Edale Skyline 2023

Race date: Sunday 26 March 2023

Category AL fell race – 21.1 miles, 1373m ascent

Report by Louis Wood

In 2001, The Fellrunner magazine published an article predicting the eventual demise of the classic long distance Lake District fell races, due to dwindling participation. In response to this, the Lake District Classics Trophy was inaugurated in 2002, to promote these races and encourage participation. Most of the races threatened with extinction are now happily thriving. No equivalent race series or trophy exists in the Peak District, but if one was ever created, probably the first name on the list would be the Edale Skyline. This DPFR organised race is a highlight of the local fellrunning year and has featured as an English Championship counter on numerous occasions.

While the majority of Striders were out either running or supporting the Sheffield Half Marathon, three Striders preferred the hills and bogs surrounding Edale to pounding the city roads.

Conditions were pretty good. The strong winds of the previous few days had dropped and it was cool but not cold. Other than a few passing light showers, the day stayed dry.

I got a lift with Chris Walker and after negotiating the car suspension-wrecking field parking, we made our way to village hall for registration and pre-race chat. The race started at 10:30 with a steep climb up the zigzag path to the first checkpoint at Ringing Roger. From there, we tracked anticlockwise round to the peak of Grindslow Knoll and then headed west past the early hikers and the first of the few boggy sections around Crowden Tower and the Wool Packs.

Turning south the path gradually descends after Brown Knoll. This section is now flagged, meaning a fairly rapid few miles that stretches out the field. From there, a climb back up along Rushup Edge and over Lord’s Seat reminds you this is a fell race before the path twists and drops down the first of two road crossings at Mam Nick. After running up behind the Mam Tor summit, runners must weave through the walkers along the ridge to Lose Hill.

A steep descent – first on muddy fields and then along a foot-stinging gravel path – takes you to the second road crossing on the edge of Hope. Then it’s the real killer climb of the day – Hope Brink – a leg-burning, lung searing trudge up through the bracken and heather to join the path for a brief out-and-back section to the checkpoint on Win Hill. This is a good place to check on your progress and spy rivals!

There follows another long steady decent as the route heads north back to the edge of Kinder. The final few miles are a slog – steadily climbing as you follow the muddy edge path – before the final horrible decent back down from Ringing Roger, just as your thighs are crying for mercy. The final few hundred yards allow you to dash across the grass to the finish.

Both Chris and I were happy with our results: I hit my target time and Chris beat his time from last year. I ran it as a hard training effort (didn’t want to get injured before London Marathon) and Chris hadn’t managed to get much training done in the last few months.

The race was won by Tom Evans (Lewes AC) in 2:40:55. First woman was Emily Cowper-Coles (Denby Dale AC) in 3:24:10. There were 202 finishers and 17 DNFs – showing this race is tough, even in good conditions.

Striders results

Pos Name Cat Time
39 Louis Wood M40 03:29:52
177 Chris Walker M40 04:40:43
195 Sally Twigg WSen 05:04:25

Full results on the SportIdent website 

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