July 16, 2023

Black Rocks Fell Race 12 July 2023

Black Rocks Fell Race summary, as sent for inclusion in the Fell Runner magazine:

In recent years we have been blessed with sunny – and perhaps too warm – running conditions. This year adopted a more traditional British summer, with overcast skies and ominous looking clouds; but fortunately no storms to threaten the race going ahead.

The race route starts with a flat stretch along Cromford canal – one narrow section with a low bridge to be wary of, but otherwise straightforward. Those unfamiliar with the race might be thinking it all seems too easy, an opinion that might be revised when runners reach the High Peak Junction, cross the canal (there is a bridge – no wading required) and start the climb up towards Black Rocks. The initial climb is on the High Peak Trail with a nice compacted surface, but after a kilometer the route heads off onto trails that continue to climb all the way to the Black Rocks trig point.

A strategically placed marshal and photographer at the trig point captures a grimace, but at this point the hard work is done and the course loops runners downhill before testing what’s left in the legs with the flat stretch along the canal to hang onto those race positions.

A rather heavy downpour during the race ensured that the runners didn’t overheat, and the timekeepers remained dry under the club gazebo. The marshals around the course were not so lucky – as ever, we are grateful to all those that give their time to volunteer at any race.

It was a good night for Matlock AC with club runners bagging the top two spots, but also a fantastic run from Charlotte Ward finishing fourth overall and setting a new record for the current course.

Full race results available at https://www.webscorer.com/race?raceid=321076