Report by: Kathy Liddiard
Race Date: Sunday 5th November 2023
This was the final race of the 2023 trail race championship so a lot of Striders were in attendance. Some looking to obtain a final fifth score to meet the quota required for a place at the top of the leaderboard. Some looking to improve on previous scores. Perhaps others, like me, leaving it far too late to make an impression in the championship, but fancied a nice Sunday morning trail race. Having raced the Kimmy Kanter in the last 2 years, I already knew that the organisers (Kimberworth Striders) put on a good race with food after. This also might have had something to do with my decision to take part!
Various motivations aside, runners assembled in a corner of Blackburn Meadows nature reserve on a crisp and sunny November morning. Located behind Magna science centre, there was plenty of parking around the nearby roads with a short walk to the start area inside the nature reserve.
Number collection was straight forward. I had used the pre-registration online form in advance. It was a case of giving your name and paying the £5 entry fee (£7 if unaffiliated) and job done!
After a short token warm up, we gathered for the team photo before moving to the start line for the race briefing and the gunshot start.
The route began with an initial 1.5 mile lap of the nature reserve, which mainly consisted of grass-turned-mud thanks to recent rainfall. Some sections were more sloppy than others. On more than one occasion, I found myself wishing for XC spikes, but the trail shoes I’d picked that morning managed to hold up okay. The lap had a few turns but marshals at key points meant the route was easy to follow. And, apart from one very short steep grass bank, the route was as flat as you can get.
After the muddy lap the route then crossed the Holmes Lock Bridge and followed the solid tarmac canal path towards Sheffield for about a mile before turning back to return to the nature reserve. This was much easier terrain to negotiate with only a couple of wet leaves to contend with and where the previously-wished-for XC spikes would have proved useless.
I enjoyed the out and back element of the canal section as you could look out for club mates as well as gauging your position in the race. I had started near the front but hadn’t really figured out what position I was in until this point. I’d overtaken a couple of runners in the first half, so when they started coming back along the canal, I counted how many women were ahead and was surprised to find I was in second place behind fellow SC Strider Laura Mella. After the turnaround, I slowly caught up and had just inched ahead by the time we reached the end of the canal path.
The approx 5 mile route was completed with a second lap of the nature reserve, so we knew what was coming. It seemed muddier than the first lap, so I made staying upright my primary goal (which was thankfully achieved). I have never been in a podium position during a race, so with a touch of imposter syndrome in my head, I was fully expecting someone to overtake me. This didn’t happen and I crossed the finish line as 1st woman – a massive surprise!
Laura, followed shortly by Fiona, then crossed the finish line to complete a SCS women’s 1-2-3 victory! Sarah and Emily followed making the top 5 women all Striders!
The post-race buffet was held at The Travellers Inn a short drive away. The buffet was plentiful and tasty, and gave runners the chance to debrief in the warm before the prize presentation, which offered the choice of various wine and chocolates. In addition to the previously mentioned Strider women’s 1-2-3 clean sweep, there were also category wins for Adrian Fisher (male V50) and Sarah Allcard (female V45).
Kimberworth Striders put on a great event which was very enjoyable. I also have to mention the fantastic little girl with the megaphone shouting encouragement at the runners. It was an absolute stroke of genius and something all races should consider adopting!
There were 185 finishers in total, of which 29 were Striders.
The winner of the men’s race was Daniel Smith (Hillsborough & Rivelin) in 30:10. The winner of the women’s race was me (Steel City Striders) in 37:30.
|5||Adrian Fisher||M50||32.30||1st M50|
|33||Kathryn Liddiard||F35||37.30||1st lady|
|43||Laura Mella||F35||38.19||2nd lady|
|46||Fiona Jeffries||F55||38.30||3rd lady|
|48||Sarah Allcard||F45||38.47||1st F45|
Full results can be found here
Well done to everyone who ran