Edale Skyline 2024

Race date: Sunday 24 March 2024

Category AL fell race – 21.1 miles, 1373m ascent

Report by Louis Wood

Edale Skyline is a long and tough anticlockwise fell race, starting and finishing in Edale. Runners climb out of the village up the zigzags of Ringing Roger, before traversing the edge along the path that runs approximately all the way round the valley. It takes in Edale Cross, Brown Knoll, the great ridge of Rushup Edge, Mam Tor and Lose Hill before dropping down to edge of Hope Village and back up the other side to the summit of Win Hill. A short out and back section leads on to the path back up to Kinder and west back to Ringing Roger and the final descent back to Edale.

Because of the time of year, the weather for this race can be unpredictable. Previous years have seen blizzards, or blazing hot sun – and sometimes both on the same day. This year it was dry and cloudy but with a stiff wind coming from the north west. It was warm when sheltered but cold in breeze. Despite the rain of recent months, there wasn’t too much in the way of bog. Most of the route now features either flagstones or packed trail and most people run in trail rather than fell shoes. I even saw one guy in road shoes. The majority of the hard running is in the second half, meaning those fast miles along the relatively flat western section in the early part of race come back to bite on the climbs of Hope Brink and back on to Kinder.

On to the results….

One the advantages (or should that be disadvantages) of many longer fell races is they use an electronic dibber system at many of the checkpoints. This is partly about safety – should a runner go missing in the hills the RO will have a decent idea where they may be – and partly to make sure the runner completes the full course. But for the competitors, it has the added bonus of providing both time and position at each checkpoint: a gruesome breakdown in numerical form of where it all went wrong (or, occasionally, vindication of how you got your pacing right). The joys of stats is further enhanced if you’ve run the race before, enabling you to compare how your race went with previous years.

I started off steadily, reaching the first checkpoint in 55th before working my way up to 44th by Mam Nick. I lost some places on the descent from Lose Hill, but made them up again to reach Win Hill in 46th. Compared to my split times in 2023, my pace was almost identical until Hope. Then I began to falter – 3 minutes down by Win Hill (around 16 miles in) and over 15 mins minutes down by the finish. I didn’t lose too many places towards the end, but masses of time. I just wasn’t fit enough to run that far at that pace and I paid for it in a painfully slow last 4 miles. My ascent of Hope Brink was also relatively quite fast compared to how I’d done on other sections, so possibly I overcooked it there too.

In comparison, Sian – despite having run Grindleford Gallop the weekend before (or perhaps because of?) – managed a much better paced race. From 98th place at Edale Cross, she steadily picked off runners throughout the rest of the race (finishing in 75th, 15th female) and covered the last part of the race significantly quicker than me.

Andrew and Michael’s splits show a similar pattern to mine, though not as marked: steadily climbing the rankings until the mid portion of the race before dropping back through the field in the last few miles. Daniel maintained a steady pace throughout.

Chat on the drive home and posts on Strava revealed a similar pattern – a lot of runners found it tough towards the end, either because they underestimated the climb in the latter parts of the course, or went off too fast. Or probably both.

The race was won by Joe Oldfield (Matlock Athletic Club) in 2:51:57. First lady (and 10th overall) was Emily Cowper-Cowles (Denby Dale AC) in 3:15:00. There were 200 finishers and 12 DNF.

The race was the second counter in the 2024 Fell Race Championship.

Pos Name Cat Time
51 Louis Wood M40 03:43:28
75 (15) Sian Evans WSEN 03:55:29
138 Andrew Mansfield M40 04:28:21
168 Michael Raynor M40 04:45:01
198 Daniel Horner MSEN 05:21:47

Full results on the Sport iDent website

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