This 8 mile undulating, circular route was brilliantly executed by Derwent Valley Trail Runners, a relatively new club dedicated to running the trails and whose website proclaims that: “we are all free spirits and adventurers at heart and the countryside is there to be enjoyed by everyone”, well said that club.
Parking was organised swiftly, and numbers collected in the community centre. I proceeded with my usual pre-race warm up of wandering aimlessly around the place, and missing the group photograph. Decent chats with fellow Striders, until we were huddled onto a grass verge for our get set go.
The race starts along a street and in mild confusion of not knowing which direction we were going I found myself in the middle of the field. We swiftly took a sharp left turn and immediately bottle-necked as there were stiles to cross. I frustratingly watched the lead pack disappear into the distance as I danced about like a coiled spring.
I spent the rest of the race attempting to move up the field, but without room to manoeuvre along the overgrown single-tracks I was held back, which became annoying especially on the downhills, and whilst trying to pass runners wearing headphones. The route opened up through tracks and fields so I was able to overtake, picking runners off along the way.
The first half is relatively downhill, with a flatish bit, and then the last few miles climb ever onwards to the finish. I was able to slowly catch runners on the incline and work my way further up, but not as far as I would have liked. Due to the recent British summer the route was muddy, so my choice of fell over trail shoes sat well, especially as I pranced through the woods and rivers.
There was great encouragement from families and locals who had wandered out to shout us up the final climb, we joined the street on which we started and ran it home. Finishing in 16th positon out of around 160, I was fairly pleased. Refreshments by way of hot drink, soup, and cake were available in the community centre, donations welcome.
This is a brilliant route for both experienced and novice runners, with a chance to run some fantastic local trails at £4 a pop this is one not to miss.