The Dentdale Run

The Dentdale Run

The 40th anniversary Dentdale Run took place on Saturday 9th March 2024 and three harriers made the journey up to the dales to represent the club and help raise much-needed funds for Dent CE Primary School.

The course is very scenic and very challenging with many runners using it as a warm-up for the London Marathon. Given that I have no intention of running any further than 10k, I think I was hoodwinked into this one.

There are two distances to choose from:

The Dentdale 14.2 heads out from Dent village towards Sedbergh before turning back towards Dent then heading out of the other side of the valley towards Cowgill before once again turning back towards Dent with the finish in the centre of the village.

The Dentdale 7.9 covers the first half of the above course before returning to the village with the finish in the centre.

Fortunately for me, I had entered the 7.9 along with Helena Croft while Ian Goulding was taking on the 14.2 – madness!!!

The area is everything it promised to be, the scenery is unbelievable particularly when you get stuck behind a sheep farmer on foot on a single-track road for 25 minutes when you are trying to be clever and take a shortcut!!!

That said, it did offer time to take some cracking pictures and realise that without him there it could have raised an opportunity to unknowingly head off-road with the narrow, undulating, and twisting roads, as we saw with one car that had parked perfectly about 50m down the side the hill, I hope everyone was ok.

Both races started at 1.00 pm and as normal, I was away like a gazelle (well almost), soon into my stride on the downhill start with Helena and Ian taking a slightly more conservative approach. This was soon followed by the usual thought that I had gone off too quickly, especially when only halfway up the first hill and just three-quarters into the first of eight miles.

Helena cruised past after two miles which is when the race really started, determined to hang on for as long as I could, the undulating route was making it difficult to close the gap. Fortunately for me, I was aided by being able to draught on the return route into the headwind with a very helpful Ilkley Harrier. When we finally all got together we then worked together for the next few miles. The support was amazing but I couldn’t help but notice that every time we went past a crowd I was left behind somewhat by them both raising their game for the cameras, I am sure that must come with experience!!!

There is an intersection at 7 miles where you go left or right depending on the race you are doing, the Ilkley athlete went left as Ian would have, I have much admiration for them both, given the undulations on their next 6 miles.

As for me and Helena, we turned right and headed back into the village, with the headwind now behind again and finish line almost in sight we raced side by side (well that’s how I remember it just before the lactic acid and oxygen deprivation kicked in) to the bottom of the slight incline just before the finish, this was where I was just able to pull level and finish on equal terms, I was over the moon!!!

This was short-lived as I soon realised that Helena’s slightly more conservative start had given her a one-second advantage earlier which was to become my undoing when the chip times were reported, I had been demoted to 5th overall with Helena in 4th and brilliantly, 1st lady!!!

It was a fabulous run by Helena and well deserved in taking the top spot and for having to put up with me for the last four miles!!!! The smile on her face when realising she had won the race was great to see but I can’t help but think that it was more that she had beaten me by one second and done me like a kipper!!

Ian Goulding had a great race too finishing 70th overall in his race and 6th in his age category – a fabulous effort.

The race may be a bit of a drive to get there but the welcome, course, scenery, and complimentary lunch you get is well worth the journey!!


7.9 Mile

4th Overall and 1st Lady – Helena Croft – 51.58

5th Overall – James Washington – 51.59

14.2 Mile

70th Overall – 6th M60  – Ian Goulding – 1.59.11

Helena with her 1st Prize

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