Wincle Trout Run 2023 report by Matt Broadhead

Matt Broadhead holding a clingfilm-wrapped fish in the sunshine

Race date: Saturday 10 June 2023

Race distance: 9km (according to Facebook)/5.9 mile=9.5km (according to FRA)/5-6.5 mile (according to Macclesfield Harriers)

Race distance: 10.45km/6.49 miles (Strava)

I had no idea this race existed (I believe only Caroline Brock and Matt Gibson (in 2018) have represented Striders previously, at least since we started putting results online) until a chance conversation with Laura Rangeley brought it up. How could a race with a trout-flavoured post-race giveaway not be worth a go? I immediately decided to enter, but it was full. I put my name on the waiting list and promptly forgot about it, until mid-May when I received the magic “Space is available” email and into the calendar it went. Would there really be fish for all?

Race day dawned very warm and sunny, the perfect day for a village fete, and sure enough on arrival all the elements were in place: a big marquee filled with food (grated cheese-and-carrot sandwiches are a revelation, and butterfly buns should be compulsory on all menus), a coconut shy, one of those things you hit with a hammer to ring a bell, a makeshift stage on the side of a lorry and, controversial for June, a maypole. Someone from Emmerdale officially kicked off proceedings, and once the junior race had gone it was our go.

The start was just below the field, and there was a short lap of a mile or so round the local farm tracks before the main loop of the race. The pre-lap ended in one of the most impressive bottlenecks I’ve seen, as 300 or so people queued to get through a small kissing-gate. As we ran past the local brewpub, a kindly person sprayed us with cold water to get us up the first hill of the day, back past the start line and into the main loop of the race.

It was getting pretty hot (27C according to the car thermometer after), so after another mile or so of open country it was a relief to hit the first of the day’s two crossings of the River Dane and cool my feet a bit. The organisers had thoughtfully strung a rope across as well, and after that they’d even laid on some trees to run under. I’d already decided to take it steady, given my history of getting cramp and/or overheating badly the last couple of years in anything above about 20C, but I picked up the pace a little and managed a bit of overtaking.

Then all of a sudden, we were in a fridge, or a rainforest, or some other dimension. The race took me on my first ever visit to Lud’s Church (Ludcruck, if you’re a fan of Alan Garner’s opinion-dividing Boneland), speculated home of the mythical Green Knight and probable hideout of Lollards. Despite being full of tourists and runners, it was an absolutely magical place, a narrow fern-filled valley at the top of a hill, dank and cold and very welcome.

Too soon it was back out into the sun, no shade this time as we doubled back along the top of the valley, cresting the top of the race and picking up a bit of speed as the end crept up. Not as fast as I thought though. My Garmin crept up towards 6 miles, but no sign of a finish line. I’d been had!

At last a second blissful river crossing took us back to the bottom of the small hill we’d climbed earlier, and finally we were back to the fete. Vintage tractors have never been so welcome a sight. I downed a glass of water, bought a glass of Wincle beer and collected my fish from a smiling man with a big polystyrene box. The fish is real, people. Believe.

This race is great fun. If the weather had been cooler I’d have been miles quicker, but the fete mightn’t have been so much fun, so I’m happy to have been slow. And the race distance? Apparently the location of the fete rotates between three different farms, so although the central loop is constant, the rest of it moves around.

Simon Harding of Macclesfield Harriers got round fastest, in 49:51. Kate Davies of Staffordshire Moorlands AC was first woman, in 59:42. 291 finished.

Striders result

P Name Cat Time Cat P
151 Matt Broadhead M40 1:23:09 41

Full results:

Footnote: many races have unusual facilities for weeing men. I particularly like the one that has a real urinal trough tacked to a board and draining into a barrel (Holymoorside?). This race had gone for a really stripped back affair. A sign pointed to the bottom of the field, just below the temporary cubicles. The “urinal” was three waist-height sides of wooden board, with a gap to walk through and a drystone wall making up side 4. Users had the choice of stone, board or a giant tree stump to go against. I chose stone, out of consideration for the poor soul who’d have to dismantle the thing later.

Footnote 2: I baked the fish in foil with some butter, lemon, thyme and oregano. I served it with parmentier potatoes. It was delicious.

scroll to top