Tag Archives: Roseberry Topping Fell Race

Roseberry Topping Fell Race, Newton under Roseberry, Great Ayton, Wednesday, August 29, 2018


Jack Lee

A long race report feels inappropriate for what is a short sharp and largely chaotic race. For these reasons, it has earned its place as one of my favourites. More expensive per mile than GNR and London but home cooked flapjacks at the end and almost as many spot prizes as runners.

I drove down from Durham and turned up at just after 6 pm (an hour before the start) and met up with Fiona. We then hiked up Roseberry Topping scoping out the route and trying “the Shoot” on the way down and deciding that if we were being competitive then a nearly vertical slope of mud and grass was not the way to go.

Pretty soon after we were lined up for the start of the race amiably chatting with some Eskvalley Runners. When the race began we sprinted for the hill but this soon turned into trudging up the steep slopes with hikers looking bemused as we passed. My face was red and my heart hammering. I could still feel my circuit training from Monday in my legs.

Fiona was constantly taking time out of me, building a lead of probably 30 seconds by the top.

The top is a surreal moment; the edge of the North York Moors laid out in front of me but I had to get myself together in a second and chuck myself back off the precipice.

On the downhill, all hell broke loose with runners still ascending, other descending and hikers caught in the middle. I threw caution to the wind and started to make time on Fiona. Second by second I reeled her in. I thought if I could get within the striking on the final straight, I would have a chance. She, however, didn’t comply and sprinted off beating me comfortably coming just ahead of the second lady.

Afterwards, I ate flapjacks and got a spot prize (my first ever!), when the organisers asked: “who hasn’t got a prize?” I was tired and hurting but happy.

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Roseberry Topping Fell Race, North York Moors, Wednesday, September 10, 2014

AS / 2.3km / 217m

Jan Young

After you lot pounded thirteen miles at the GNR, I thought I’d buck the trend with 2.3k. Scoff not, that short stretch climbs 217m. Picture that angle; can someone do the maths for me?

It’s steep! But it’s a very tolerant Topping; allows you to walk up/ climb up/ cling on to it’s grassy, rocky bits. On summitting, kiss the graffiti obelisk, turn around and throw yourself into mid air, leaping athletically over the heads of still ascending runners. As your feet are now moving far too fast for your brain to consider route choices, many follow blindly and wish they’d practised 50 degree upright stance before. No injuries; oldest competitor, seventy five, in Bingley vest.

Prize giving equally entertaining and challenging; organiser Dave invited anyone not awarded prize to come forward and claim spares. Always results in embarrassing ‘scrum’. Third lady, Lucy- DCH/DFR, yes I’ve named you, dived into the fray clutching her three bottles of wine, emerging with sweets! She did share them! All part of the fun, camaraderie and challenge.

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Roseberry Topping, Wednesday, September 12, 2012

AS / 1.4m / 712'

Rachael Bullock

Hmmm, what better way to celebrate my birthday than run up a hill in the mud? So, off we toddled to Roseberry Topping and I was pleased to see quite a clan of purple vests there, 8 of us in total. In fact, I was pleased just to arrive there – poor Jan was delayed 40 minutes on her way to picking us up from Maiden Castle due to a traffic accident in Durham! But we arrived with 15 minutes to spare, perfect timing because it was a fresh, but pleasant, evening and we would have got cold hanging around for too long.

Geoff's speedy descent leaves young fit bloke gasping in his wake.
photo courtesy and © David Aspin

This is a simple up and down race, only 1.4 miles, so how hard could it be?! Everyone was running for the first 400 m or so before we reached the first gate and the congestion began. I decided to wait patiently to use the kissing gate, thinking it was a good excuse for a quick, innocent breather, but then of course Jan piped up from behind me ‘over the gate, Rachael!’. So over I went to tackle the ever-steepening gradient, but I think I was still running at this point. But not for long; it soon became a steady walk with hands on thighs. However, it was very reassuring to have Jan alongside all the way up, being the pro and general running legend that she is, I felt that I was making decent progress. And it was nice to see Dave waiting for us before the final bit of ascent to the top. It was round about this point that Tom and Geoff were already hurtling back down. I was pretty relieved to touch the trig point on the top and take a few breaths before turning around to head back down. I must have been too knackered to think about the view because I don’t recall seeing it! But Barbara, who had a slightly more leisurely race, assured me it was very nice!

Couldn’t keep up with Jan on the way down and, as such, I ended up taking the not-so-ideal route that involved lots of slippery paving stones, which slowed me down considerably. But somehow I did catch up with Susan! She was clearly letting, me beat her just because it was my birthday! The last ~400 m of the race, the track after the gate, must have been the only part of the race that I properly ran! Aware that Susan was not far behind, I decided to leg it!

What a funny race! This is my overall summary! Will do it again next year but will put more thought into my choice of route because it’s such a short race that it must make quite a difference.

The recovery process begins ... We all went to the pub afterwards for some birthday celebration (it’s a very nice pub almost next to the car park). Dave had made the most scrumptious cake (banana, white chocolate and cranberry) and Barbara made some impressive macaroons (gin and lavender flavour!), demonstrating that it is definitely worth to turn out at the cross countries this year!! And then Jan presented me with a Roseberry Topping birthday card, which inside had a detailed sketch and cross section of the geology of Roseberry Topping, demonstrating that really she should be a geologist. A great evening had by all 🙂


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Jack Willis Unattached MJ 11.45
8 Bronwen Owen Scarborough AC FJ 14.34
23 Thomas Reeves MV45 15.36
30 Geoff Davis MV55 16.34
53 Mike Bennett MV55 18.14
73 David Selby MV40 21.22
78 Jan Young FV55 22.15
80 Rachael Bullock F 22.53
91 Barbara Dick FV40 32.40

91 finishers.

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Roseberry Topping, North York Moors, Tuesday, August 31, 2010

AS / 1.5m / 720'

Dougie Nisbet

Nina just ahead of Cal.
photo courtesy and © David Aspin

At £4.61 per mile, compared to the Great North run at a measly £2.90 per mile, you expect to get a fair bit for your entry fee. But what’s this, no road closures? No Lucozade or water stations? No walk-through showers? No medal at the finish? Does Brendan know about this? What this tiny and absolutely barking event does have is far better prizes and much nicer views, and thankfully, none of the runners shouting Oggy Oggy Oggy as we crawled up the mountain. As if we had the breath.

It was a gorgeous evening for this year’s event with the now familiar site of both first-timers and old-timers standing around looking up towards Roseberry Topping with the usual expressions of shock and awe. Roseberry Topping was looking both beautiful and scary in equal measure. There was a lot of chatter about whether “The Chute” would be the better route choice for the descent, with most runners deciding that not breaking a leg would be a more reasonable option.

A prompt start at 7.15 and soon after the bottleneck of the first gate. I hopped over and was managing to stick close to Cal and Nina and was pretty pleased about that. Soon it was hand-over-hand up the Chute and then the final stumble to the trig point with Nina and Cal a little ahead and Jan a little behind. The gaps between us soon widened on the descent with Will way ahead but just behind the ultimate winner. The local vest I was following took a wide loop on the way down that avoided the steps and allowed for a flat out run for most of the final yards. I was about 50 seconds faster than last year so it couldn’t have been a bad route choice.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Jack Willis Unattached MJ 11.59
2 Will Horsley NFR M 12.09
9 Pippa Archer DFR F 13.49
42 Calum Young M 17.03
48 Nina Mason F 17.32
58 Dougie Nisbet MV45 19.30
61 Jan Young FV55 20.05

78 finishers.

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Roseberry Topping, Tuesday, September 1, 2009

AS / 1.5M / 715'

Dougie Nisbet

Phil and Alister wonder what all the fuss is about.

T minus 15 minutes:
Me, Phil Owen, Steven Gustard (DFR) arrive at the Car Park and dash for registration while Will finds somewhere to park. We spot Jan and Alister. Alister is standing trance-like looking up at Roseberry Topping with an expression of horror on his face.
T minus 5 minutes:
The weather is cheerful and the lane is full of runners jogging up and down the track. Phil and Alister pause periodically to stop and stare and point at the big lump of rock that beckons. Will has a chat with Casper and assures him he’ll be back in about 15 minutes for his walk.
T minus 1 minute:
Assembled at the Start, we’re giving a nicely balanced safety talk. We’re assumed to be capable of seeing the obvious. The ground will be slippy. And it’s a bit steep.
T minus 0:
Away we go! I’m not too concerned about beating the rush for the first gate. The race is only 1.3 miles long and it usually takes me twice that distance to get even remotely warmed up, so I tuck in and take it easy.
T plus 2.21 (0.26 miles):
We hit the gate and it’s not too congested. I’m feeling perky so I climb the gate and overtake about four runners. I’m feeling pretty pleased. The ground starts to rise steeply as I see Phil just ahead. I give chase.
T plus 4.50 (0.37 miles):
A lot has happened in the last 2 minutes. I’ve reconsidered some life options and reviewed my race plan (which was, basically, it’s only a mile and a bit, how hard can it be?). This was hard, really hard, and the Topping was still some way up. And it got steeper. We had a choice of routes now, and Phil followed the herd to the right to take the longer, ‘flatter’ route. Here was a chance to cut the corner and get passed him. I chose to go straight up. I climbed the fence and started hauling myself up hand over hand grabbing clumps of grass and digging my feet into the mud.
T plus 8.51 (0.48 miles):
So much for that plan. The routes converge and Phil is still ahead, although I reckon my route choice was ultimately more expensive energy-wise than taking the longer route. I pass Phil, he passes me, I pass him again, he passes me again, and during that time Will hurtles past in the opposite direction heading to the finish.
T plus 12.42 (0.6 miles):
I hit the trig point a few seconds after Phil, high-fiving as we pass. Will has already won the race in a time of 12.29. As I start to descend I shout encouragement for Jan who is not very far behind me and has her head down intent on the climb.
T plus 14.49 (0.71 miles):
Rather than retrace my ascent I take the stone path back down. Most of us agreed later that this was a mistake as the cobbles were very wet and very scary. I tip-toed gingerly down and Phil was already out of sight in his characteristically suicidal descent. I must have passed Alister and Steve at some point but we were probably all to busy watching where we were going to see each other. So many route choices in such a short race!
T plus 20.32 (1.26 miles):
I cross the finish line feeling I’d had a pretty good run. Jan, Alister and Steve power in not long after. Will has collected Casper and they’ve already gone half-way around the course again. Alister asks me how far the course was because his Garmin decided he was going so slow that he’d actually stopped. At one point I hit a mile pace of ’63 minute miles’ which must come pretty close to ‘not actually moving at all’.

Apart from Will none of us had done this race before and I for one certainly underestimated quite how tough it would be. At Jan’s hash run the following evening I could barely hobble round at the back. I’ve been in better shape after running a marathon.

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