Steel City Trail 10 result and report by Neil Schofield

Race Date: Sunday 20th November 2022

My competitive nature will one day be my downfall. In an attempt to overhaul Adam McAuley at the top of the very-niche M50 trail championships table, I had to attempt my first Steel City Trail 10 race, the formidable Porter Valley version.

Tales of the previous staging of the event did nothing for my pre-race nerves but as we lined up on the start line in glorious November sunshine, a world away from the torrential rain of the first race. After a quick run-down of the route, we were off up the bridleway towards Porter Clough.

Having been close to the front of the pack as we made our way up to the start, I found myself, very briefly, at the head of the race, but just as quickly the front runners found their feet and I drifted back to fifth and into a more sustainable pace. We were over the road in no time, the marshals at this point expertly holding traffic back as the runners made their way up the Clough. Anyone familiar with the RSR will be well aware of the climb, but just as we were about to hit the steep bit we veered off onto a much shallower ascent.

Thoughts of ‘oh, this is easier!’ were quickly dispelled as the road turned up once more and we were treated to some footpaths along farmers’ fields before arriving back into the clough, not much higher up than we had been, with the monster climb still to do! It was over a stile into the fields that Russell Stevenson allowed me to go ahead of him, and I was rude enough to take advantage and move into fourth place.

Up the monster climb I managed to reel in the third placed runner, but the steepness of the ascent wouldn’t allow an overtake, and as we reached the top where the RSR goes left to the feed station, we continued up, following the yellow and green flags with our calves screaming. Over the road at the top and into more farmland, the ascent continued. As the path widened, I assured the third placed runner that he would catch me on the downhill (when and if it came) and I moved into third with Seth Kirby in second a long way in front (but at least I could still see him).

The terrain changes quite a bit from the rocky-ness of the Clough to the waterlogged boggy-ness of Rud Hill. The path continued up, with a stile every now and then to give some respite and avoid a lung actually busting. It wasn’t until I was on top of the hill and hopping from tussock to rock to avoid the boggy puddles (who knew just how deep they were?) that I remembered to look up and take in the view. The vista of Sheffield laid out before us, with wooded hillsides and far-away tower blocks, reminds us of where the Council got the idea of their logo from, it really is a wonderful site. Then, far away in the distance I spied the familiar plume of steam rising from the casters at the steelworks near the M1 and was reminded that it’s work tomorrow.

Just as well I was drawn away as we then started to descend the hill and the eyes were needed to pick out a route that wouldn’t result in a turned ankle or knee-deep mud. Once off Rud Hill we returned to Porter Clough but stayed on a path high above the RSR route, with what seemed like a precipitous drop to keep our pace the right side of reckless. Back onto the main route we made our way down to the more familiar path and the expectation of a fast descent to the finish line.

That sadistic route planner, David Bocking, had other things in mind, however, and in a massive sting to the tail we were directed (by a gleefully smiling Joel Kesterton) up Jacob’s Ladder, just in case our lungs had forgotten what it felt like to press uncomfortably against our rib cages. No sooner had we run (sorry, walked) up the ladder, we were back down, some gingerly on foot, others by other parts of their anatomy, and into the final sprint for the finish line.

All the while down the hill I was expecting to be passed but to my surprise I had managed to hold onto 3rd place – Seth and Toby Ancliffe of Sheffield University Orienteers in first place were stood waiting, looking like they’d been back for quite a while (they probably had!) and we all stayed to cheer the rest of the runners through the finish line, and to guess who had managed to stay on their feet and who had succumbed to the bogs by the amount of mud on legs and bottoms.

In summary, the course was both picturesque and technically demanding, with a total of 1000ft of ascent over nearly 6 miles and was very well marked and expertly marshalled throughout. It was my first trail 10 but most certainly won’t be my last, it was a very enjoyable way to spend a third Sunday morning of the month. Praise must go to the organising team for what is quickly becoming a firm fixture in the racing calendar, this was bourne out by the bumper numbers turning up for this particular race. 66 participants finished the course, and the race was won by Toby Ancliffe of Sheffield University Orienteering Club in 41:16, and first lady was Sarah Thorne of Steel City Striders in 48:56. First non-binary finisher was Han Whiteoak in 1:32:21.

Striders results:

Pos Name Name2 Cat Time
2 Seth Kirby Male 00:45:29
3 Neil Schofield Male 00:46:28
4 Sarah Thorne Female 00:48:56
6 Russell Stevenson Male 00:51:28
7 Paul Remmer Male 00:51:46
11 Jim Rangeley Male 00:52:42
14 Paddy Treehowes Male 00:55:48
15 Laura Mella Female 00:55:57
18 Kathy Liddiard Female 00:57:37
21 Edward Brooks Male 00:57:50
22 Adam McAuley Male 00:58:47
24 Nick Burns Male 01:00:19
26 Andrew Cawood Male 01:01:11
28 Ian Stinson Male 01:01:35
29 Ben Heller Male 01:01:40
31 Andy Green Male 01:03:04
32 Kevin Haighton Male 01:03:25
34 James Lawrence Male 01:04:20
37 Emily Jones Female 01:05:33
40 Samya Armoush Female 01:07:15
45 Cara Hanson Female 01:10:45
46 Nada Ross Female 01:10:46
49 Laura Rangeley Female 01:11:24
51 Lisi Briggs Female 01:12:20
57 Vikki McAuley Female 01:17:33
60 Nicole Nield Female 01:19:59
65 Hannah Wright Female 01:40:00
66 Jo Gleig Female 01:40:04

Full results on the Trail 10 FB page

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