Race Date: Saturday 26th November 2023
Race Report by Russell Stevenson
A glorious cold, crisp and sunny day for the conclusive race of the Steel City Striders 2023 Fell Race Championships.
Judging by following social media traffic, this was a busy weekend of racing and recceing for a lot of Striders members, so The Bolt did not seem to bring in as many Striders participants as perhaps it would have done on another day.
Runners registered at Baslow St Annes School before a short walk down the hill to the starting point in the graveyard of St Annes Church. A brief and witty pre-race speech by the “Running Reverend” with an overhead drone for company. Fair play to Ian Stinson for the pre-race tip advising of a major “pinch point” where runners had to squeeze through a stone wall gap one at a time after only a couple of hundred yards from the start line, anyone managing to leg it ahead of the pack must have saved several minutes not having to wait around, think I did anyway.
The route was beautiful and very scenic, the first half of the race being very “runnable” in terms of a fell race, albeit the rutted and icy cow hoofed fields which were a bit precarious underfoot in the early stages, followed by several stiles, gates, more wall squeezes and farmers field gate trickery.
Runners passed under the main road back towards Curbar School (where the Curbar Commotion started only a few weeks previous) before a steep incline up past Cliffe College and onto Curbar Edge. The final 3kms of the route with stunning views below of Curbar and Baslow in the valley with the route taking a final ascent back to St Annes School and a chip timed playground finish line.
A very well organised and well marshalled event, one of the best fell races I can personally recall and with the finest visual array of buns, cakes, biscuits, confectionery and other sweet fancies I’ve ever seen post race, washed down with a free cuppa tea.
Some very good performances by Strider’s ladies on the day with some well-placed finish positions and category finishes.
I’ll be up for this event again in the future.
Nine Striders were among 337 finishers who lined up for the Baslow Bolt. The men’s race was won by Andrew Heyes of Dark Peak Fell Runners in a time of 47:59. Hayley Gill of Matlock Athletics won the women’s race in a time of 1:00:08.
Full results can be found on the Baslow Bolt website.