because I wasn’t paying attention. Also there weren’t any fancy-dress nuns this time.

The race is an anticlockwise loop with a kilometre-long “sprint” finish tacked on the end. The first mile-and-a-half are a steady trot along farm track and then single-file path, and then the route designer clearly thought “this is boring” and threw a left up a massive great hill with a false summit or two. I figured I’d best try to overtake a few people on the climb, so I gave it what welly was available Once you get to the top, there’s a ritual round-the-trig-point and then you’re into a peaty heathery descent of the type I tend to struggle with. Sure enough I lost several places on the descent and was disappointingly slower on the second half than last time I ran this.

The sprint is really mean. It’s a dead straight farm track, but made of turn-your-ankle sized stones. The only way to attack it is by throwing everything you have at it and hoping you can keep going at the end. Then it was a glass of water, a stretch and a trip to the brewery next to race HQ for a couple of cans to take home.

Bar the lack of a gala at the bottom, this is pretty much a bread-and-butter fell race. Organised by a local club, less than 10k long and pretty much up-then-down again. And it’s brilliant, because when all’s said and done that’s the best kind of race anyone has ever invented.

Tom Saville of Dark Peak Fell Runners in 43:34 and Imogen Trinder of Glossopdale Harriers in 54:55. I was 76th of 138, in 1:04:29, 24 seconds faster than last time

Full result:

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