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 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.
Harriers times –