Silkstone Shuffle 2023 race 1 report by Laura Rangeley

Jim Rangeley, Seth Kirby and Laura Rangeley pose with their prizes at the Silkstone Shuffle 2023 race 1

Race date: 23 May 2023

Race distance: 4.5 mile

Race report by Laura Rangeley

The Silkstone Shuffle, organised by Barnsley Harriers, is described as a 4.5-mile hilly off road race, run over mixed terrain. It’s a mini-series, with the race taking place three times on Thursday evenings over the course of the summer. The first of these for 2023 was part of the Steel City Striders Trail Champs so there was a merry little bunch of us taking part. It was a gorgeous evening and a really friendly atmosphere at registration, where I was commended on my organisation for bringing along a filled in pre-printed entry sheet, a very Laura Rangeley move.

Once we were all assembled at the sports pavilion, we were shepherded over a stile and across a field or two to the start line of the race, on an easy flat trail. Quick race briefing, and we were off! The flat didn’t last long though, as the first 2 miles were very much uphill. It was all a bit too what you might call “runnable” for me – nothing too steep or technical, just a long drag on a gravelly path, the kind of hill that makes me feel guilty for having a little walking break. I stuck to my usual rule though of making sure I ran past at least one person walking before letting myself do the same, and managed to keep going at a reasonable pace for the majority of the climb. The course levelled off a bit as we approached a main road (via the evocatively named Maggot Lane, lovely!) – not a huge amount of what I’d really describe as “trail” so far but some beautiful views over the South Yorkshire countryside all the same.

A short road section past the Travellers Inn at Oxspring followed (where I spotted some familiar empty casks from my workplace Abbeydale Brewery outside, and daydreamed wistfully over the thought of a pint) before a sharp right turn started the return leg of the race. I enjoyed this half much more, I haven’t quite decided whether it was due to the decidedly more varied terrain or the fact it was mostly downhill. Grassy fields, verdant woodland, a few bluebells, clambers through gates and over walls plus a couple of stops for tractors were the main features of this section. Annoyingly one of my “tractor rests” was just as I was catching up to the group ahead, other Striders told a similar story at the finish! But farmers gotta farm and they all greeted me with a cheery wave, so I didn’t mind too much.

Eventually we met back up with the trail we’d started on, pelting down the hill before a quick dash through another small wooded section and a short, sharp sting in the tail at the very end taking us back up towards the pavilion and round the field to finish (not a full lap though, which I was very thankful for!). I was cheered over the line by the Striders men – Adam, Jim and Paddy all finished consecutively having battled their way around, Seth was literally miles ahead and had won the whole race over 3 minutes clear of the 2nd place runner, superstar! So as soon as we’d all finished we got ready to watch the prizegiving very proud of our Striders Champ.

8 Striders assemble after Silkstone Shuffle 2023 race 1

But this is not quite where the story ends! The women’s prizes were first, and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd placed runners announced. Then came the category prizes. First FSen – Laura Rangeley! My first thought was “oh wow, there’s another Laura Rangeley here!” and I looked around for my namesake in bemusement before realising they did in fact mean me! I was actually 12th female, hence my confusion, but ended up being the quickest under 40 on the night – some exceptional running amidst the FV40 and FV50s making these categories much more competitive than my own. Anyway, once I’d asked if they were really sure, I popped inside to claim my prize and plumped for a bottle of Shiraz. Delighted! Seth then collected his well-deserved choccies, before Jim was declared as “first senior male not in the top 3” (he came 2nd in his category, behind Seth), and got his own bottle of wine too (Malbec this time, which was a very nice accompaniment to our spicy sausage jambalaya over the weekend!).

Overall, not the most exciting of routes but a great way to spend an evening supporting a very welcoming local race, only a fiver entry too. If you’re a newcomer to trail running I’d especially recommend it. Barnsley Harriers run the Higham Hurtle in a similar way too, with 2 of that little series still to come – including on August 24th which is also in this year’s Trail Champs, so make sure to get the date in your diary.

The race was won by Seth Kirby in a time of 28.14. First lady was Vicky Shaw of Barnsley AC (33.10).

There were 89 finishers, including 8 Striders:

1 Seth Kirby MS 28.14
13 Adam McAuley MV50 35.42
14 Jim Rangeley MS 35.55
15 Paddy Treehowes MV50 36.16
40 Laura Rangeley FS 42.18
61 Vikki McAuley F50 48.39
65 Jo Gleig F60 49.23
82 Hannah Wright F 56.33

Full results:

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