|Dan enjoying mud and hills|
Sunday 5th November saw the 61st running of the Dovedale Dash, with Daniel Towey the only Grantham Running Club member braving the November chill in the Peak District. Those unfamiliar with the 4 and ¾ mile course need only attend to the Race Marshall’s advice to “tie your running shoes really well!!” It’s renowned for being muddy, and this year was certainly no exception. The River Dove was noticeably high and with heavy overnight rain, the car park quickly turned into a quagmire; a sign of things to come. The resulting complications delayed the start by an hour, much to the dismay of the scantly-clad runners desperately trying to keep warm in temperatures well into the single figures.
The race starts with a mad dash from the top of Thorpe Pastures to the famous stepping stones over the River Dove. Stay on your feet is the name of the game as 1,500 runners charge downhill to get into a good position, the shear drops and muddy ground only raising the stakes. Hardy soles will run straight through the river, with the more cautious opting for the stepping stones. From here it’s 4 miles of heavily undulating terrain out to the village of Ilam, looping to run parallel to the River Dove, and then back up the long hill to the top of Thorpe Pastures. Daniel ran a solid race, at times feeling the effects of running the National Cross Country Relays the day before. He entered the bottom of the final hill in 103rd position, but hailing from North Wales, drew on his experience of hilly surrounds to claw himself into the top 100 up the 200ft climb, finishing in 96th position from 1,528 finishers in 35:54.
Reflecting on the race, Daniel commented “It was seriously tough out there and very difficult to get into any real rhythm, certainly the hardest I’ve known it. For the leg back along the River, it was so high you were basically running through it again! But year after year I come back to this race, it’s like nothing else, and the extra mud, on top of what I’ve become accustomed to, only made this one even more memorable”