• Round Sheffield Run: 2017 – Curtis Parker-Milnes

Round Sheffield Run: 2017 – Curtis Parker-Milnes

The Round Sheffield Run is a multi-stage trail-running race that, including the walking between stages, totals about 15 miles. The race is broken up into 11 stages, the longest of which is 2.9 km. Considering the longest I’ve run all year is 10K, I did have to convince myself to tackle this. But I’m bloody glad I did.

There were a number of Hyde Park Harriers – Mark & Claudia scheduled for an earlier start, us (Richard, Paul and myself) for 09:15, Caroline & John, and Eleanor were all scheduled for a later start. (Although we were half expecting Caroline & John to catch up with us.) We were all given electronic tags that we could use to register the start and end of each stage with. After a bit of queuing, it was time for me to dib my dooper in the booper… and we were off.


The first stage took us on a climb out of Endcliffe Park and up towards Forge Dam. I used to walk around here when I was at university and run a little bit around here when I was first getting into running, so it was lovely to be back here. About a kilometre and a half into stage 1 I turned to Richard and said “We really shouldn’t be going this fast if we’re a bit out of breath, should we?” Richard looked and responded with “No.” We continued until the end of stage 1 at the same pace. We took our allotted four minutes, before starting stage 2, the King/Queen of the Mountain stage. It’s a bloody tough climb, 2.5 km of it. Richard told me to have a crack at it, so that’s what I did. It’s steep all the way up, but passing people as I went up was motivating. Still, it didn’t stop me from walking eventually. The steepness appeared to be exponential: the final part was a climb up some steep steps. However, once I was at the top we had 12 minutes to make the most of the feed station and the walk to stage 3.

Stage 3 ended up being my favourite of the lot. It was another 2.5 km stage, but the vast majority of it was downhill. There were a few small uphills, but the momentum carried me up. Richard set off first on this one and was going a bit quicker than I had anticipated. For reasons unknown, I quickly ended up ahead of Richard on the wider trail. It was to eventually narrow into singletrack through Limb Valley. I was having so much fun hurtling down the hills I decided to disregard ANY concerns about smashing my face in and started tanking it. I passed all number of people on this section and got to be one of the fast boys saying (nicely) “coming up on your right.” I made it through this stage in 10:51, an average pace of 4:20/km. Richard wasn’t too far behind, either!


Stage 4 was somewhat of the same, although shorter at 1.8 km. The descent through this section, Ecclesall Woods, was a lot more technical than stage 3. Of course, my reckless abandon was still there. Paul had told us that he had struggled to keep up the downhill on the previous stage (he was very good uphill!) so he set off about 30-45 seconds ahead of us, for a game of catch-up. Richard and myself flew through this section again, reckless abandon for our teeth or ankles. At one point, I was so focused on not tripping I nearly took a wrong turn, but thankfully Richard shouted at the same time as I had realised. We eventually caught up with Paul and powered down to the dobbity dibbers. Stage complete.


The middle bit all started to blur into one, there was lots of climbing and some downhill. I did start to struggle after a while – this was the longest I had ran for a while. After stage 7, we had time for some recuperation at the feed station. Stage 8 was a bit of a struggle to start with. My gut was sloshing around with water, banana and jelly babies and I did start to feel somewhat nauseous. However a few hundred meters down the road (Richard and Paul were flying!) I managed to regain a bit of pace. It was a downhill section and I had to make the most of it. Less than 7 minutes after starting, I was already finished. Eight down, only three to go.

Stage 9 is a special one, through Meersbrook Park, with beautiful views of the city. The drop here is HUGE. I think I averaged about 3:35/km on this stage, finishing it in just 2m 45s. Stage 10 is the final, challenging push towards the sprint finish final stage. It’s an uphill start on some local roads. It gets steeper with each corner, too. Richard wasn’t to be seen until the end of this stage, he was on fire! After these climbs, you head off-road again for some non-technical trail running again. My glutes were killing by this point and the climb up some steps did nothing to help me here! Once I’d climbed this mountain, there was a descent out of the park and onto some quiet roads where the stage ended. After a little walk back down to the edge of Endcliffe Park, it was time for the grand finale: a sprint finish through the park. It felt like I was going a lot faster than I actually was, but I made my way to the final dib ‘ole and inserted my trusty electronic dibber. Race over. Legs sore, but my shin had held up and I hadn’t experienced any soreness.

I collected my medal (feat. bottle opener) and got the printout of my stages. Total time was 1:43:31. Not bad for 20 km of massively undulating trail! After that, it was time for a beer and a lie down in the sun.


My favourite race to date!



Harriers times –

348th John Blatherwick 1.39.46
431st Curtis Parker-Milnes 1.43.31
447th Richard Edwards 1.44.15
470th Caroline Young 1.45.18
510th Paul Dickens 1.46.57
582nd Mark Haddrill 1.49.12
628th Claudia Bauer 1.51.00
1642nd Eleanor Parkhill 2.56.53

Curtis Parker-Milnes


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