Rivington Pike Fell Race

Saturday 30th March 2024

Rivington Pike is a classic of the fell racing calendar, hosted by Horwich RMI Harriers, who are this year celebrating their centenary! Covering 3 miles and 800ft of ascent, it’s a “straight up a big hill and back down it again” sort of affair, and attracts a wide field of runners.

It’s quite a long way to go from Sheffield for 3 miles, but it’s one I’ve had my eye on for a while (partly due to the proximity to Rivington Brewery, who’s taproom was firmly on my beer wishlist), and when we ended up staying over at a wedding near Manchester on Good Friday that seemed enough of a reason to warrant the trip. Plus, it started at 3pm, so I signed up myself and husband Jim safe in the knowledge that any ill-effects of wedding booze would be well seen off by the start of the race. Oh past Laura, your misplaced confidence so oft comes back to bite you. By the time we arrived to collect our numbers, my tum still felt like a washing machine, my ankle was jeopardised by an over-enthusiastic Footloose dance solo and I was about as hydrated as a raisin, but a bowl of chips and a pint of soda and blackcurrant in the pub which doubled up as race HQ helped a little.

So it’s fair to say it was with some degree of trepidation that I lined up to set off – Jim was also not feeling quite as fresh as he’d like, but due to the better excuse of running the 72 mile Wild Peak Round just a week before (probably not helped by the table wine/Ibiza classics moshpit he started at the aforementioned wedding). At least the weather was nice, which is more than can be said for much of the past 6 months, and it was a great atmosphere with around 400 runners taking part and spectators lining much of the course.

After a welcome from the Lord Mayor (I think, we couldn’t hear a sausage), we were off! The course was an out and back, with the first and therefore last 600m or so on a pretty much flat road, before a right turn took us into some squelchy woodland and the climb began. The muddy track gave way to gravel path for a bit, before the gradient really started to kick in as we reached grassy fields – I was very pleased to (just) make it past a mile before the leader came hurtling down in the other direction at a very impressive speed – hands-and-knees sort of steep turned into a bit of a stony scramble to the top and finally the Pike Tower at the summit. There was a lot of climb in a short distance – it was tough, but by the time I decided I was getting quite fed up of it, actually, I was practically at the top already and could turn my attentions to congratulating myself on managing not to throw up, well done me.

The Tower marked the turnaround point and we were all very jolly as we ran a little victory ring around it before heading back down again. I’m a crap racer as evidenced by the fact I stopped to take some photos (sorry Colin) – the views were just absolutely phenomenal and the day was glorious, I had to take a moment to drink it all in and it’s probably somewhere I won’t find myself again. Also it’s hardly like I was on for the course record. Anyway, photoshoot over and it was time to descend! My skills at downhill fell running have improved over the last year, but I found myself hampered by a massive stitch, so took it a little gingerly on the steepest section before giving it a bit more welly once I was back on a more solid path. In what felt like no time at all I was back on the road and the finish line soon came into sight – unsurprisingly I didn’t have much of a sprint in me and lost quite a few places to more powerful and probably less hungover men in the last 200m but I still actually tried properly hard on this bit!

Overall this was a brilliant race that I’d massively recommend – the course is iconic, the atmosphere and support is super (Jim compared it to the Hallam Chase), and it was only a tenner. With it being the Centenary, we all got a cute little commemorative pin badge which was a lovely touch. We also stayed for a shandy at the pub at the end, which it turned out was the cure I needed for all my ills, and enjoyed a chat with Dark Peak runner Helen Elmore who won 1st FV50. Finally, 11 people were selected for a spot prize of Walsh trainers, one of which was me! A very nice bonus indeed.

The race was won by Joe Steward of Salford Harriers in 16:37, and Sara Willhoit of Mercia Fell Runners in 20:29. 2 Striders were amongst the 396 finishers:

157 Jim Rangeley (MSen) 27:13

285 Laura Rangeley (FV35) 32:01

Strider results

Place Name Category Time
157 Jim Rangeley MSen 0:27:13
285 Laura Rangeley FV35 0:32:01

Full Results



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