A/S 6.1km/323m, 3.8 miles/1050' (GPS permitted).
Middleton Harriers were the hosts of this race which is part of the Run the Moors championship this year. The race website describes it as a lung-buster and it certainly lives up to its billing. Although there’s nothing particularly steep and it’s all on trails, it’s 3.8 miles of constant ups and downs, so you run hard all the way around. You probably couldn’t design a better hill training course, so it’s absolutely fantastic as a training run.
The route starts at the bottom of a small road, and begins slightly uphill with about 250 yards before a sharp right turn through a narrow gate onto the trails. A lot of people get drawn into the trap of racing to the pinch-point but this is only the start of the longest hill in the race which does get gradually steeper and steeper, forcing the breath from your lungs and it’s easy to judge it wrongly. I took the option of starting easy and keeping my pace, so I arrived at the gate in about 40th place and whilst I didn’t push it too hard, I was in 12th by the top as people started dropping back after their racing start. The fools, hahaha!
A long quad-shredding descent follows the first ascent, and some people get carried away into attacking this straight after a long ascent, and with most of the course still to do, a few will have been regretting this decision 10 minutes later. The fools, hahaha!
The course then heads out through the forest and onto the moors with some gently rolling hills for a mile or 2 before getting to the good bit, a longish technical descent which eventually ends at a gap with 3 metal posts in the middle of it and cushions taped around them in case you misjudge it. I’d noticed some runners at the start wearing road shoes, which they would probably get away with for much of the course, but not on this descent and I pictured some of them tiptoeing carefully down. The fools, hahaha!
There’s then about half a mile through the forest trails until you get back to the quarry and you can see the finish line just around the corner. Unfortunately, even though you’re on your last legs by this point, you’ve still got about a mile of running to go, so it’s particularly galling to have to run past the finish line and many racers must have had a big disappointment here if they didn’t know the course properly. The fools, hahaha!
Eventually I got to the finish line in 6th place and Carl joined me shortly afterwards in a very creditable 12th. We chatted to some other racers, but the midges started eating us, so we headed off via some cake.
Results can be found at the link below.