Round Matlock 14 Trig Point Run By Luke Beresford
Updated: May 7
With no Races or Events around early January 2021, I Felt I was lacking a bit of Motivation and the need of Challenge was firmly in my thoughts, with a bit of creativity and sparks of ideas were beginning to flicker through my mind and a bit of Banter with Matt Jones about running 50 at 50 and the idea had been born.
By Early February I had plotted a circular route around Matlock taking in 14 trig point pillars taking in 50 miles of mostly off road running around beautiful Derbyshire allowing myself a 12 hour time frame. A fairly novice Ultra Runner and a few bad experiences of longer 20 mile plus races in the past, I knew this would be a challenge that would take me out of the comfort zone and test me both physically and mentally. I Set a date of Sunday May 2nd with bank holiday Monday to recover 🙂 giving me just under 3 months to prepare, reccy, train and taper for this almost crazy task ahead.
In total I managed 6 long Sunday runs in the build up with a 22, 18, 26, 20, 24, and finally a 40 miler 3 weeks before the day. I’m no expert and this probably isn’t the way to train for ultras but I just went with what my instinct told me. In hindsight the 40 mile was probably a bit excessive with only 3 weeks to taper, but it gave me a huge confidence boost completing the 40, I just was against the clock to shake off the heavy legs 3 weeks later.
Joining me on 2 of the reccy runs was Cathy Cresswell who was a great help and it was from the reccy runs were I began to really appreciate the route. Carl Hopkinson was also ever present and was a massive help through out the reccys and the actual day itself, giving up his time to drive and transport us about and taking food and drinks to various points, Bravo Carlos! An absolute legend. I reduced the time frame down from 12 hours to 11 hours, then finally gambled on going on a 10 hour schedule for the day.
In the week leading up to the big day I started coming down with phantom aches, pains and colds and I started to feel a mix of nerves and excitement for the mammoth task ahead. Finally the day arrived and as predicted I didn’t sleep particulary well and was awake and drinking pg tips by 4am. A quick dash out to catch Sunrise on Crich Chase at 5.30am calmed me down and a beautiful golden sunrise rose upon the valley floor in early morning mist to awaken the day.
A quick slice of wholemeal toast and blackcurrant jam and down to the Hurt Arms for the 6.45am meet up. Joining me on the first stages I was in fine company with previous bob graham runners and a great calibre of pedigree runners in Ian Hawley, Wayne Smithurst, Tim Perry, Kev Perry and Andy Hall.
By 7am we was away and heading up through Shining Cliff woods surprising a few wild campers who must have wondered what the heck was happening as a stampede of runners came hurtling through there camp. We headed up for the 1st trig of the day of Alport Heights, which we hit spot on schedule for 7.40am. The next few trig points went by pretty quickly (Black Rocks, Middleton top, Harborough rocks) in fairly sharpish pace with Simon Fisher joining us at Middleton Top, we were moving well and the high peak peak trail was pretty much deserted in early morning sunshine.
By trig point 5 (Slipper low) we was 10 minutes up on Schedule and soon descending down into Grangemill (16 miles) for the first stop of the day. A Refuel Cheese & Cucumber sandwich, flap jack, and a pg tips cuppa tea and 5 minutes later we was away climbing up the ascent to Bonsall moor with a new batch of runners in that of nice and steady Mick Wareham and Matt Jones.
From Bonsall moor trig point it was a great descent down into the lovely Wensley Dale, that is the Wensley Dale of Derbyshire and not Yorkshire 🙂 The impressive view of Oaker Hill soon came into view and this is a really nice section of the route and I was greeted at the trig of Oaker by my brother, sister, brother in law, sister in law and all 5 of my nieces and nephews, it was great to stop a few minutes and enjoy the moment and it really lifted my spirits although I was still feeling relatively good at mile 21.
Heading upto Stanton moor its a bit of a grueller and other than the nice bluebells on the way up I was happy to get this section over with and hit the trig point still 10 minutes up on schedule. Through the nine ladies stone circle and we was soon descending down into Rowsley (26 miles) for the 2nd refuel of the day. A 5 minute break eating my sandwich stood in the river Wye bathing my legs in nice cold water replenished my chi levels and massaged the aches and pains in my calves and hamstrings.
Another changeover of runners and I was now in splendour company with the ladies joining for the 2nd half of the route. Esther, Cathy, Amy N, and Louise had arrived in perfect time for the next section. Soon we was away and heading up through Tinkersley woods and more bluebells were catching the eye and momentarily taking my mind off any pain.
Trig point 9 (Fallinge) we arrived at 12.40pm, keeping us on track with the nice section of Hall Dale and Sydnope Dale with cascading waterfalls leading us to Farley Trig just less than a hour later. It was at this point were for the first time of the day I really started to feel the effects of 6 hours running and became a little dazed and shakey, thankfully Carl Hopkinson had turned up at the top of the climb out of Sydnope Dale and a bit of Bread and Blackcurrant Jam seemed to do the trick and perk me back up.
Wirestone trig soon came and went and then we began the descent into Kelstedge and climb up to Ashover rock trig. I was starting to go through patches of feeling okay then feeling Awful. We arrived in Ashover (40 miles) for 2.40pm and a final welcomed 5 minute refuel break of the day. Joining us here was Jay Trigger Bird and Jo Howett who had turned up with the worlds best homemade flapjack. Out of Ashover we headed up the climb towards Highoredish and it now became just a battle to keep moving, forget about timing and just finish. I knew the pace was slowing but every step was a step closer to the finish and so the focus was to keep placing one foot in front of the other.
From Highoredish trig point the final trig point of Crich Stand was in view and I think mentally that was very uplifting but still with 40 plus miles in the legs it still felt a long way. Heading over more fields and what felt like never ending hills, Crich Stand began to approach and a cheeky check of the watch and I realised that a sub 10 hours may still be possible.
We finally hit Crich Stand at 4.22pm, leaving us 38 minutes to get down and back to Hurt Arms, Ambergate. My stomach was turning and gulping more water I very nearly was sick but just managed to not make myself look a wolly. Alison greeted us at the bottom of the stand and joined us for the final run into Ambergate.
Heading down through Crich Chase woods I finally knew I was going to complete it and although in pain I felt a great sense of completion begin to wash over me. As we hit the final 200m along the busy A6 Road it suddenly turned into a full on sprint and a few of my friends and family had turned out to see me finish which was massively over whelming, and the time was 4.52pm giving me a sub 10 hour time of 9 hours 52 minutes, 50 miles exactly. I was absolutely delighted and had such a great day in doing so.
A big thankyou to everyone who helped out, both Andy and Kev did a sterling job in using there ultra running experience and giving wise words and encouragement throughout. It was a perfect day, spent in perfect company, in perfect weather doing what I love most, running around the beautiful countryside of Derbyshire. A celebratory drink was had at the Fishermans Rest post run, were I managed to drink all of a quarter of a pint of beer.
Whats next? Bob Graham? Paddy Buckley?
Nah! , I think I will stick with parkrun 🙂