Race Report – The Cake Race
The latest race on the fell championship was the Cake Race in Diggle, Saddleworth. There was still some snow on the ground and coupled with the inclement weather forecast, this meant that full body waterproofs, hat and gloves were required on the run. Everyone was subject to a kit inspection before racing.
After registering and dropping off cakes for the free entry (I had high hopes for a prize with the chocolate brownies I’d made in the morning), 232 runners began the race from the Diggle Hotel, starting up a stony track towards the moors. I was surprised how many entrants there were to this race, as it’s relatively long at 9.9 miles and I’d been expecting a fairly tough one with some nasty climbs. But I’d been totally wrong about that as the course turned out to be very runnable, with gentle climbs and even (gasp!) about 2 miles of flat road running in the middle section. There were, however, a few short ‘technical’ sections to keep it interesting, including streams to ford, narrow twisty bits of track, low-hanging branches to avoid and of course, the obligatory stiles. The section of Pennine Way we followed was also made more interesting to negotiate by the snow still lying in the dips. And about 6 miles in, just as I was smugly thinking that this race was the easiest fell race I’d ever done, I arrived at the jewel in the crown of the course, which is a long set of steps first down to the valley and then back up again on the longest flight of steps I’ve ever seen, leading straight back onto the hills. I attacked the steps, which was a big mistake and I don’t think my legs have ever felt so zapped so quickly with my pace dropping to an alarmingly slow crawl for the next mile and never really recovering again properly. I’d spent the last 3 miles closing down and overtaking a guy, but he’d been a bit more sensible on the steps and came thundering past me with a couple of miles to go.
All in all, this was a very enjoyable and scenic race and I think it’s definitely one to think about putting on the calendar again in the future. And no, somehow my brownies didn’t win the prize for best-tasting cake!
Two A&T runners made it to this race as below.
Astley & Tyldesley
Astley & Tyldesley
Full results can be found here http://saddleworth-runners.co.uk/cake-race-2016/