Edenfield 2024

Some of you may remember that this same weekend in 2023 saw two harriers escape over the Pennines to race in the innocently named Edenfield Fell Race, well this last weekend there were five of us including one who had forgotten he had said he wasn’t going to do it again, it’s an age thing!!

Hosted brilliantly again by Rossendale Harriers, the race is 10.2kms with reportedly 396m (1299ft) of ascent and this year I am pleased to report that that is about spot on as for the first time in a while I managed to stay on route, helped greatly by the excellent marshalls and marking of the course.

With the ground a lot softer following the recent weather, it made for more challenging conditions on the tops than in 2023, the sheer descents over rocky outcrops were still as technical and having to negotiate the well-weathered water channels, which can easily catch you out, was as important as ever, something I should have learned after my fall last year but instead I decided to perfect my tumbling with another roll down the hill!!!

Again, with expectations for a relatively reduced field following the races at Duddon Valley on Saturday, it was brilliant to see nearly 200 competitors’ line up on the start line with some excellent athletes present.

Katie Walshaw continued her excellent form this season finishing 13th overall, same as 2023, and 1st Lady in 51.41, some 5 minutes ahead of her nearest rival. The course record set by Katie in 2023 was never really in jeopardy given the conditions in comparison to last year.

Patrick Needham was first home for the Harriers in a very impressive 11th position in 51.13, I finished 20th in 54.03, Micheal Sanderson was 30th in 56.18 with Mark Henderson completing the Harriers line up in 173rd in a time of 84.41. and despite there being no prizes we managed 3rd team on the day behind Rossendale and Preston. A great effort.

To offer more of a flavour of the race, I thought I would leave last year’s narrative to the elevation profile which I have included again.

The race starts on Edenfield cricket field but heading out and up a long climb up to Coupe Hill which just keeps going on and on before a slight respite down on to the Pennine Bridleway. Enjoy the breather because after a couple of minutes, it is on the up again to Waugh’s Well, passing this and you are up again, around the corner to the right and guess what…… up again to Whittle Pike Cross. There is some view at the top but no real time to take it in before you have to navigate the tussocks on the descent through thigh bogs. If this isn’t enough they then throw in a very sharp gravely descent to Scout Moor Brook (the scene of my fall) before sending you up the other side which is a murderous climb on hands and knees where you are welcomed graciously by Mountain Rescue!!

Surely it has to be downhill now? And it is, a joint-shattering, lung-bursting 1.5 miles downhill sprint on tracks and concrete roads before a lap of the cricket field which seems to have quadrupled in size!!!

Afterwards, the cricket club offered another wonderful BBQ, drinks and other refreshments, which made for a great atmosphere for the presentations in superb weather, leaving enough time to head off and enjoy the remainder of the weekend.

Katie warming up

Edenfield Elevation Profile

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