Race date: 23 June 2023
Race distance: 4.4 miles
Race report by Jim Rangeley
Firstly here are a few fun facts about Tideswell, affectionately known locally as Tidza:
- It is referred to in the Domesday Book, where it’s listed as “Tidesuuelle”. At the time there were fewer than 5 households in the village
- Edwina Currie is the current present of Tideswell Male Voice Choir
- You may hear local residents called Sawyeds, due to a farmer chopping the head off his bestest cow to free it from a gate back in the day
A small field of around 65 runners, 6 of them Striders, congregated in a disused quarry down the dale from Tideswell on a June Friday night during Tideswell Wakes Week (sadly we missed out on the re-enactment of the aforementioned cow story which is played out every year by a local mummers group, bad time to be a cow). The numbers on this 6.5km race seemed pretty low in comparison with previous years, which usually sit in the 100s. The race entrance closed a few days before and there were no entries on race day itself, I’ve spoken to a few people that highlighted this may be a factor. But also I was running 4 races this week and others may have been more sensible.
We collected numbers and wrist band timing chips in the car park around the finish line before being shepherded a short distance and up a hilly bank toward the aforementioned start area in the old Basalt Quarry.
The heat of the last few weeks was tempered slightly by a short downpour not long before the race began, so this was a welcome change, before we blasted out of the holding area back the way we came down a wooded track, before taking a sharp left down the dale heading for Litton Mill. The steady descent was remarkably fast – I glanced at my watch for pace and was running quicker than my road 5km PB, oops.
After a mile of this, the route took a sharp right, over a bridge crossing the River Wye, and the hill began. It was about half a mile in total, with the majority of the total race climb happening in one steep go, starting off runnable and becoming somewhat less so. I relaxed my effort a little on the hill as I was aware of the Round Sheffield Run a mere 14 hours away. Reaching the top of the climb we were treated to a lightly undulating section before the steep plunge down the dale. It’s at this kind of terrain I felt a little more comfortable than the athletes around me. Skipping past a few through a wooded section before crossing the Monsal Trail.
While the earlier rain shower had improved the air temperature somewhat, the limestone steps on the final section of descent from the Monsal Trail down to the River Wye became a little treacherous. I took life into my hands and overtook a cautious person or two before we hit the tarmac again for a few hundred metres. An abrupt left turn and the final trail section followed, a reverse of the start of the race but this time with the gradient and the 3rd race of the week against me making it feel more of a trudge. Before the final bash to the finish at the car park, which came round quicker than expected with the race advertised at 4.4 miles but coming in just a tiny smidge over 4.
The race was won by Euan Brown of Dark Peak in 27.50 and ex-Strider Jennie Stevens now also of Dark Peak in 36.41. Full results here: https://tideswellrunningclub.uk/2023-results/
I won a spot prize of some race nutrition and a £10 voucher for the newly opened Peak Tri Store in Tideswell, being selected as “a man who looks like they deserve a prize.” Which is the only category I’m likely to win in.
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