Eccles Pike Fell Race 2023 report

Runners climbing Eccles Pike

Photo credit: Goyt Valley Striders

Race date: 9 August 2023

Race distance: 3.4 miles

Eccles Pike is one of those very old fell races that has an old-school “run up a hill and back down it” feel, and it’s all the better for it. It’s also organised by a club with “Striders” in the name (Goyt Valley Striders, that is).

I’ve not been running or racing much lately, owing to a combination of injury, idleness and low motivation, but for some reason this one took my fancy. It’s an old race, with records going back over 100 years, and it’s in a bit of the Peaks with loads of nice races.

On arrival at Bugsworth club (in Buxworth. No idea.) for registration, I was greeted by lots of Dennis-the-Menace (or Minnie-the-Minx) Marple runners, some tiger-striped Stockport types and a decent selection of other Peaks and Pennines clubs, but it looked like I was the only Strider.

After strapping my dodgy knee and listening to a race briefing which included an instruction not to knock down a) walls, b) fellow runners, we were off with the trademark lack of warning you get at races in that part of the world.

The course runs across the local football pitch, then doubles back onto a road before a sharp left over a footbridge that’s considerably younger than the race. Past an ongoing cricket match, we turned right and sharp left into the start of a steady climb across scrub and pasture, which gradually got steeper until a sudden sharp right took us into “might walk this bit” territory and up to the summit of Eccles Pike, where we were greeted by a surprising number of cheering people. A little loop and we were on the way back down again, into the oncoming traffic of other runners. Thankfully there’s plenty of room for everyone on the course.

The descent from the Pike back to the main track had me worrying about my dodgy-at-the-moment knee, but thankfully it held, and before I knew it we were back at the cricket pitch, where I failed to muster much of a sprint finish and got eaten by midges. Despite the name, the post-race goodies didn’t include a fish (been there, done that) but they did include a delicious Eccles cake.

I’d like to particularly point out that the marshals were super-friendly, which given the high base level of fell running marshal friendliness is quite something.

The race was won by William Longden of Buxton AC in 22:11, and Harriet Wingfield of Dark Peak Fell Runners in 25:29. 150 finished, including Trevor Faulkner, a V80 from Wilmslow who is who I want to be when/if I’m 80-odd*.

The results also include “team position” as well as gender and category, which means I have a “1st”!

P Name Cat Time Gen P Cat P
80 Matt Broadhead MV45 35:04 65 10

Full results:

*assuming he’s also nice

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