Race date: Monday 3rd July 2023
Another fell race, another field, another hill, and the usual congregation of local club colours, internationally renowned mountain racers and a bloke dressed as a hot dog.
Queuing dutifully for numbers and ankle trackers, the athletes amassed in a small playground, a mere 16th of a mile in circumference; I was informed by a sign intended more for the infants of St. Michael’s Primary than us.
We were encouraged to the start holding pen just to the side of Sheffield Road on the tight bend as you come into Hathersage. Then after the final race announcements and safety gubbins we were ushered into the road ahead of stopped traffic ready for the “gun” (a chap shouting 3,2,1, go).
The race began on the road for around 400m, before heading up a tighter track. The initial blast is quick with people bustling for space. But as we find room and the climb becomes more rooty and technical through the woods the clamour settled into a single file of race vests between me and the sausage ahead.
Out of the woods the first mile finished with a little reprieve from the climbing on to a short patch of road and view of Over Owler Tor up in the distance. But before that and with the imagined whiff of mustard in my nostrils from the sausage guy (who’s race number devilishly read 666) we entered Whim Plantation for more single file climbing, to the calls of a Striders Cheer Squad who had cycled up.
As with a lot of shorter fell races positions didn’t change much, as they seem to be dictated by the first climb, most people settle into the pace of those around them. The climb steepened as we got closer to the Mother Cap and the familiar, if windswept, face of Abbie Pearse. The route flattened and the chase for Satan’s Sausage continued, now in driving rain, towards the steep short climb up the side of Higger Tor.
Plummeting down the other side of the climb I wondered if we would find out whether sausages really roll or not, but the faux frankfurter ahead gained a little gap as we passed the cheer squad again. The last two miles passed in a blur through quick footed technical downs, some road sections and a little kick up here and there. I finally passed Beelzebub Bratwurst on one of the little climbs before the final tarmac descent. The road was slightly greasy from the small splatter of rain and for those with larger lugs on their shoes it verged on treacherous, I was lucky with my shoe choice and passed a few people before entering the school field again, a last bit of hill and around the rounders pitch to the finish.
I finally have the answer to the question “can I outrun my food cravings” – yes, but only for about 19 seconds.
19 Striders ran out of 206 finishers.
The winners were Bertie Houghton in 29:27 and Phillipa Williams in 33:26. More importantly perhaps the prize for best fancy dress was won by Rob Hall for being dressed a Hot Dog.
|26||Seth Kirby||M Sen||35.50|
|28||Caroline Brock||F Sen||35.57|
|35||Neil Schofield||MV 50||36.57|
|46||Andrew Mansfield||MV 40||38.22|
|48||Sian Evans||F Sen||38.43|
|56||Jim Danson||MV 40||39.45|
|62||Jim Rangeley||M Sen||40.11|
|67||Ian Stinson||MV 50||40.29|
|75||Russell Stevenson||MV 40||41.42|
|84||Chris Brown||M Sen||42.26|
|107||Adam McAuley||MV 50||44.52|
|132||Simon Wiles||MV 50||47.28|
|171||Laura Rangeley||F Sen||52.22|
|192||Jane Huws||FV 50||57.52|
|193||Jo Gleig||FV 60||58.11|
|198||Vikki McAuley||FV 50||1.00.42|
|201||Ellie Bull||F Sen||1.02.47|
Full results are here: https://www.hathersagefellrace.org.uk/results-2023
(Photo by Phil Sproson Photography)