Race Date: Sunday 23rd October 2022
Race Report by Kevin Haighton
The Langsett Loop running event is held at the glorious reservoir of the same name.
Organised by It’s Grim Up North Running and governed by the Trail Running Association it consists of completing the 5 mile loop around the reservoir as many times as you opt for to equate to your chosen distance (5,10,15,20 miles, marathon and ultra) the marathon being a 5 loop plus an out and back and the ultra a 6 loop.
I opted for the 20 miler. This was my 2nd attempt at the distance, my first being the Rother Valley event in September when I proudly completed the course accompanied by the tail runner / walker / marshal). So, as the singing goes, “Things can only get better / The only way is up” etc etc etc!
The journey there was a nightmare, if you were running on the morning of that Sunday, and I know some of you were, you’ll remember the weather. So the usual mind games started! I wonder if it’ll be cancelled? H&S in mind? Surely you can’t expect the marshals to stand for hours on end in this weather? Would I mind if it was cancelled? Would I be pleased? A brief window of just normal, as opposed to biblical, rain coincided with our arrival and I think I was pleased to see that the race was going ahead.
It was a well organised and well marshalled / signposted event (our briefer had gallantly run / swam one loop as a course / river inspection) and advised that notwithstanding the monsoon all was well. We were afforded free parking at the Langsett Barn car park just off the A616 on the Huddersfield Rd and were allowed bag drop in the ‘Grim’ van.
It’s just 4 laps of Langsett I thought; and had in mind something similar to trotting around Dam Flask, but just change the measurement from the metric kilometre to the imperial mile. Whilst my maths wasn’t wrong, my mental image of the course, err, was! A fantastic route it was, but whilst a small portion was on path and road, most sections were challenging, indeed dare I use the word technical; and given the monsoon rains we had aquaplaned through to get to the race uphill became cascades and down hill waterfalls. So a mixture of some of the finest trail and fell routes on offer; indeed it felt like running a 5 mile trail / fell race four times.
Ninety-nine runners braved the elements; four ultras headed off at 9.15 am, thirteen marathoners at 9.30, six 20 milers at 10.00, thirteen 15 milers at 10.30, twenty-five 10 milers at 11.00 and thirty-eight 5 milers (that would’ve been fun!) at noon. My gang of 6 runners quickly adopted a 1+2+2+1 arrangement (speedy individual out front / me at rear and two pairs in-between us).
Refreshment was provided en route and at the 5 mile completion of each loop including water and flat cola (it’s good!) although you were expected to provide your own receptacle. By lap 3 someone had taken the lids of two huge tubs situated two thirds of the way around the loop to discover every kind of sweet including liquorice allsorts (my favourite) and many kinds of cake / biscuits, including rocky road, (also a favourite of mine). I did wonder if the provider of the rocky road may have been enjoying a touch of irony as it was on offer just at the conclusion of a very technical rocky road indeed which included large cobbles on the descent from the fell above the reservoir.
Notwithstanding the length of the course and the relatively low number of runners taking part, some overtaking and temporary pair / small group running took place with the usual very welcome support and camaraderie. Several runners belonged to the 100 Marathon Club, indeed I shared much of the third lap with a chap running marathon number 350. He was pleased to encourage me in my newfound adventure and wished me luck for my first marathon scheduled for next year in Manchester. Whilst in awe of his achievements I was able to give something back when, very unfortunately, he took a tumble on the fell section; which resulted in us sharing the rest of that particular loop.
Overall a brilliant event and highly recommended. I was the only Strider, which was a shame, but I still had a ball and would love to do it again. I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy the repeated loops, but I did, and I felt pleased with my achievement in that in my group of six, other than the sole lead runner who was in a league of his own, the other two pairs, like me, also took over 4 hours to complete as a result of which we were able to share some ‘afterglow’ / apres-ski post-race. All Good! 🙂
99 runners took part in the entire event, with 6 opting for the 20 mile race. Winner of the men’s 20 miler was Luke Newton (unaffiliated) in a time of 02:48:51. The women’s 20 mile race was won by Lyn Taylor (unaffiliated) in a time of 04:05:15.
Striders Results: 20 Mile Race
* No age category information available.
For provisional results visit the It’s Grim up North Running website.