Saturday, 2 March 2013

High Peak Marathon – 1/2 March

The High Peak Marathon is an over-night mountain marathon for teams of four, following a route based on the Derwent Watershed, starting and finishing at Edale Village Hall, Derbyshire. The classic 40 mile bog-trot around the wildest part of the Peak District was first completed in 1918 by Eustace Thomas of Manchester's Rucksack Club. The event is independently organised and run by Members of the University of Sheffield High Peak Club, past and present, and is fully insured and affiliated through the Fell Runners Association.
The basis of the annual event as it exists today was conceived in 1972 by members of Sheffield University's Youth Hostel Society whose definition of a good night out was sometimes quite different from most of their fellow students. The High Peak Marathon is their idea of a challenge. Take the Peak's longest, toughest route and see who can complete it at night in winter. It is still organised by past and present members of what is now called The High Peak Club. A unique feature of the event is being greeted by a couple of cheerful students at every checkpoint.

The composition of teams can change only days before the race and THE RUCKSACK CLUB’s Vets team was no exception with the fourth member being “recruited” on Friday morning after man-flu struck. Waiting for the start of any race is a fraught experience, waiting for the start of a 42 mile overnight team race makes “fraught” seem like a considerable understatement.


Results aren’t available just yet but the conditions were about perfect (-7C or colder, frozen ground, light wind and a stunning sunrise) and records were broken. Even mere mortals like us turned in PBs with substantial margins. With so much of the race taking place in darkness it is difficult to get photos of other teams and racing in team makes it difficult to get the photos the conditions this morning justified. The following will, I hope, provide an idea of just how spectacular the sunrise was. What they can’t do is convey just how good it felt to see sunshine after about seven hours of freezing cold darkness but it was very good, I can tell you. Smile

20130302_001_HPM-3Just about first light

20130302_002_HPM-4A bit brighter

20130302_003_HPM-5A bit brighter still and another team

20130302_004_HPM-6Gonna be busy at Manchester Airport

20130302_005_HPM-7Stones on Bleaklow

20130302_011_HPM-9The rest of the team

20130302_006_HPM-11A summit on Bleaklow with our night time companion, the moon

20130302_007_HPM-12Kinder Scout

20130302_008_HPM-16Top of the climb on to Kinder Scout

20130302_009_HPM-17Kinder Reservoir

20130302_010_HPM-18Last look at Kinder during the race to the finish

Huge thanks to the University of Sheffield High Peak Club for a truly unforgettable High Peak Marathon