Stoney Middleton Fell Race

A balmy evening yesterday saw a stellar field assemble for the 40th anniversary Stoney Middleton Fell race, just past Grindleford.
Starting from Stoney Middleton playing fields with a very fast lap of the playing field before a sprint along the concessionary footpath to The Moon Inn, the race then goes up the High Street, and up again, and then up again, in fact 175m of ascent in just over 2km, a bit like a souped-up Thurstonland Bank!!

The route then turns down a quick drop called Black Harry before back up onto Longstone Edge to reach the top of eagerly awaited steep descent to Combes Dale.

Just when you think there must be no more hills, there is a sting in the tail with one last climb before returning along the concessionary path and back to the much anticipated playing field, where excellent refreshments were available.

The route overall is 8.5km with 308m of ascent and although we may term it more of a trail race, it is run in beautiful surroundings, on good running paths and tracks and has some really good technical elements to test you.

Over 200 runners assembled for this well organised race on a night when potentially both the male and female courses records from 2010 were in jeopardy. The winner of the men’s race narrowly missed the record but the ladies record succumbed.

Katie Walshaw maintained her recent excellent form, finishing 11th overall in 36.14, 41 seconds inside the previous course record in what was a very stacked and competitive ladies race.

On the night, however, Katie finished 2nd lady behind Phillipa Williams, who had recently returned from representing Great Britain in Austria at the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships. The difference between them was just over 90 seconds this time which is a significant step closure in the gap since their last race against each other earlier in the season and on terrain which is far better suited to Phillipa.

Unfortunately, since the race, Katie has had to take a trip to A&E to check out a potential fracture in her right foot, perhaps because of the race living up to its name, it is very much hoped that this isn’t the case.

As for me, my chauffeuring skills were once again top draw with us arriving safely in good time and getting home in a similar fashion, but I was also a very creditable 42nd in 40.30 and much closer to some of the usual rivals I race against. I did find the start unbelievably quick and was really pleased to pace it the way I did so as to be able finish strongly and pick up a few positions on the descent back to the finish.

I know I have said it before but this is a race you should have a go at, it is just over an hour away and great value at £6 to enter particularly when the race is chipped time also.


Stoney Middleton Route

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