Ulley Res Trail Race 2023 Race Report and Results

Race Date: Wednesday 21st June 2023
Race Report by: Laura Rangeley

Just a trio of Striders turned up for this year’s Ulley Res race, which had recently been culled from the club’s Trail Championships due to it being an incredibly busy time for races (I managed to fit four into a single week despite being on holiday for the Handsworth Hobble, probably not a recommended training strategy). Starting from Whiston Parish Cricket Club, just by their beautiful village church (I recommend their Christmas “angel trail” if you’re into dolls that look reminiscent of a creepy version of Princess Di), the race is a 4.5 mile route which goes to rather than around Ulley Res, run on largely well packed gravelly trails. It’s part of the KMR series, with this race organised by Rotherham Harriers. A very friendly bunch and a laid back registration greeted us before we were ushered up to the top of a field-turned-car-park to begin the race. In case you hadn’t noticed, it was HOT last week, but the evening was relatively overcast with the threat of thunder in the air, just to keep things nice and humid.

Due to the aforementioned four-race-week, I had decided to take it easy on this one and treat it more as an opportunity to run somewhere I hadn’t explored before, plus it’s 2 minutes from my mum’s house so we got our tea before we raced (a “light meal” of an omelette which fed us both thrice). My ambitions of setting off steady soon went completely to the wall when the organisers mentioned that about 200m into the race there’d be a bottleneck – a charge round the field before squeezing through a hedge onto a single file path – so I changed my strategy to “don’t be the last to the hedge” and ploughed off at a ridiculous pace, gaining myself a decent position as we headed into a gently uphill grassy section. This bit was single file, so it was just a case of trying not to hold up those behind me, which I was pleased to be able to manage.

Just under a mile in, this gradual climb led us over the M1 motorway which was a vista I’ve never experienced in a race before! I did wonder what the drivers thought we were all doing up there. The climb continued over a much wider, muddier section including a Massive Puddle™, before a road crossing led us to an absolutely glorious descent as we began to approach the reservoir. I gleefully skipped down this bit, pretending not to think about what it meant for the return leg!

Once at the bottom of the hill, a flattish but overgrown section followed with some narrow bridges and lots of nettles to negotiate. Single file again here, which became more challenging once the frontrunners started to pass me in the opposite direction. Fortunately there weren’t toooooo many of them before I reached the edge of the reservoir and a small loop taking in the dam wall marked the halfway point of the race. Gorgeous views of the nature reserve at this bit, which I enjoyed for a bit longer than I’d have liked due to an untimely shoelace debacle.

Photo credit to Andrew Roden

I was pleased and somewhat surprised to note that by the time I’d completed the loop there were still just as many runners heading towards me on the single file section as there had been on my outward journey. My take-it-easy race tactic finally came into play here too as I found myself behind a kindly man who was running at the exact pace I should have been aiming for in the first place, nice and comfortable without easing off too much. I stuck with him through the whole narrow section and then was able to overtake on the climb back up to the road – which actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, maybe all those attempts at something resembling fell running are starting to pay off!

Once safely back across the road it was pretty much all easy downhill to the finish, including a return trip through the Massive Puddle™ – one of those that’s running off a field full of animals and you know it’s almost certain to be poo-based mud. I traversed it safely which can’t be said of all runners, Jim witnessed one poor soul go face first into it – we think she may have been in the top three women, so I do hope she at least got a prize for being literally covered in shit.

I was really enjoying myself on this race and the finish flag came into view almost far too quickly. A little last chat making friends with a fellow runner, just in time for the photographer, and that was it – all over! The heavens opened shortly after I’d finished but we were able to take refuge back at the cricket club with a very reasonably priced pint of shandy and an impressively beige buffet. A great route, nothing too technical or steep (I usually inwardly groan whenever anyone promises me a route is “very runnable”, but this one really was!), good value at a fiver, well organised and really inclusive. I’d definitely recommend this one and hope it regains a place in the Trail Champs for 2024 to attract a few more of the green and gold!

The race was won by Matthew Martin of Clowne RR in a time of 30.03, and Catherine Eddison of Rotherham Harriers in 34.21. There were 150 finishers. Striders results below:

Position Name Category Time
39 Jim Rangeley MS 00:37:58
75 Laura Rangeley FS 00:45:23
121 Simon Gleadhall MV55 00:53:14

Full results here.

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