Monday, 9 October 2017

Race Roundup: CRUK Tough 10 Peak District

We took on the challenge of one of Cancer Research UK's toughest organised runs. Based out in Castleton, in the Peak District, the Tough10 trail run come fell race is definitely not one for the faint hearted but it's certainly a lot of fun!

Race Roundup CRUK Tough10 Peak District

Ahead of the Day
Despite having this on our radar for quite a long time we didn't actually sign up to do the event until one week before it (Slightly put off by the high entry fee). You sign up online which is a pretty simple process and easy to do for multiple runners too, however one niggle that annoyed me slightly was receiving the link to a "Just Giving" page that they automatically set up for you before you even receive confirmation of your entry - I understand that it's a charity but it seemed a bit pushy. Our race packs arrived within days of signing up and contained our numbers, a bag drop off label and our chips. The accompanying letter didn't explain that much about the event so it was better to get information from the website

CRUK Tough 10 Peak District

On The Day Organisation
Upon arriving in Castleton the route to the free car park was marked out with a few marshals guiding the way. Parking was about a 10 minute walk from the start line. Around the starting area there was various stands set up; a bag drop, a help and information desk and a coffee stall. There were toilet facilities available but the queue was huge and meant a slight delay in the race start time. Information about how the start would work was constantly being told over the speaker system for everyone to hear. The start was staggered into three pulses based on your usual 10km times; pulse one for sub 45minutes, pulse two for sub 55mins and pulse three for the remainder. The route was well marshaled and sign posted  - with information signs to show the elevation gained on climb sections, a nice touch!

 The turn out was pretty good with around 215 runners taking part in the event. There was plenty of support at the start line and especially for the final 25 meters before the finish. Along the route itself there was pretty much no spectators although plenty of hikers were out who would kindly step to the side and offer some encouragement. 

Castleton tough 10 race finishers

The Course
The circular route begins on Hollowford Road and heads straight towards the centre of Castleton, marshals were on hand to stop the traffic on the main road to allow all the runners to pass through. After crossing the main road it was straight on up to Cave Dale, where the trail part of the run truly began - this was a 220m climb through a mixture of stream, rocks and mud! After reaching the top of Cave Dale just after the 2km marker the hill begins to give way to a flatter section of the run, it's along some more mud here until you reach the road at around 3.5km.

The road takes you nicely to the 5km* mark where it's back to a climb and back onto tougher terrain, here you tackle the hill the leads you to the steps up to Mam Tor. Climbing Mam Tor itself is much easier as the route follows paved steps to the highest point of the run. After you've reached the top, from here it's undulating hill along a paved path. At around 8km the route turns away from the path and into a steep downhill mud bath! This was by far the trickiest km of the run and had many people slipping and sliding all over the place! At the bottom of the hill it's one final push back along the road to the finish line.
The course had a complete mixture of terrain including road, field, rocky paths and a lot of mud. You definitely need a pair of trail running shoes for this event!  

Tough 10 Peak District Elevation

*Note: We found some discrepancy between our watches GPS km calculations and the official markers along the route. We think this might be due to the course being measure flat from above and not bringing elevation into the equation. In total this gave us an actual run of around 10.4km.  
The Goodie Bag
At the finish line participants receive a medal, bottle of water and protein bar. You can also collect a print out with your chip time and position (due to runners still coming in the position is relative to when you finished so this may be different to the final results)

Tough 10 Peak District Medal

Although you don't get much (considering the entry fee) it felt like a lot had been spent on organisation and we were happy to pay a little more so the excess can go towards Cancer Research UK
Key Stats
Entry Fee: £25
Atmosphere 3/5
Race Organisation 4/5
Course Difficulty 5/5
Goodie Bag 2/5
Overall Score 4/5   

Key Stats explained
Atmosphere rating (1-poor, 5-excellent) based on other runners, the crowd and general feeling of the event.
Race Organisation (1-poor, 5-excellent) based upon key information being communicated ahead of time, race information including number arriving in plenty of time, speed of response from organisers on requesting information, facilities available along the route and ease of starting the race. 
Course Difficulty (1-very easy, 5-extremely difficult) based on gradient of the route, running surface eg. Road or trail, obstacles along the route and ability to stay on the correct route through markers or marshals.
Goodie Bag (1-none available, 5-best goodie bag ever!) based on prizes given out post event such as medals and t-shirts.
Overall Score (1-Would not recommend, 5-would recommend to everyone) based on all factors above to give an overview of how good the event was. 

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