Totley Parkrun Challenge 8

Monsal Trail: The return is uphill

Chris Heggs

After a 2-month hiatus due to the end of days flooding of Sheffield and the understandable cancelation of our Graves gathering, the challenge (definitely not a cup) was back!

36 tenacious Totlies (and Scott Banks) packed their passports and a suitcase full of essentials to head across the border to Derbyshire.

Our previous Monsal muster took place during a particularly dry period resulting in a rather dusty affair. Thankfully, the recent damp weather had created almost perfect autumnal running conditions, with only a few minor puddles to negotiate at the start.

The pre – race obligatory photograph was unexpectedly more challenging than you might expect.

At one point, the gathered green struck a pose for the designated official photographer, only to realise, later than you might think, that there was nobody actually there with a camera or phone.

Eventually, a willing spectator took pity on us.

Several bleary-eyed runners arrived post-picture, but just in time to have the standard pre – run Monsal conversations focusing on the fact that it is downhill on the way out and uphill on the way back.

Consensus appears to be that we don’t like it that way and that we prefer the old course.   

Matt Ridge appeared not to take on board the groups distaste of the return journey from Bakewell Station with a surge on the incline, gliding majestically past many in the field and tucking in behind John Gorman and yours truly, using us as some sort of windbreak.  Sadly, Matt used his marginal gains to strike up a conversation with his fellow Totley buddies rather than powering past and claiming the bragging rights.

As a result of the missed Graves challenge (a popular venue for the club), I have recently completed a member’s poll to select the venues to be used during the final two challenges.

There was a convincing preference for a return to Graves Park on the 16th December (a week after our takeover) and for the grand finale to take place at Sheffield Castle on the 13th January 2024 (the same day as the awards evening). I look forward to seeing you there.