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Rebecca Mon-Williams reaches Peak of her form
Ilkley’s Rebecca Mon-Williams was in the second ladies’ team to complete the overnight High Peak Marathon, organised for 40 years by Sheffield University students.
Conditions were crisp, she said, meaning “a frozen water bottle down your thermal to try and thaw the ice so you could get a drink”, and clear – “the magical view of head-torches strewn for miles over the black peat moors like fairy lights”.
A maximum total of 49 four-runner teams start and finish at Edale, taking in the Dark Peak tops north of the Hope Valley. Competitors navigate vague, featureless landscape pitted with Derbyshire’s notorious ‘groughs’.
Many bogs were frozen and the groughs (deep channels in the peat) part-filled with snow. This meant fast ground, with both men’s and women’s records broken.
Mon-Williams said: “Running for 42 miles is a painful experience but it was a wonderful one too with some great memories. Running towards the sunrise over Kinder with my team was one of them.”
The 21st Trollers Trot attracted 230 entrants for the 25-mile run, climbing 3,064 feet across Threshfield Moor, Rylstone Moor and Trollers Gill before returning via Burnsall and the banks of the Wharfe.
With conditions dry underfoot, with sun and mild temperatures, course records were ripe for breaking.
Seasoned veteran Richard Pattison, of Pudsey & Bramley, took three minutes off Matt John’s old milestone in 2hr 50min.
Calder Valley’s Jo Waites breezed around to finish third overall, taking several minutes off the women’s record held by Karen Best of Otley AC – 3:34. This year Best had to settle for second but shaved eight minutes off her 2011 record.
Also on Saturday, more long-distance fell runners headed for the 22-mile LDWA Lakeland Derwentwater Amble.
With no mass start, walkers and runners started at random, climbing Cat Bells and then moving anti-clockwise around Derwentwater, up to Dock Tarn, a rocky route to Ashness Bridge, then a climb to Walla Crag for another splendid panorama.
A hot meal awaited finishers – including an Ilkley Ladies fivesome led by Clare Smith, who completed in 5hr 20min.