Ashbourne Running Club

2008 Peak District Footpath Relay

Team Captain’s Report 


(Victory snatched from the jaws of defeat)

After a long and difficult process involving many (sometimes unreturned) phone calls, conversations, arm twisting, emails etc, I thought I’d got the team of twenty plus two reserves, and I breathed a sigh of relief – how wrong can you be!!

I distributed by hand or post as appropriate, the route details to the runners around 2 weeks before the event, again emphasising the importance of learning the leg that each competitor was running.

In the final week, 3 runners withdrew for a variety of reasons, and thankfully I managed to coerce Richard Broardhurst, Gabriel Hutchings, and John Page as replacements.  To their great credit they found the time at short notice to learn their legs, and of course save the team from withdrawing – thanks guys!

Two days before the event I rang round the people in the team who’d not competed in this particular event before, and found that one of them had not run his leg, and did not think he’d be able to before the event, but he’d still be there on the day.  I could not get a reply from another, and he didn’t return my calls.  I started to worry again!

Come the day I had everything crossed (and perhaps things I shouldn’t) hoping everyone would at least turn up and hopefully not get lost, and went to Osmaston for the start at 9.30.

At 9.27 I received a text from Ray Evans saying “I am stuck in leek, trying to get across..”  As Ray was not due to run his leg from Blore to Milldale until 11.00am I thought we should be OK.

Immediately after the start I was then drafted in to act as marshall at Bradley Wood, which I duly did.  I then went back to Ashbourne, at 10.26 I received a text via Cara Spencer (who’s in America!) saying Ian Jones would not be able to run (thankfully it was the last leg).  Just what we needed!!

I then dashed to Blore to see if Ray Evans had turned up – no sign of him, no answer on his phone either.  Time went on, a few team members turned up ready to run later legs, ferry each other about etc.  Mark Weston ran up the road pushing himself very hard indeed expecting Ray to take over!   Now what do we do!  As Mark ran the last few yards Paul Armstrong said I’ll do it, I know the route from a few years ago, I’ve got enough time – and off he went.  I gave Emily the lift to Milldale she was expecting from Paul, ready to bring Paul back to Blore. 

On arrival at Milldale I met Alasdair Duncan, and thought he may just have enough time to run his leg from Milldale to Alsop and then get to Bradley Wood to run Ian Jones’s leg, thankfully he agreed.

I took Paul back to Blore when he’d finished the Blore to Milldale leg, ready for him to run his planned Blore to Ellastone leg.  I then rushed back home to get changed to go to Ellastone to run my Ellastone to Wyaston leg.  Paul was the first runner to arrive at Ellastone, and off  I went!  I arrived in Wyaston, and John Page took over for the final leg from Wyaston to Osmaston. 

When I arrived at Osmaston Alasdair had already finished in first place for the Clockwise circuit, all we needed now was John to appear and we’d won, he didn’t disappoint!  We actually won by 34 minutes!

The total route distance was 78.75 miles with almost 12,500 feet of ascent, our total time was 11hours 39 minutes.  The second placed team was Sandhurst Joggers (with some very quick runners) who come to Derbyshire for the weekend all the way from Berkshire.  The third placed team was Ashbourne Rugby Club – well done to them.

Finally a huge thanks to everyone who took part in what is an unusual and very friendly, but still competitive event, particularly Paul and Alasdair.

As for me?  Once my stress induced ulcers have healed, I’m going to take it easy running one of Sir Alan Sugar’s companies – who needs The Apprentice!!

Ian Millward