10 slightly mad Long Eaton runners completed the Grindleford Gallop on Saturday. This mammoth 21-mile fell race encloses over 10,000 acres of Peak District land.
The route meanders away from Grindleford, through Eyam and onto Great Longstone, before rising over exposed moorlands and on towards the Chatsworth estate and Edensor. The final section climbs out of Baslow up onto the very rocky Curbar and Froggatt gritstone edges, sparsely speckled with climbers before finally dropping back into Grindleford and the welcome reward of cakes and hot soup.
Glen Coleman finished first out of the Long Eaton runners in just 17 seconds over 3 hours. Next back was Rob Jackson. Robís training for the Four Inns race is clearly paying off, as he set a very creditable time of 3 hours 6 minutes.
The next 2 runners back were Andrei Vais and Clive Allison. Andrei, arriving in plenty of time for a change, was overjoyed at just pipping Clive by 3 seconds in 3:14:25. Sadly, and very much true to form, Andrei missed the checkpoint which was specifically mentioned by the officials on the start line and thus incurred a 2 minute time penalty, bringing his official finishing time to 3:16:25 moving both Clive Allison and Phil Walters ahead of him in the official results, despite Phil Walters cruising in 2 minutes behind the Clive/Andrei battle. Ten minutes behind Phil was Colin in his eleventy-second race of the year.
The final 3 runners also had a battle all the way around the course. Phil Abbott and Damien Cowlishaw running together swapped places with Tony Vardy at a number of locations, mostly at the cake stops where Phil and Damien were seen to be having more than their fair share of the good stuff.
Damien and Phil finished just ahead of Tony in seconds over the 4-hour mark. Tony was less than a minute behind them.
The 10th LERCer to complete the course was the injured Ian Wallis who was forced to walk the route.
After more cakes, lashings of soup and tea you could stand a spoon up in the tired but happy runners who then followed the age-old tradition held by fell runners and retired to the pub.
Obviously the exhaustions of the day had had an affect on everyone as the topics discussed over the real ale ranged from pom-poms and man-kinis to rainbow coloured socks and running 5 miles naked. Best not to ask really.
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