No surprise after storm Arwen, the trees have been devistated up on Simonside so the race had to use the “bad weather route” of 14.5km rather than the 16km route that takes in the Forrest.
After all the wind and rain, there was about a four hour window where the running gods allowed us to go up from Rothbury on to the top of Simonside in almost perfect conditions. Perfect conditions up there is no wind blowing you off your feet and no precipitation. It was almost still and the view of the long line of head torches winding their way up past lordenshore car park and up on to Simonside was as spectacular as it gets.
We were already into snow before getting to Lordenshore (2miles) from the start so we knew up on the top the flagstones were going to be sheet ice. I’m not sure a single competitor of the 263 finishers got round without falling over and the descent from Simonside cairns was particularly slippery. The run was accompanied by constant shouts of “ice” coming back down the line.
The Deurgar had been out with some sort of shovel to make a trap for unsuspecting runners. The flagstones were too slippery to run on but the peat at the sides of the stones was very boggy after 2-3 days of heavy rain and snow. Indeed, Steve Cowell fell into the Deurgar trap and he was amongst a number of people who had to be hauled out the peat bog as they were chest deep!! Once off the stones, the last 2 miles run down in to Rothbury is great fun. Some of us had big cheesy grins on our faces whilst flying past everyone but the sting in the tail is the finish line is now up a set of steps that you genuinely think you are going to die on and you are only 50m from the finish line.
5 Harriers went up there but there were so many locals and familiar faces, it was great to be out there and Cold Brew Events do such a good job of putting these spectacular events on. It is definitely my favourite race of the year. The male race winner, Sam Bandeen finished in 1hr 11 min with the female race winner Georgina Lewis clocking an amazing time of 1hr 25 min.
Harriers Results. 50. Jon Archer 1:38.03. 68. Peter Coulthard 1:41.35. 109. Tracey Sample 1:51.33 (11th female) 143. Steve Cowell 2:00.56 158. Helen Dickinson 2:05.34
Race Report by Tracey Sample