On Sunday 16th April, two harriers made the journey to just outside Matlock to compete in the Wirksworth Incline Race with Katie Walshaw returning to defend the title she won in 2022 and to see if her own course record of 27.35 could be beaten.
Started in 1990, the route has officially a 77 metre climb over a distance of 636 meters, that’s 1 in 8½ or 12% and reaching the top of the incline breaks the 1000 ft barrier.
However, on the long course, that’s only about 2/3 of the climbing done. There’s another 55 metres of climbing to do. The route continues to climb across the fields and up to the Trig Point, topping out at 358 metres (1174 ft).
A quick turn around the trig point and it’s (nearly) all downhill where the fleet footed fly effortlessly over the ground leaving us mere mortals to foot slap their way painfully towards the finish. They have a saying that anyone who can raise a sprint here probably hasn’t tried hard enough!
Well that can’t be said of Katie who magnificently finished 1st lady for the second year running, came 5th overall in the race out of 117 competitors and smashed her own course record by a superb 24 seconds, reducing the mark to 27.11, a fabulous opener to the fell season!
James Washington also competed and, in his first fell race of the season, finished a very creditable 15th in 30.04 and second V40.
The overall race was won by Harry Holmes, an England International like Katie, from Matlock AC in 24.08, which was also a new course record.