Race Date: Saturday 11th February 2023
The Tour of Bradwell – Winter Half. A trail race in the Peak District that could perhaps do with a slight name rebrand for the following reasons:
- It’s a bit of a mouthful;
- It’s confusingly called a “half” when it’s actually 17.5 miles;
- It spends very little time actually in or around Bradwell;
- The weather wasn’t very wintery (although I won’t complain too much about this one).
Having been tricked by the race name, I signed up in a wave of new year enthusiasm and as preparation for the longer races I have planned later in the year. Disappointingly an ongoing calf problem limited my running prior to the race, so I decided to just go along and enjoy myself rather than push for a specific time.
As there was no mass start to the race, there was an enjoyably relaxed atmosphere at registration. The use of GPS for navigation also wasn’t permitted, so I made sure my map and compass were easily accessible and leisurely made my way to the start.
The race immediately started with a mile of ascent up to Shatton Moor (A name that gave me several giggles). I started well, but regrettably my dodgy calf didn’t enjoy the steep ascent very much, so I was quickly passed by several people as my pace slowed to a walk. Struggling so early did knock my confidence a fair bit, but thankfully it would be the last time I was passed as my pace improved.
Soon after arriving at the mast on Shatton Edge, the route descended steeply to the first of many unmanned checkpoints, before heading to Ladybower dam wall. There I was rewarded with a meandering route up my favourite hill in the peaks (Win Hill), before a quick decent into Ashton where several kind locals gave me a clap and cheer as I ran past. The steep ascents came thick and fast, as I was soon battling against an unwelcome headwind and the mass of tourists taking selfies to the summit of Losehill.
Despite the hills, my legs were feeling good and I was passing more and more people as the route descended from Hollins Cross into Castleton and then up the beautiful Limestone Way. With the last hill out of the way and the finish only 3 miles away, I decided I could push a little harder having taken it easy for most of the race. This turned out to be a mistake, as I promptly went the wrong way and lost a fair chunk of time trying to navigate numerous paths exiting a quarry. Having eventually found my way I passed the concrete factory to emerge in Bradwell village for a short sprint to the finish.
Overall I would really recommend the race. At almost 1000m of ascent in 17.5 miles you get a good test for the legs and lots of lovely views. No GPS added an enjoyable additional challenge and the biscuit selection at the finish was impressive too!
It was also nice to bump into fellow strider Sally at the finish to have a chit chat and compare race notes over a cup of tea. In total there were 4 striders that completed the race. The race attracted 195 people. The male race winner was from George Coiley in 2:16:53. Female race winner was Becky Penty of York Harriers in 2:35:51.
|142||Chris Brown||M Sen||3.46.13|
|162||Sally Twigg||F Sen||4.07.14|
Full results: here