Whaley Waltz Fell Race
Whaley Bridge is a pleasant little town in the Derbyshire Peak District just 20 miles from Manchester. The town nestles in a valley which has the raging torrent known as the River Goyt running through it. (More of which later). The weather was ‘changeable’. Which could mean anything. There was talk of ‘full body cover’ being required if the weather turned nasty, but as we gathered for the start no one was sporting the fell runners bum bag, or fanny pack as the Americans enjoy calling it. The race was due to start at about 1pm and could only begin once the floats and bands of the parade had trouped by. By half past 1 we were beginning to shiver as the plaintive notes of the merriment drifted away down the main street.
Suddenly we were away and the bemused locals cheered us through the town. The fastest amongst us jockeyed for the all-important position, before the climbing began up the hill towards Taxal. With over 250m of climb ahead of us, and numerous obstacles and stiles to negotiate, it was a question of, put all your effort in at the beginning, or hold back and hope you can make up places later. I went for the latter option. It was a decision I was to regret as I stood chatting to a complete stranger as I queued for my turn to climb the next stile. As the climb got steeper my fellow ‘fellers’ were opting to walk rather than run, so to avoid being accused of ‘showing off’ I walked for a bit too. After a couple of miles I passed Sinead on a long climb who expressed her desire to be somewhere else with some colourful expletives.
The summit seemed to be getting no closer as we ran-a-bit, walked-a-bit over rocks and fields. Suddenly we had made it to the top with fine views over the Goyt Valley towards Chapel-en-le-Frith and beyond. A group of elderly ramblers clapped as we ran across the escarpment towards yet another stile. Wendy Terry at this point had caught me and scampered off into the distance smiling as she went. Now for the decent! The legs were tired, the vision blurred, but the resolve was intact.
A Stockport lady overtook me and 5 minutes later I got her back. Her short, muscly legs were pounding as we let ourselves go down an open field. She overtook me again as we entered the final twisty footpath towards the finish. I could see Wendy turning off the path into the woods. Could I catch her? We reached the river. Where is the bridge? People are teetering on the edge. Wendy is now just ahead of me. Splash! We enter the cold, brown water and scramble for purchase to get to the other side. Up a steep bank on the other side soaked through and another 200m to the finish. Phew. Stockport lady 58:59, Wendy 59:01, me 59:02. Great finish girls. See you again next year.
Steve Vernon of Stockport cartwheeled into the water to break the course record with 35:21
Chris Donnelly previous winner was 2nd with 38:13
Steve McCarron was 4th with 39:58 (and 2nd Vet40)
Duncan Hill was 10th with 42:42
Paul Barrett was 17th with 43:59
Oli Gailamin 44:08
Elton Davies 44:34
Aidan Raftery 46:04 2nd V50
Sarah Douglas 47:42 2nd lady
Ashley Lindsey 48:21
Matthew Spragg 50:22
Clare McCarron 52:37 2nd FV40
Duane Gaunt 55:18 (First fell race)
Janneke van Bejinum 56:09
Jackie Cordingley 56:59 1st FV50
Joanne Street 57:01
Helen Reagan 57:59
Wendy Terry 59:01
Frank Cordingley 59:02
Sinead Roche 61:39
Carla Ousey 62:31
Tracey Taylor 64:55
Janneke, Sarah, Sinead, Wendy, Carla, Joanne, Clare and Tacey.
Chris, (young McCarron), Matt, Brian Goulden (background), Steve, Paul and Ashley.
Posted 25/06/2017 14:27