Thanks to Hilary Bevan for the write up
The MaD Races “Race the Train” on 8th March was one of the last races before lockdown so it was only fitting that one of the first races back was another of their great trail events “Falls & Castle” on Sunday 27th September.
There was an 18 mile option (shortened to around 17 miles to make it more COVID-19 secure) plus a 7 mile option.
Each route stared and finished at Bolton Castle which was a glorious location but because of its position halfway up a massive hill meant that the race both started and finished with an uphill slog!
Some excellent performances from attending Harriers…with James Largey taking first overall, 16 minutes quicker than anybody else.
Well done everyone
18 Mile Race (Men)
18 Mile Race (Women)
7 Mile Race (Women)
What They Said
We were all naturally apprehensive about doing a race in the current climate but Carol and the Team were so on top of things we needn’t have had any concerns. From the socially distanced registration and checkpoints to being set off in groups of 6 everything had been thought of and it felt entirely safe the whole time. The pre-run briefing was sent in advance as a YouTube video and there were also videos showing how the start area and water stations would work which was great for setting our minds at ease before we got there. It was lovely to see runners from other clubs and have a catch up before the start, albeit through face masks and at a distance.
The route was clearly marked and easy to follow which was a relief as at some points you could have been the only people in the world. There were marshals at key junctions and they were all cheerful and friendly and very supportive.
The big feature of the race (and I do mean BIG) is THE HILL. With a 2 mile ascent, a mile at the top of what can really be described as peaty bog given the recent weather and 1150ft descent in a mile, your legs are really starting to feel it at this point – and you still have over 10 miles to go!! The temptation was to run once you’d reached the peak of the hill but the boggy paths littered with stones and tree roots made that a different sort of challenge.
By comparison, the second half is a lot flatter. But don’t be fooled into thinking the means easy! The is still a lot on ‘undulation’ – and we all know what that really means (!), as well as many other obstacles to look out for. Wet stepping stones at mile 13? Cows sleeping in the path? Last 800m a huge uphill back to The Castle?
“One of the hardest races I’ve done in a long time. Don’t be expecting any PBs over the distance but the countryside and the views are second to none. I stopped at one point and looked around and felt like I had the whole of Yorkshire to myself, with not another soul in sight.”
“It’s technically the toughest race I’ve ever done but I loved every step. The hill was a killer but the view at the top was worth it. It really did feel like we were the only people in the world and it makes you realise how privileged we are to live in such a beautiful place. I’ll definitely be signing up for next year.”
All in all, it was a superbly organised, challenging, but fantastically beautiful race.
Full results are now published and you can view them HERE