Race Date: Thursday 10th August 2023
Ricky’s race is a 4.5 mile fell race organised by the Matlock Athletic Club around the Darley Dale area.
With the race being part of this year’s fell series and even the sun making a welcome appearance, there were a good number of striders in green and gold for the pre-race photo.
After a short walk to the start line, I positioned myself towards the rear half of the crowd due to an unpleasant knee injury gained the week before. As the race started, I soon realised my positioning mistake, as the route quickly bottlenecks into a narrow woodland trail with limited opportunities to make progress against other runners. After a quick assent up a muddy bank and a crawl through a hole in a hedge (A queue to use the stile was a less adventurous option), the route thankfully emerged on a wider tarmac section, before soon heading up what seemed like an everlasting ascent of a steep gravely lane. I decided to run walk this section to help my knee, but many chose to just walk, so I was able to make decent progress and make up a few places. My knee was holding together better than I expected, so after over a mile of ascent, I decided to push on as the route finally tuned downhill, back towards Darley Bridge on some fun technical and muddy trails. Regretfully my knee soon began to protest, so I went back to my cautious approach.
Following a walk up another surprise hill and more meandering woodland trails, the route reappears in Darley Bridge for a short road section to the base of what the route description calls a “great hill”. It turns out this “great hill” is grassy 1 in 3 lung buster! With my legs burning I gave the trig point a tap as I summitted and enjoyed the beautiful views over the Derwent Valley. My knee was now feeling happier again and as there was only a mile of mostly flat and downhill to go, I pushed on again to see what positions I could make. As I hopped over the final stile with the finish line in sight, Nick Burns and another runner weren’t that far ahead so I gave my all for a sprint finish. Despite the excellent strider cheer squad, I didn’t quite manage it, but I was really pleased to finish so well.
Overall a great race, with a fantastic route and lots of friendly marshals. I will definitely be back again!
In total 187 runners took part. The winner was Harry Holmes (Matlock AC) in 29.50. First lady was Katie Sloane (Unattached) in 35:02.
Special mention to striders Sian Evan’s and Sarah Thorne who were second and third ladies and Neil Schofield who was second in the MV50 category.
Ps. I still have no idea who Ricky actually is? 😊
|10||Sian Evans||Senior Female||35:15|
|14||Sarah Thorne||Senior Female||35:46|
|42||Jim Rangeley||Senior Male||39:06|
|69||Christopher Brown||Senior Male||42:39|
|133||Laura Rangeley||Senior Female||50:40|
Full results; here