Round Rotherham 2021

The weather was kind to us last weekend for the Round Rotherham. Organisers results are on sportident here.

Leaderboards have been updated equally speedily by Andy and are available at http://runfurther.com/2021-results/

My race report is here: http://cavehare.blogspot.com/2021/10/round-rotherham-21-not-quite-according.html

Nick’s photos

Karen’s race report follows:


[…following on from the 3TU…]

Fast forward less than a week and it’s Round Rotherham- a fast flat (ish) 50 miler with a fair amount of tarmac or hard surfaces but also some arable fields and woods.  I love the set up and the people but hate this route- it always punishes me.

RR in happier times a few years ago

We arrived via a trip to see a son and then 5 hours on the climbing wall in Sheffield- it was a new wall for us and we got a bit carried away. Possibly not ideal race prep but I felt OK. As is often the case at RR we had a committee meeting in a pub on Friday night. God company but possibly a contender for the worst meals I have seen arrive at our table. We had already put up flags and banners so 9pm saw me ready to race and in bed on Manvers Lakeshore. I slept quite well until early vehicles scrunching on the gravel made sleep impossible.  After breakfast I left Bob in bed with coffee and went up to the boat house to register. I met up with many friends but as we had a wide spread of start times to be Covid safe it was hard to know who I had missed. Before 7am I was ready with my dibber allocated and as it was light there seemed little point delaying. As I started Julian shouted he was coming with me…….. it was nice to have company and we gave each other reassurance that we were on route. Sadly though perhaps this meant I set off too fast? I did stop to find my cag and bury my phone but Julian slowed for me. There had been no mention of rain in the forecast and it never came to much in the end.

After Wentworth we were passing a number of earlier starters and I persuaded Julian to leave me. My right hip abductor was already causing me problems and every little dip was torture.  At this point I really though I might not even make it past the first CP at Thorpe Hesley. Running on a flat surface and one without any dramatic drops seemed OK, just. I didn’t stop at the CP as I had caught up with Julian and others and was not too far behind schedule yet. The next section is a real mixture with some pleasant field paths and tracks to Hilltop but then some slightly steeper paths down to a main road. Those hurt today but it got worse. The steps at the rail crossing and main road caused me serious issues and much time. Shortly after this Sarah came past. I was struggling to run along the easy canal tow path at the time and she was surprised to see me. I think only the horrors of Tinsley made me keep going and even try to speed up. Not my favourite part of the course. I was not far behind Sarah until the next steps at Sheffield Parkway. Negotiating those and then the normally fine but today for me uneven ground before Catcliffe lost me more precious time.  I arrived at Treeton CP looking a bit of a wreck. I grabbed a piece of banana and set off before I could change my mind. The huge start window was for me having one very positive effect- I could keep finding another group of walkers to pick off. This kept me going all the way to Rother Valley Park where Charles caught me up and overtook me. Roughly 20 miles done and although I was struggling badly I started to think of making it to half way. The scenery improved from here,  still just farm land and villages but much nicer than Tinsley.

After crossing the M1 the first ploughed arable field appeared and I was pleased to see a reasonable beaten path up it to Woodhall. Sadly it didn’t last and some of the next fields were just uneven enough to tweak my hip and cause yelps of pain. I had to walk. I didn’t stop at Harthill CP as there only seemed to be chocolate biscuit bars. My mind set was now in survival mode. I needed a ‘long’ for Runfurther and told myself it would be easier to finish this one than worry whether I would mend in a fortnight for the Yorkshire Trod. The paths were mostly OK until I got to the next ploughed fields.

It was pathetic but even the tiny ditches between fields and roads were causing me problems and the fields by the wind turbine were dreadful ( not wet or muddy just too uneven for me). The ‘big’ stile near Top Hall Farm almost defeated me but I did eventually climb over and it was a joy to reach the Chesterfield canal and then the easy tracks across the golf course. Never thought I would be so pleased to see tarmac and flat tracks. I had just passed Nick and he was soon at the CP too. I decided to stop and eat properly in the hope some fuel would help and set off just after him. The next section to Langold lake had easier ground and I jogged on telling myself that if I was going to try to finish I should just get on with it and ‘run’ whenever I could.

I caught Nick and passed him and then hooked in behind a couple who like me were doing a mix of run. jog, walk. It is two years since the last race and I was not clear in my mind what came next so it was a pleasant surprise to arrive at Firbeck. Again just wrapped chocolate bars so I refilled my water and set off. The tracks and paths from there to Roche Abbey were fairly even and I made slightly better time and even overtook some more people.

I knew from the Abbey it was only about 3 miles to Maltby and the next CP. The volunteers there were wonderfully encouraging and assured me there was under 12 miles to go. Pavements and easy tracks took me to Micklebring and the M18 where I caught up with a local runner. He stopped me from an error when the path was lost in sunflowers and we used each other to push on the best we could. The ploughed  and arable fields had better paths on flattened earth but the path in the woods before Hooton Roberts was very muddy and uneven, I don’t think it ever dries out.  I had now passed Charles who was suffering badly with a damaged glute and saying he hoped he could make it to the next CP where he would retire. The ‘new’ CP in the barn was wonderful and certainly the best of the day. They had a huge assortment of proper food. This cheered me up no end and although I spent longer there than I should it was possibly worth it. There is no CP at Old Denaby now so I hoped I had enough water. The local guy said 3-4 miles but I knew it was more.

The new bridges and ramps at the railway must have cost a fortune- I made it up the steps but used the ramp to descend as it would be quicker than walking backwards down all the steps. The canal and riverside paths seemed shorter than usual and I was soon on the edge of Swinton. Some bored teenagers lurking under a canal bridge offered me encouragement and the cycle path took me to the old race HQ at the sports college. Oh, to have finished there today! The river paths might have seemed shorter but the 3km or so along ‘the roundabout’ road seemed longer. I was so pleased to see the fire HQ at last and know I was almost there. Almost no fly tipping this year, thanks Rotherham and local councils! Thanks to Stef  for most of the photos out on the course.

So I finished at a jog. Over 50 miles and a PW by over 40 minutes (even worse compared to my better times).  Bob was waiting for me and Sarah was sat at the finish with a cup of tea. Sitting wasn’t very comfortable but I needed a rest. Bob did a great waiter service of food and cups of tea before I decided I really needed to stand and move. We sat cheering in runners and chatting. Julian had finished in a good time too. Before long Kevin had finished and Nick. Charles finished- in pain and after a tough effort. It was the day for such things for some of us.

Bob was back from his bike ride in time  to greet the first runners and do their prize- giving. A clean sweep for 3 Runfurther men. Rory now has close to the magic 4000 points and cannot be beaten. Kevin and Rory also had good runs.

A local woman won our race in 8hrs31 and then Sarah C who had a storming run was 2nd in 9hrs10. She was rightly chuffed with her run and also to beat both her husband and me.

Unbelievably I was 3rd in a PW of 9hrs46. Just shows  you should never give up. Oh, I also got an award for having done 10 RRs! Some runners have done 20 or even 30!!

I was keen to make sure I completed a ‘long’ Runfurther race and if I am not mended enough to do the Yorkshire Trod I will be gutted but at least I think I have enough points to ensure I cannot be caught.