January 30, 2023

Wilmot Wander – Proper Old School – Dan Ashcroft

As this report was being created, East Midlands Today was reporting on the thousands of runners taking place in the Leicester 10k and the new course on Sunday 29th January 2023. With that in mind it’s hard to understand why a camera crew could not have been deployed to the 27th Derby (Chaddesden) Scout Hut where the Wilmot Wander started for walkers at 7am with runners leaving in groups until 8:30am.
The event does away with most of the modern nonsense and entry had to be made by filling out a paper application form, payment was made by cheque, the princely sum of £12! and an SAE was submitted to ensure that the race information could be posted to participants. Runners start and finish in the Scout Hut, no chip timing here and no race numbers either but a wristband with handwritten details on them.
From Chaddesden, the route heads out to Locko Park to reach the first checkpoint at Stanley. Then it’s off towards Duffield, taking in the golf course at Breadsall Priory on the way. After that it’s on to Quarndon, via Bunkers Hill, Mickleover, Radbourne and Findern when most of the undulating aspects of the course are out of the way as it joins the towpath alongside the Trent and Mersey Canal. At Swarkestone the route heads north, back to Chaddesden. The course has undoubtedly seen some changes over the years as many of the old footpaths in some parts of the city are now pavements as the urban sprawl has continued.
The checkpoints and feed stations provide ample water, squash, custard creams, shortbread and various other biscuits. At the end a bowl of soup, chicken or vegetable awaits, with a few pieces of baguette, lumps of cheese and cake in plentiful supply. No medals or t-shirts in sight but a finishers certificate is given to all participants. From the board in the hut which displayed the results, I ascertained that there were 144 participants (walkers and runners) with the fastest person completing the 32 mile circular route in 4 hours 27 minutes. For MAC, Dan Ashcroft finished in 5 hours 27 minutes and 55 seconds. The photos are currently being processed in a darkroom somewhere.