Grindleford Gallop 2018 – Blizzard Conditions

This remains one of the hardest races to enter, you have about 60 seconds to get sorted before it sells out.  This year, myself and Rose decided to stay over the night before the race at a hotel about 600m away from the start.  Nice food, drink and accommodation.  Not very nice weather….

On Friday evening the chance of the race being cancelled existed, depending on the amount of the snow on the roads in the morning.  Hardly any snow fell overnight, but light snow was falling from 7am.  The race was on.

Quick drive to the Race HQ to collect our numbers and dibber and back to the warm car.  We were reading -1 degrees C, with a wind chill of -10.  I decided to set off with 3 layers on.  We all ran with extra kit, the risk was if you got injured or lost or conditions got very bad, you had to take care you yourself whilst waiting for help.

We met up with the other Doncaster AC runners at the event, Janet Hampson and Luke Osbon, and it was great to see Chris Lawson.  We took the necessary selfies and made our way to the start.

Its a fast start with a bottleneck only 200m from the start and then onto narrow trails with stiles, even near the front of the field you get stuck.

The 1st climb

1.5 miles in to the race is the first climb out of Froggatt, this climb is 529 feet in less than 1 mile on muddy paths and grass.  I decided to take my coat off and put it in my pack on this climb.  Then a quick descent down to Eyam, through the village and then a gentle climb along bridleways, fields, many stiles and a bit of road, at the top we got a great view of Cressbrook.

The fast bit of the race starts now, 7.3 miles to 11.7 miiles basically all down hill on farm tracks down to Great Longstone, then on to the Monsal Trail to Bakewell.

The second major climb soon started, 391 feet in 0.4 miles, lots of walking on this muddy section.  Then running along wide open muddy fields down to Edensor, Chatsworth and Baslow.  Difficult to get speed up due to the conditions.

And on to the final climb, a very tough 677 feet in 2 miles.  Then technical running on the flat and descent back down to Grindleford.

I have not spoken about the weather yet, at times the conditions were the worse I had ever run in with horizontal snow blizzards, any exposed skin was in discomfort but its difficult to cover up the mouth and nose as my glasses mist up.  Visibility was poor on the most technical sections and soft snow covered up rocks, so the risk of injury is high.  I decided not to run hard on the descents given this danger.  You know its cold when your shoe laces have frozen solid and you put a buff on and it is solid ice.

The race was about 0.4 miles longer than last year and the conditions were a lot worse.

592 finished.  I could be disappointed with my time but I am not because of the conditions and I ran some of the more difficult climbs well.  You might have thought the ground would be frozen but it was not lol.

Pos Name Cat Time
31 Martin James M40 3:08:53
40 Chris Lawson M40 3:12:52
224 Rose James F35 4:24:07
288 Janet Hampson F40 4:47:59
293 Luke Osbon M35 4:49:02

Great refreshments at the finish with coffee, soup and cake.  My GPS track is below.

Today's run ⛷️🎿⛸️☃️🌬️😂

Posted by Martin James on Saturday, 17 March 2018

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