Race Date: Sunday 26th March 2023
Lads Leap is a great little fell race organised by ‘Glossop Fell Races’ aka the legend that is Des Gibbons. I turn up to these events both because of my love of fell racing, the fact I used to live in Crowden and Des himself (he’s a real character).
The organisation is minimal. This year we entered and paid online however there was still the option to do this on the day. We didn’t however get sent any race info so we all rocked up unsure of any exact details. Last year we didn’t pay online, I’d forgot this fact and not being someone who carries cash, had to borrow the entry fee from a friend. Thankfully, these races always have a later start time and the 11am start was very much appreciated with the clocks going forward.
The route itself is pretty simple. It usually starts and finishes at the entrance to the caravan park at Crowden however this year we started from within the caravan park adding on the road within the caravan park. I can’t say I was much of a fan of this, it’s a small section of road/track which isn’t particularly nice. The idea was to help spread the runners out before we reached the first stile however there’s a further length of track before the stile which I believe does the job fine. For me, the less track / road in a fell race, the better!
Anyway, so you run through the campsite, onto the track to the former youth hostel, over a stile, climb up past Highstone rocks and along to Lads Leap. After this you follow a very boggy path across the top before hitting a very steep decent which then cuts left into the top of the forest where a track takes you on a steady accent gradually re-joining the boggy top path, back past Lad Leap and follow the same route home.
For myself the race wasn’t a good one. I felt fine along the first section of track and thought it was going to be a good race. As soon as I hit the hill, it was a different story. I walked just about the entirety of the first hill and didn’t enjoy the bog. At one point, I choose to stop halfway through the bog. I stood to one side, looked ahead at all the runners and back at where we’d came from and started to wonder if I’d be best just turning back. A chap passed and asked “are you ok” to which I replied “just reconsidering my life choices”. I carried on and tried to change my mindset from race to enjoyment. In my desperation to try and fix myself and make myself feel better I chose to consume a gel that I had in my pack, leftover from a recent long run. I felt like a right pillock having a gel on a 6 mile fell race however it was desperate times. Eventually I got myself back to the finish and will return next year to do it again, but better.
Someone once posted on facebook asking what gift they should get their wife who had recently started enjoying fell running. My answer was a nail brush. I’m not popular for it however I have a scrubby brush in my shower (more commonly seen by your kitchen sink) as well as a nail brush and even after a thoroughly good scrub, there was still mud stuck to me. For me it’s a bit like war paint and half of my love for the sport. Nothing makes me happier than peeling off my socks to be able to clearly see were your sock was due to the heavy caking of mud on your legs. If you like fell running, it’s definitely worth the drive to do these races. I’m not sure on the date however I plan to attended the Crowden Horseshoe later in the year, I hope to see you there!
Other highlights include the first lady being announced as Caroline Brack (Caroline Brock), Jennie Slevens (Jennie Stevens) and a chap that ran with a prosthetic leg! We were worried about loosing our shoes in the bog, his stakes were much higher!
The male winner was Alex jackson (unattached) in 52.50. The female winner was our own Caroline Brock in 1.04.11