The Peak Skyrace, back for it’s second edition in the Peak District. The course was fully marked again with better marking than last year, I only veered away from a junction once on the Roaches. Along with about 5 other runners ... some who were supposedly following the maps in their hands? ;) The marker had vanished on the actual junction though with one path leading down hill away from the ridge and the other leading right onto the ridge it was straight forwards to figure it out within a minute or two going the wrong way. Then the markers returned again pretty much immediately and were just visible from the junction. As long as you had your eyes open it was fine! Only other areas possible to get confused could have been the two short out and back sections. A couple of people asked me what was happening on each one but having run around last year I was expecting it.
It's 29.7miles (48km) long and takes in famous sights such as Axe Edge, The Roaches, Shutlingsloe, Shining Tor, Burbage Edge, The Ramshaw Rocks and the Three Shires Head (meeting point for Cheshire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire boundaries) The route has a sneaky 2000m of elevation and is fairly varied underfoot. Nothing too crazy but enough to keep you on your toes!
I entered last minute to save doing a training run on my own as I was camping and climbing not far from Buxton that weekend anyway, it was ideal! I'd estimated a steady 5 hour run would be pretty much 10 min mile average and ran what felt comfortable.
I started at the back of the field and moved through into the top 20 I guess of 130 runners within the first climb. It was good to catch up with some friends who were running, though I somehow manage to miss a few that were running too! It wasn't long before things settled down a bit and I caught up with Chris BH and we pretty much ran together from around 1 hour in. The first cp is at 10 miles and after questioning my navigation he very nearly proceeded to set off down the wrong track, easily done though ;) the checkpoint is at a cross roads.
Checking in at cp 3. thanks Denise for the pic!
The route takes none of the roads and instead sneaks over a style and up a rolling hill and on towards the Roaches where I'd been climbing on a previous weekend. Here I was leading a small group and overshot a turning. We backtracked uphill a minute or two and continued along the ridge on good path with Shutlingsloe looming in the distance. Dropping down through the woods and into the 2nd water station for a quick cup of coke.
From there it's relatively good going to the 'big pointy hill'. From the track to the summit is about 800m including a bit of climbing so although it's pretty steep it's not too long, great views on top of surrounding areas before retracing your steps back down and cutting off to the left as we head towards the final CP at the Cat and Fiddle. I had a dip in the stream to keep cool but was dry by the time I reached the cp. I caught a few people who were starting to feel the pace nearly 24 miles in and moved into the top 10 or so. I had a chat with the awesome crew at the cp before moving on to Mam Tor for the next little out and back. The next section was much less overgrown than last year and made for easy running (not too technical but some more climbing) before a fast few miles off the top and back down into Buxton. I did glance at the watch with 10km to go and I looked to be a minute or two ahead of 5 hour pace. I rolled over the line in 4.59.11 on the results. Quite happy with that judgement there!
Organisation and the crew were all spot on once again! One of the nicer race routes around the Peak District! Plenty of food, a tshirt and medal at the end, all in all a grand day out!