This past weekend saw the return of the Whaley Waltz which forms part of the very well supported village carnival in Whaley Bridge.
Having conveniently pre-registered for the day it offered the opportunity to briefly recce the route and learn more about the Thomas Theyer Foundation, which the race raises fund for.
This is an excellent charity which supports children and young people with special educational needs and those experiencing difficult life circumstances along with their families/carers. Thomas himself ran the race in June 2013, just before he sadly passed away the following month aged only 18.
The start was listed as 1.20 pm but this was all dependent on the carnival procession and like all good parades it ran a little over time but once this had gone through, it was time for the race!!
The race starts on the main high street in the village before turning off and hitting the trails and it seemed that the slight delay allowed the crowd to grow even bigger and line the streets for what was the best start to a race I’ve experienced in recent times.
The race is rated BS in fell running terms. On an ordinary June day in the High Peak, it wouldn’t be a problem, but as the mercury was touching 26 degrees Celsius, it made for a very hot race, especially during the climb onto Taxal Edge. A water stop was added during the climb section which was a very good call as it was hot. Another big thank you to the two young gentleman who had the time of their lives spraying everyone who passed with their giant water guns, also very welcomed!!
The descent was on well-worn trails and was fast underfoot if you had some energy left over after the climbing, in all just shy of 300m!
It couldn’t go unnoticed how similar these trails were in comparison to many of the routes the Club uses on our runs and would make the race very comfortable for many!
The bit that makes the Waltz special is the “deep” river crossing moments before the end. It’s where most of the spectators gravitate to watch runners hurling themselves into the river. There were spot prizes awarded for best river entry! It was only about 2′ deep this year but that was plenty deep enough to try to cool off a bit before the final 200m dash to the finish.
Water was provided at the end as well as medical support, both for observing the river crossing and for looking after the finishers. A nice touch was the £2 drinks voucher for those who could prove they had car shared or used other means of transport to get to the race.
As for the results, Katie Walshaw’s great season continued with the almost perfect Waltz!!
She finished 2nd overall, just 20 seconds behind the leader, in 41.37, setting a new course record in the process, the previous record of 42.26 having stood since 2012.
As for me, I finished a very creditable 16th overall in 46.58 and have to say that this a race that I will want to do again, it was thoroughly enjoyable and – although warm – the atmosphere and route make for an excellent day out.