In short: Tough run In full: Firstly, let me get the record straight. I love running off road, and love it in the Derbyshire hills – The Grindleford Gallop is one of my favourite runs. In view of this, as part of my training for my autumn marathon, I thought this would be perfect, and was really looking forward to it. I knew there would be hills and was keen to do this. I ran with mates, and the plan was to run together, and enjoy it in the same way as a Club Sunday run. However after 2 miles, going down a path that seemed more rocks that path, I turned my ankle. This set the tone for the rest of the run, as most of the trails were uneven, rocky and there was always a chance of turning an ankle (which I did again, at 11mile!). A lot of the trails were single path, so you couldn’t run alongside a mate and chat, and I was led to believe that the scenery was great – unfortunately I didn’t see much of it, as most of the time my eyes were on the path in front trying to find a decent place to place my feet. Also as soon as you got a rhythm, you hit a stile, or a wall that needed getting over, and this run is too ’stop/start’ to get going. However, got to say, its well marked out so the chance of getting lost is slim. In my opinion, this run is Ok if you don’t mind doing it with mates, without it being part of a training schedule. However you are training for any distance race, and need to keep going, this is too 'stop start', and the ground underfoot could scupper your training plan.
In short: Extremely well signed. Challenging, but at least it's downhill for the 'back 9'. Would recommend it. In full: I'm no distance runner so I placed myself out of harms way at the back of the line up for the start. My main aim was to complete the course - the more I ran the better. I'd focused on the first 9 miles and wasn't worried about a quick start (slow and steady finishes the race). With hindsight I should have been a bit more confident. The only real disadvantage I would highlight with this race is the kissing gates, bridges and styles at the start. My first two miles tool 26 minutes (not as much space as I thought for passing). But if I'd set out quicker I may have burned myself out. I'd envisaged a finish time between 3-3.5 hours and managed 2:55 so I was happy with that for a first effort. And the first 9 miles were challenging but not as bad as I feared. The hills are steep but manageable. My legs went at about 14 miles and the skin fell off my left foot. I thought I was going to have to walk the last few miles but managed to find a guardian angel to run with and she kept me going when I would happily have stopped. The final mile was a mixture of staggering, walking and running and the finishing line was a welcome sight - but nothing to compare with the glorious views as you climb out of Belper and across miles of fields. Might be a bit miserable if it rains, but it was fantastic today. I certainly enjoyed it and would recommend to anyone who doesn't mind a little bit of climbing(!) Well done to the organisers, particularly for signposting 30k so well. Date of review: August 15, 2010
In short: Hope to be back next year! In full: The event was well organised and marshalled. A bit of everything in terms of terrain. The last of couple of miles were a bit boring and seem to go on forever. Date of review: August 17, 2009
In short: Hardest but most enjoyable race in years In full: Some of the best scenery in the UK with a bit of everything but tough as nails in places. I was glad not to race but use it as a training run. Beats the hell out of pounding the streets. Date of review: August 17, 2009
In short: Tough but rewarding off road fix of the highest order In full: Whether you are using this as training, are a regular to trail/fell running or just wanting a change from road-running this race will take some beating. So friendly too, with people chatting away on route, people with dogs and other runners holding gates open for you. A great antidote to pace obsessed road racing. Date of review: August 17, 2009
In short: Fantastic hilly fun ! In full: A wonderful hilly XC round the derby hills - I loved the countryside and may have gone quicker had I not been admiring the veiws! Date of review: August 17, 2009