Dovedale Dash 2012

It’s a dash and a splash as 1500 run a historic race

Since 1953, beneath the shadow of Thorpe Cloud, the Dovedale Dash has gained momentum from it’s humble beginnings as a competition between, what was then just 15 runners to an event which now plays host to nearly 1500 competitors. It is a race that can only be described as bordering on craziness and yet still managers to embrace a family feel.

Thorpe pastures slowly came alive as athletes of all age groups arrived to a biting morning with a cold chilling breeze to question the sanity of those about to take the plunge,The course taking the runners at break-neck speed down Lin Dale to the river where they are faced with the dilema, que for the stepping stones or for the less faint hearted, plunge into the dark, icy waters to reach the opposite bank. The competitors – some of whom are club runners chasing a personal best whilst others dressed so inappropriately for running, as characters such as Batman, a Scotsman...with kilt, a banana or even a chili pepper,but it is all a great sence of fun that these runners compete.

The race takes them along the north bank heading towards the village of Ilam before turning south-east along the river side. As the runners reach Coldwell Bridge below Thorpe they cross back across the river swinging left to head north, traversing the base of Thorpe Cloud and facing the final grueling climb back up Lin Dale to the finish and a well-earned warming mug of tea.

Back in the day, the Dovedale Dash was a race between the cyclists and the walkers of the Derby Mercury Running Club, designed to reduce the after effects of a bonfire party. Numbers gradually grew as over the following years, other mad outdoor folk asked if they could take up the challenge. Today runners come to the event from all over the country and for many it is an annual pilgrimage whom, ‘tipping their hat’ to history, still sport the Derby Mercury Club attire.

In the 2012 event, Stuart Bond of Dark Peak Fell Runners ran an exceptional race and finished in 27 minutes 19 seconds, pipping 17 year old Kristian Edwards of Tamworth AC, who, although took second overall won the under 18 in an amazing 28:51. Ian Phillips of Matlock AC took third in 29:02.

In the ladies event, Sheena Murphy stormed into first place with an incredible time of 33:40 followed by Edie Hemstock in 35:50

In the under 14’s Albert Linell took first place in 38:14, whilst in the over 60’s event, Simon Brister from Carsinton ran an inspired race to take first position in 36:50

In the Children’s race that took place before the main event and followed a course that traversed the base of Thorpe Cloud and finished with the long climb up Lin Dale, Anastasia Stock-Clarke flew round to take first place in the under 10’s in 10:22 whilst Finbarr Brooks lead in the under 8’s in 11:05.

As the gratefully accepted piping hot tea was beginning to flow, the remaining wet and muddy runners jogged, walked or hobbled up the finishing funnel in various states of exhaustion, but all had a smile on their face that said “I maybe knackered and I maybe filthy and wet but d’you know what that’s all part of the fun of the Dovedale Dash.

For more images from this event please follow the link povided

Copy by S Gresty, M Ludbrook

Research by S Gresty , M Ludbrook, D Thorburn

Images by M Ludbrook, D Thorburn, S Gresty

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