Beat the Boss – Dig Deep 2021
Jon has had a hankering for the Trail Ultra 30 for a while now, and a couple of weeks ago he finally got out and ran the route in full. For a little extra incentive on race day, he is offering any runner who finishes faster than him on race day a little extra prize when they cross the line!
Read on to see what he thought of his day out, and to see what time you need to beat to be faster than him.
What a way to spend a morning!
On race day I’m often a little envious of you runners; you get to experience the course, every twist and turn and judging by the smiles (and occasional grimace) at the finish, you all love it, so I made it an aim of mine to run the 30-mile route in June.
Obviously first speaking to my coach to make sure she thought I was up for it (thanks Laura!), the date was set for the 26th of June.
Parking opposite the Norfolk Arms on Ringinglow Road, I jogged down to Hangram Lane Farm. On race day the start and finish will be in one of the fields which are in use at the moment, so I opted to begin this journey on the road.
The first couple of miles are new to 2021 and wow, Greenhouse Lane is steep! Definitely one to pace yourself on for race day, you don’t want to tire your legs out so early on. The next few miles seemed to fly by, onto Houndkirk Road, over to Burbage, up to Stanage and then down to the bottom of Parkin Clough, trying to keep the effort as low as possible and the legs fresh. No chance for a checkpoint on this day, luckily I had plenty of water and snacks.
The climb up Win Hill, if you know – you know, is always fun. Hands on knees time, zero chance of running for me. Near the top I give a little advice to a biker that going down Parkin Clough on his e-bike was perhaps not a good idea. Luckily he heeded this advice and took the left path!
The weather was playing ball at this time, not too hot but warming up. The views from Win Hill were glorious, a quick snap of the trig point before heading down to Twitchill Farm and into Hope.
It was in Hope I saw the queues outside the Adventure Café and the smells almost added a fair bit of time to this day out! If you’re faced with that temptation on race day then good luck!
Over the back of the Cement Works and into Bradwell, I was beginning to run out of water, luckily the Co-op there was handily placed to top up my supplies and the double decker I bought there just hit the spot! Up Bradwell Edge, legs starting to feel a little tired before the sweeping downhill into Shatton and that peaceful trek alongside the Derwent.
What can you say about the climb up to Hathersage? It’s steep, feels longer than it should but if you have a chance, turn around near the top and you can see all the way over to Mam Tor. For me, it was a couple minute respite taking in the view that spurred me on to the next stage.
Once you’ve gone through Whim Woods and reached the stone sheepfold, it’s a good idea to head round the left-hand side to the path that takes you down in between Higger Tor and Carl Wark. Don’t take the right-hand edge, it’s boggy and not that interesting!
I arrived back onto Sheephill Road, 28 miles in with my car only a couple hundred metres away, only to then turn down Limb Valley. This is a lovely descent but I knew what was ahead and didn’t go flat out, for at the bottom it’s almost a u-turn to head back up past Whirlow Hall farm, onto Ringinglow Road and then up again! Whoever created this route must have loved hills!
But luckily that last section didn’t last long, soon back to Hangram Lane, and to the finish!
So on race day I’ll still be envious of you all doing to 30-mile route, not just because I want to run it with you, but because I know all the little sections that you’ll love, all the ups and downs that you’ll experience and all the fun (note – fun is a subjective word!) you’ll have!
My final time was 6 hours and 9 minutes, and if you’re up for the challenge of getting back to the finish faster than me then there’ll be a little extra well done waiting for you at the end!
And if you’re thinking you can definitely beat me, but you haven’t entered the Trail Ultra 30 yet, then what are you waiting for? All the details and entry links can be found here.