Totley Parkrun Challenge – Monsal Trail Report

Chris Heggs

As Bob Dorough famously once sang, “three is the magic number” (as an aside the song was first released 50 years ago for those like me celebrating the big 5 – 0 this year, and yes, I know it was later sampled by Del a Soul in 1989).

Anyway, where was I?

Oh yes, the third running of the Totley Parkrun Challenge (still not a cup) saw a magical gathering across the border where many of us completed a bit of parkrun tourism.

Final reckoning shows that a record breaking 57 Totley runners donned the green (and in some cases the black) to participate on a sunlit June morning.

If you are unfamiliar with the course, it is an out and back from Hassop station, downhill towards Bakewell before you perform a full 180 and return uphill (always seems steeper up than on the way down?) to finish back at Hassop.

What the event website doesn’t mention is that under a prolonged period of dry weather, the first half mile becomes a dust bowl.

As we set off, in scenes reminiscent of a looney tunes cartoon, large plumes of footpath dust permeated the air, making visibility and breathing fresh air almost impossible.

It didn’t prevent the likes of Steve Franklin (unaware of the challenge taking place on the day and being so casual that he didn’t even have a barcode) and Tom Hughes completing an impressive 1 – 2 in the men’s standings. But as always, Totley women showed the men how to do it with a spectacular 1-2-3-4-5-6 (Laura Allen, Jen Applegate, Caz Kay, Jen Featherstone, Sophie Middleton and Ellie Smith).

Age grade rankings saw Totley runners occupy three of the top five (Yvonne Twelvetree, Pat Goodall and Maggie Gorman).

Matt Ridge and Scott Blanks continued their tried and tested pre – run preparations of drinking excessively on a Friday night, with somewhat mixed results.

Scott somehow managed to fall over on an innocuous course and Matt certainly ran out of steam around the 2.5-mile point as yours truly glided majestically past him as intoxicating fumes infused the air no doubt released by Matt’s pores.

Scott redeemed himself somewhat by providing much needed post-race water bottles for runners, I’m sure it was nothing to do with his own alcohol fuelled dehydration.

Once again, it was fantastic to see so many of us supporting the challenge initiative, finding time to catch up over a cuppa in the café at the completion of the run.

For the fourth challenge, we are back running locally at Endcliffe Park (the closest we get to the trails in a Sheffield parkrun) on the 15th of July, where there is the promise of Anne Hegarty making her parkrun challenge debut as part of her birthday weekend celebrations, with the added incentive of a post-race picnic, cake, and perhaps even prosecco?