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Peak District Challenge 100k Ultra

20-Sep-2019 Hathersage, Derbyshire, UK (England)

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Trail Race Race Terrain
100KM / 62Miles
1 Day - 50 Runners

Alternate Distances: 75KM/47M 50KM/31M 25KM/16M 10KM/6M

DIFFICULTY Race Difficulty Brutal  

Entry From £62 GBP

Featuring extra ascent (3300m in total), the 100km Gold Ultra route is the ultimate Peak District Challenge, and should be attempted by teams of fit and experienced trekkers or runners who want to see the best that the Peak District has to offer.

You’ll visit high points and viewpoints on your way between checkpoints, and there is a lot of climbing involved. If you fall behind on the Gold challenge, you could switch to the 75km Silver route, which follows the shortest, flattest distance between checkpoints.

To be successful, you’ll need to average over 4kph to complete the Gold Challenge inside your 24 hour target.

The route: Detailed route information is be provided to entrants seven days before the event, but a broad overview of the provisional route is below.

You’ll visit high points and viewpoints on your way between checkpoints, and there is a lot of climbing involved. You’ll leave Hathersage at 9pm on the night of Friday 20 September 2019. Night navigation experience is essential.

Your challenge begins with a walk up on to the Dark Peak moors. You will cross Stanage edge, site of Robin Hood’s cave, and Moscar Cross Road to reach and start your climb over Derwent Moors. Next it’s a descent to Ladybower Valley and an easy flat section around Ladybower reservoirs where the Dambusters trained for their bombing missions in WWII.

As dawn breaks, you will climb to the geological oddity of Alport Castle, before descending to a section of well-made tracks round to popular Castleton.

Turning back north, you’ll ascend to Hollins cross and continue to the head of the Vale of Edale and the next climb to Jacobs Ladder and stunning views over Hayfield. You are given a short break in navigational difficulty as tracks and lanes lead to Peak Forest in the white Peak and the valley nature reserve at Hay Dale.

Your map will come out again as a mixture of paths and tracks lead between a string of pretty villages in the undulating limestone landscape, finally leading to Calver on the river Derwent.

The final section of the challenge takes you past popular climbing venues on the eastern gristone edges above Curbar, Froggatt and Burbage. Your challenge draws to a close with dusky views over the river Derwent and a final climb over Owler Tor before the final grassy slope down home to Hathersage.

Will you make it inside the 24 hour target?

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Event Organiser
Liz Forshaw

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Beginner

Elevation: Very little change < 500 metres. Benign running terrain, not technical.

Suitable for: First ultra runners completing a marathon or doing regular long distance running in the last six months.

Intermediate

Elevation: Increase of up to 1000 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed at least one ultra distance race (or similar event) or are doing long distance running (>26 miles) regularly, with elevation shown.

Advanced

Elevation: Increase of up to 1500 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed several ultra distances or similar events, or are doing long distance running regularly, with elevation shown.

Expert

Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with some challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity or heat) and or technical terrain

Suitable for: Experienced runners who have completed at least regular ultra distances in last 12 months, or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races may be subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements.

Brutal

Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with very challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity, heat or at high altitude) and or technical terrain.

Suitable for: Very experienced long distance ultra runners (min 3 years’ experience) or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races is often subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Purchase of specialist kit is often recommended for these races.

Review Peak District Challenge 100k Ultra

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DanielStinton

10:02 25-10-18

5am alarms are usually reserved for going on holiday, but as I leap (stumble) out of bed it’s for an entirely different reason. It’s to get a train out to Hathersage for the 50km Peak District Challenge which I’m running as a duo with Michelle Edye. We’ve both been putting the miles and pork pies in over the last few months, with lots of training sessions out in the Peaks, so are hoping we’ll be ready for the challenge ahead. This is a running/walking event, so when we arrive at the registration hall I use my powers of perception to weigh up the competition and I decided they were running if they were wearing shorts…… scientific I know. Given the lack of legs on show it looked like most of the entrants were going for the walking option.

We’d all received our checkpoint info about a week before and we’d had a busy route planning session linking up the checkpoints, plotting onto paper maps and studying every inch of the route, however it will soon become clear that this wasn’t true at all. Once we’d planned it I transferred the route onto Strava and uploaded to my GPS. Whilst I think we’re both pretty comfortable with navigation, the plan was to leave the maps in the bag and use my GPS watch the whole way which meant far less stopping and more time running.

Suddenly, we were off around 8:30am and trotted down the lane merrily. The weather was pleasant, conversation was flowing, birds were singing (probably) so everything was going amazingly to plan. I think we had a few minor thoughts that this didn’t seem to be the route we planned, but being slaves to technology, completely ignored it. It was when a gentlemen told us we were heading towards Froggatt edge that faint alarm sleigh bells started jingling in the back of my mind. Froggatt edge was at the end of the route wasn’t it? We stopped and consulted the map, which I’m sure had an “I told you so” look all over it. Sure enough we’d started going clockwise round the route instead of anti-clockwise!

Having already done 7km and some not-insignificant uphill the best thing we could think of doing was sit down on a rock. Michelle phoned the race organisers who offered to pick us up, but the damage was done and there was no way we wanted any ferrying around, so we decided just to carry on. 50km is 50km whichever way round you do it!

The people manning the first checkpoint seemed vaguely surprised to see us, which was an entirely understandable reaction considering they were actually the last checkpoint. Nevertheless we explained our situation, ate their lovely flapjacks and continued along the route. With the initial disappointment out of the way we started enjoying the fantastic views and ticking off the miles. It actually turned out to be a good experience as sometime around halfway we started seeing other entrants coming towards us who we recognised from registration and who looked slightly surprised to see us! Clearly we were anti-establishment, the renegades, flouting the rules of the race!

The deeper we got into the route, the more people we came across coming the other way, all trying to give each other encouragement that “lunch checkpoints weren’t far away” which really depends on your definition of far. Or lunch. We met various runners on other (much-longer) ultra-races and most seemed happy to pause for a quick chat to see how far we were all through our challenges. By the time we got to the last (first) checkpoint everyone had already gone home so we text them as “proof” that we made it and continued on for the last 10km stretch to the end.

Right about now, the heavens opened. I’m not talking about a little shower – this was the kind of rain you should be looking at out of your window, shaking your head back-and-forth, whilst clutching a cup of tea. After a while we probably couldn’t get any wetter so decided to try and get some kind of pace going, which we probably should have named “Slow+1”. We soon came across a wiry long haired fellow also inevitably drenched. We started chatting and he casually tells us he’s running to Sheffield and is around 40-50 miles in to a 60 mile race like this is the most normal thing in the world to be doing on a Saturday lunchtime. It was round about then I realised we are all probably insane.

I tried to high-five Michelle to get the spirits up. We missed. Twice. We considered wading through a river to get back to the end quicker. Brain function was clearly becoming difficult.

A mere 7 hours 28 minutes, 55.6km and 1,300m of elevation after starting, we arrived back at the race HQ and were instantly presented with a curry which was gratefully received. Michelle started eating everything (note how she’s attempting to conceal a large tomato in her hand in the pic below), and that was the challenge over!

Loads of thanks to the organisers who put on a great event, and to the checkpoint marshals who give up their time to stand on there in the cold for hours on end! I think we had the second quickest time for the 50km, but doubt it will stand with such a large deviation from the suggested route.

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