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Gritstone Fixtures: Round Seven – Longshaw* Fell Race


Okay, it’s the last ‘Short’ race of the series.  Last chance to qualify if you’d so far only done 3 of the 4 mandatory short events.

After this, it’s on to the ‘Long’ stuff.  More about that later in the year.

For now, the race is Longshaw.  *Or to give it the full name, Longshaw Sheepdog Trials Fell Race.  So named because (as you might have deduced) it’s part of a larger event which takes place throughout the same weekend – the Longshaw Sheepdog Trials.


The blurb:

Round 7 (Short): Longshaw Sheepdog Trials Fell Race, Saturday 31st August, 10:30am
Start from Longshaw Lodge on Sheffield-Hathersage road GR 265 800
Distance: 9.7km / 6m
Climb: 305m / 1001ft
Route map: here
On the Day £5 to enter field and the race is free!
£5 on the day
Records: Lloyd Taggart (2010) – 38:07 and L Lacon (2006) – 46:27
Organised in association with members from Dark Peak Fell Runners


The details:

Longshaw Sheepdog Trials Fell Race

The race will be held on 31st August 2019, starting at 10.30am from the Trials field at Longshaw Lodge.

Distance = 8.6km (5.3miles) with 320m (1050ft) of climb.

Minimum age limit is 16 on day of race (U18s please see additional note below)

Part of the world’s oldest sheepdog trials. Pay £5 admission fee to access the trials field, then run for nowt! Entry on the day only using standard FRA Senior Race Entry Form. Parking will be adjacent to the trials field as usual, unless the ground is wet, in which case the National Trust Longshaw car park will be used (check the race Facebook Page for status on the day)

Registration and Race HQ in the beer tent, which is adjacent to the start/finish in front of Longshaw Lodge

A counter in Accelerate Gritstone Series.The race is generously supported by both Accelerate and The National Trust. Learn about the NT’s work to protect the Peak District woodlands and their wildlife here ( .

Please note that in line with Dark Peak Fell Runners environmental policy, no plastic cups will be made available at this race. You are encouraged to bring your own drink, which can be left at race HQ. There is also a bar.

Minor revision for 2019 with CP9 moved to access gates adjacent to milepost on Hathersage Rd:


The race is a fixed anti-clockwise route following a mixture of well-defined paths and trods plus open fields near the start/finish. Marshals will be stationed at key sections, whilst certain areas will be flagged with tape.

This race is held under FRA Rules and runners must familiarize themselves with and comply with the FRA Requirements for Runners 2018 (the “Runners’ Rules”).

Race Kit

The kit runners are required to carry is at the discretion of the Race Organiser, depending on the weather conditions. It is always advisable that runners should bring FRA Best Practice kit with them to a fell race. A decision will be made on the day – if the weather is good, there will be no mandatory kit requirement.

FRA Best Practice Kit is waterproof whole body cover (taped seams and attached hood) + hat + gloves + map + compass + whistle + emergency food.

If there is a kit requirement then mandatory kit inspections may be performed on race day and you will not be admitted to start the race unless you have passed this inspection. A further check may be undertaken on completion of the race – anyone completing the race without the required kit will be disqualified and reported to the FRA.

Your race number must not be folded or cut down and must be clearly visible on your chest at the start, all checkpoints and the finish.

This is a fell race over rough and potentially boggy terrain and so fell or trail shoes are mandatory. Competitors with road shoes will not be allowed to run.

Retirement procedure

Runners wishing to retire from the race MUST inform Race Control (at the race HQ marquee) and not just a marshal. They should either:

  • Report to a checkpoint and then return directly to Race Control
  • Report directly to Race Control when retiring between checkpoints

Under 18 years old?

If you are aged 16 or 17 you are classed as a junior runner (those aged under 18 on the day of the race). You must therefore have the consent of your parent or legal guardian before entering and taking part in an FRA Fell Race. This consent may be obtained either by your parent/guardian signing Junior Race Entry Form on your behalf, or by the use of this Parental Consent Form.

Additional information

Race entry personal data – Race Privacy Statement

For what it’s worth, in my view, having never been round this course – it looks like another one for dry conditions if you want to move at a pace.  With the amount of rain we’ve encountered lately (as of 31/07/19) it looks like the muddy puddles will be in evidence.  The ground will be a mixture of gravel, dirt, rock and occasional bouts of wet grass, road sections and MUD.  Something for everyone.  And as is clearly stated in the official notes from the organiser, “Competitors with road shoes will not be allowed to run”.  Good shout!

Note:  I did do the Burbage Skyline a few years back, which shares a few sections with this course and believe me, Higger Tor is STEEP.  This is a taxing run for those trying to run non-stop and make good time.  If in doubt, take it slow/steady and try to at least maintain a pace which is doable, quicker than a walk, but not so hard that you have to stop to recover at every summit.  You’ll cover the course more quickly than if you busted a gut and gradually slowed down between walk/stops.  Just sayin’.


The history:

A Step Back In Time…

The Longshaw Sheep Dog Trials claim to be the oldest continuous trials in the country. They have been run from 1898 to the present day, interrupted only by the two world wars. Accounts of the trials’ origin vary, but the most interesting one is as follows:

The head shepherd and head keeper to the Duke of Rutland had a competition to see who could shoot the most pigeons and the shepherd won. The keeper was furious, and challenged the shepherd to a return match. The shepherd had no gun licence and guessed that the keeper knew this, and intended to inform the Police of the competition. He told the keeper he had neither gun nor licence, and as he did not wish to borrow a gun again suggested that instead they should see whose dog could round up sheep the best, and donated a sheep as the first prize. This first unofficial trial was held around 1894 or 1895.

The first official trial was held on 24th March 1898. It attracted 16 competitors in the Open Class and five in the Local Class. A total of £19 was offered in prize money. The first day’s events were abandoned due to a snow storm but resumed the following day. A second trial was held in September 1898 when ‘the growing popularity of Sheep-dog Trials in North Derbyshire was evidenced by a large crowd on the Longshaw Pastures grounds’. A special train was run from Manchester for the event and 700 spectators paid to see the trials.

By 1901 the number of spectators had risen to 3,000, mostly from Sheffield, with prize money amounting to £33. In 1902 prize money totalled £40 and for the first time there was a competition for a brace of dogs. One report of the trials stated ‘The best dog on the field was not the winner – it was Mr Barcroft’s two year old Sep, but it was not the animal’s fault that the sheep were so stupid’.

The trials became an established fixture in the country calendar and grew in popularity with both competitors and spectators. The Duke of Rutland supported the trials from the outset. There were no trials held during the First World War and when they resumed in 1919 it was reported that ‘a really good dog that knows his worth will cost £30 or £40’. In 1925 8,000 people attended and it was announced that since the start of the trials over £1,000 had been donated to local hospitals and other charities.

Ladies were first allowed to enter the trials as competitors in 1927, but this was not repeated the following year, when a sheep shearing competition was held instead.

A microphone was introduced in 1936 to give a commentary of the events. Prior to this the spectators did not know which were the winning dogs. The following year saw the introduction of a 10 minute bus service from Sheffield, such was the popularity of the trials.

War once again intervened, and when they recommenced in 1945 the BBC were present to record the events. Two day trials were introduced in 1947, on a Thursday and a Saturday, to give more members of the public chance to come and see them, and in 1951 they were extended to the three days that they are today.

The Longshaw Sheep Dog Trials continue to be held every year in early September, providing enjoyment for many and still raising money for charities.

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When PMA needs a little help… – by Caroline French

Caroline French runs for and represents the Accelerate ‘Community’.  As part of Team Accelerate, she not only blogs, but also attends events, group runs (well, coffee & cake afterwards) and sessions in the Accelerate store.

Earlier this year (2019) Caroline suffered an injury which forced her to miss an ultra distance event she’d trained avidly for.  since then, try as she might, she’s ridden a very bumpy road.

But she has remained focused and determined.  Positive beyond all expectation.

Her attention now rests on another ultra event…







When PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) needs a little help…

Me and PMA, we’re like proper buddies. Injuries happen, deal with them, rehab, crack on….

This ankle stress fracture though, grrr. It happened ages ago and only just doing what I’d call training again. I’ll be honest, it has been tough!. A week or so after the ‘incident’ I knew something wasn’t right, but thought I could plough on. WRONG! Even running alternate days and after steady runs, my ankle was sore. It ballooned and even an easy run, I was shattered!

I nervously booked an appointment with Colin (Accelerate Performance Centre’s Podiatrist) and crossed fingers, toes and anything else I could, hoping he could fix it. Turns out that PMA thing wasn’t quite enough.

Stress fracture??????

In the cold light of day, that diagnosis made perfect sense, but being told to rest? Yeah, I know – me! No running. Not much of anything actually. The prospect of this was awful, but got to be done. PMA. PMA. PMA!

Colin Papworth, APC Podiatrist.

So what does a podiatrist do? Most of us dash off to physio with an injury, but don’t think many people get podiatry. It’s basically anything below the knee, especially the foot. If you think about it, the foot is an amazing thing and in the case of us runners, takes a heck of a lot of abuse. No wonder my entire body hurt after trying to run with my stress fractured ankle!

Initial treatment was gentle release and manipulation, gradually increasing mobility. After a couple of weeks of rest (shudder), treatment progressed, releasing the tight muscles and knots and slowly introducing exercises and easy running. Since then its been manipulation, strength exercises, rehab running schedule and a guiding ear as the weeks have progressed. I’m not fully fixed yet – need to continue the sensible progression and listen to my body. The Accelerate Dig Deep 30 has my name on it and I’m taking the guiding advice of Coach Stu and Ankle Hero Colin to get me there.

Side note to Colin: you have been ace. You’ve been a proper rock through this, physically and mentally and a heart-felt thank you!

Shameless plug from the editor:

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‘The Basics’ – Hydration


This one’s quick, but very important.

In a nutshell:

Hydration is the process of consuming and storing water.

It is vital for the efficient running of all our bodily functions and maintaining a healthy/safe temperature.

Drinking water is good for you, especially when exercising.  Very especially on hot days, or during intense/extended bouts of exercise.

But there’s more to consider than just taking on water.

Your body requires salt, or more precisely ‘electrolytes’ within your body in order to function.  It’s more complicated than that, but trust me it’s important.  If you’re brave enough/or insomniac – click here to read about it.

So – when you sweat, you sweat out a lot of the electrolytes contained within the sweat itself.  Just look at people’s faces all streaked with lines of dried up salt next time you’ve finished a lengthy run/race.

To illustrate the importance of electrolyte replacement when drinking for exercise:

Imagine a glass of cola (hmmm cola).  The glass is your body, the cola – your blood stream/hydration level.

 Run Run Run – Sweat Sweat Sweat

– suddenly that glass is half empty.

So you guzzle down water.  Brilliant yes?  NO!

Now that glass of cola looks a little thinner than it did before, but on you go….

Run Run Run – Sweat Sweat Sweat

Same thing again, half empty, so you drink more water to top up.  Perhaps you drink for the entire time that you exercise…?

You don’t want to dehydrate, cause you’ve heard nothing but bad things about dehydration.  So you’re rather pleased with your healthy little run routine.  Then you begin to feel tired, nauseous, crampy, headachey, all kinds of not very good.

The reason….. you’ve lost a lot of electrolytes, before effectively diluting what remained to the point of failure.  You’ve got to restore the salt as well as the water if you’re going to keep working hard and sweating.  And not fall apart.


It isn’t pleasant, but the kids who kill themselves on ecstasy do so because it makes them very hot (that and dancing for hours on end), so they drink water until they overhydrate and they fail.  Same with a few runners who’ve done likewise on great north run or similar, dropping dead at the finish line.



There are plenty of options when it comes to product with electrolyte included.  Sachets, sweets, drinks or gels.  Just look around and try things until you find something which appeals to your taste buds and leaves you feeling good during and after your runs.

I used to eat a Snickers bar or two during long runs, they contain plenty of energy, with both nuts and some salt, along with some caramel and chocolate, so all bases covered for fast/slow energy release and salt enough to stave off over-hydration when drinking.  though for drinks, I used to use dihoralyte for the blackcurrant flavour, combined with plenty of the right minerals.  They provide the basis for remaining comfortably hydrated on long events as well as acting as intended as a remedy against diarrhea.  That’s a win-win in my book.

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Gritstone Fixtures: Round Six – Salt Cellar Fell Race


Another day, another fell race….

And another incredible fixture in the 2019 Gritstone Series – supported once again by inov-8 All Terrain Running!

Without further ado…

Salt Cellar Fell Race:



Official stats:

Round 6 (Short): Salt Cellar Fell Race, Friday 2nd August, 7:00pm
Start under Dam at north end of Ladybower Reservoir, register at Fairholmes, GR SK 173893
Distance: 10.9km / 6.8m
Climb: 486m / 1594ft
£6 pre entry or £9 on day
Records: Tom Saville (2015) – 49:34 and Judith Jepson (2013) – 62:08
Race Organisers:
Proceeds to Edale Mountain Rescue


The course:

  • LK – Local Knowledge an advantage
  • PM – Course Partially Marked

Map –

and that relief map (it’ll be a relief when it’s over, chuckle chuckle) –

Doesn’t look too bad, but that’s a 300 meter climb (Hollin Clough to Bradfield Gate) inside the first 4km!  Straight back down (which will be over all too quickly), then it’s another 150 meters up, for a short (sharp) descent.  And that sharp section toward the end, grassy, with a view of the final section dead ahead – begging for you to cut straight across to the finish…. well, on a wet day, can be a slip ‘n’ slide.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The History:

Sheffield running club, Steel City Striders introduced this off-road event in 2012.  It took until 2014 for the course to reveal its true potential, as this was the first year in which the race took place in wet weather conditions.  While accessible from the picturesque Fairholmes visitor centre/car park, the route takes people up and over the Derwent Edge and past the ‘Salt Cellar’ rock formation, so named because of its distinct shape.

Race records have come and gone, with many runners establishing great times, looking hard to beat in fact….  but the wet weather provides a very difficult course to master.  Occasional dry weather can occur, particularly at this time of year – and if you’re the right calibre with the right conditions under foot….

Tom Saville of Dark Peak Fell Runners currently holds the men’s record (2015) – 49:34.  He managed that during a dry spell, the ground a lot firmer and more responsive, less likely to lose traction or take a fall.  Judith Jepson, also of Dark Peak (2013) – 62:08 is a record which was again established in dry conditions, before the race had ever been attempted in the wet, before the course had revealed its hidden horrors.

With this year providing some of the driest conditions on record, with record temperatures in fact, it’ll be interesting to see what kind of performance can be mustered by the fell running elite, given that we’ve tipped into overwhelming heat, threatening to hamper even the swiftest runner’s progress across such hilly terrain.  Keep ’em peeled come August 2nd for what might be a new course record, or just some very sweaty looking race pics for all concerned….

Should you enter….?

The basic fact is, that for a race with very little entry criteria – good light, warm weather, easy access, low cost (£6 pre-entry/£9 on the day), this one features tough climbs, not for the faint hearted and those descents, which will be hard earned and tempting at top speed, but which have and will provide a few slips, trips and tumbles for anyone not entirely on their game.  And that’s in the dry.

If you’re a keen runner, fell enthusiast, or you love a challenge, then yeah – have a go.

There’s promise of post finish cake for all who take part.  Something of a tradition and more reason to be enormously grateful to the many marshalls and organisers for the effort they put into this race.


Proceeds go to Edale Mountain Rescue, who coincidentally host their own event, the Nine Edges Endurance race (20miles) every year, from the same start location and what a worthy bunch they are.  If like us, you enjoy the beauty of the Peak National Park and frequent the Derwent/Edale area on a regular basis, they’re invaluable, so please do support them if you can.

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‘The Basics’ – Clothing


‘The Basics’ – a regular look at the simple elements which make running gear useful to the runner. Explanations for those who don’t yet know, along with some facts to cut through the marketing nonsense out there, of which there is plenty!

Part one was Midsoles

Part two was Outsoles

Today – it’s clothing.

There’s clothing and there’s clothing.

We’ll use the common T-Shirt, or ‘Tee’ as our example.

For running purposes, there are certain priorities:

  1. Moisture Management
  2. Temperature Regulation
  3. Bacteria Management
  4. Anti-Chafe
  5. Weather Resistance
  6. UV Protection
  7. Use within a layering system…

Let’s take a look at these criteria in some detail.

  1.   Moisture Management.

Your basic running Tee has a simple use, it covers your body.  While running it ought to also help you avoid too much sweat or overheating.  So it might be best to avoid one made from cotton, which gets very hot very quickly, as it doesn’t breathe all that well.  It also traps a great deal of moisture and refuses to ‘let go’.  Which means that you’ll have a hot, heavy, soggy tee shirt on for the bulk of you run.  Not good.

Above :Standard ‘Technical’ or ‘Tech’ t-shirt.


First then, make the shirt from a fabric/material which collects (wicks) moisture, but which also then helps to evaporate it and dry itself out if it can.

There are many shirts out there which describe themselves as ‘technical’ shirts, or made from ‘technical’ material, but this usually boils down to the fact that they are not cotton (organic) and are in fact synthetic, so man made and therefore (slightly more) ‘technical’.  This is to appeal to those who believe that a nylon, or polyester shirt will in some way enhance their performance over the cotton or woollen equivalent.

This is scratching the surface of what’s truly possible in a running shirt.  Yes – there’s value in avoiding the hot sticky cotton, but it goes further than that.

For example…

Materials such as ‘CoolMax’ feature highly sophisticated thread structures which enhance the wicking ability, mimicking, if not outdoing natural fibre’s ability to do the same.  Merino wool for example is one of the most impressive natural wicking materials known, with ability to draw moisture into its hollow strands.  But CoolMax has specially engineered threads that ae propeller shaped and actively draw moisture along the outside of the fibres, moving it away from your skin, while not trapping it within.  Mother nature versus man’s ingenuity and again, all so you can run efficiently.

Above: Simple, but very effective.


2. Temperature Management.

Above: Vents and Breathable panels tailored to fit areas of extreme warmth/blood flow.


Moisture Management virtually IS Temperature Regulation.  They’re very closely linked.  Just lick the back of your hand and feel how that feels…  Then gently blow on it while it’s wet… Colder?  Blow harder… Colder still?

If the shirt you wear features a fabric which is close-knit, no holes, very poor air circulation and you then go running in it, despite its ability to soak up sweat until wet through (wicked out), it will trap your heat and PREVENT heat from escaping.  It’ll become more trouble than it’s worth by virtue of its insulative effect – trapping heat and humidity inside the shirt.  So strategically placed holes and vents are a good way of providing escape for the heat, humidity and air which will continue to blow across your skin while the moisture is removed.

Prevention rather than just cure… to prevent heat building up, rather than trying to cool down at all cost.  The more heat can escape and air can circulate freely, while moisture is collected as soon as it is produced, the more you’ll feel free from bother and enjoy your run.

3. Bacteria Management.

Above: T-Shirt with ‘anti-bacterial agent’ applied once constructed/woven.


This gets a little compicated (as always).  But generally there are two ways of dealing with the build up of bacteria.

a) apply something which repels bacteria to the shirt once produced.  Effective until eventually washing off.


b) build that same something into the shirt during production, so it’s at work from the inside.  And doesn’t just wash off with time.

You get what you pay for.  And companies who apply treatments to their clothing after they’ve been woven together, don’t always use very friendly chemicals, so when they ‘wash off’ they enter the waterways.  That’s not very nice.

Above: Silver, woven/incorporated in the fibres it’s constructed from, reflecting heat from the sun, and/or preventing bacteria from populating the surface. Fewer smells or irritation/infection.



The alternative is to build in a level of resistance as you make the shirt.  To incorporate substances which actively repel bacteria inside the fibres, within the very construct of the shirt fabric, so that it stays, remains active and prolongs the health of the shirt and you – the end user.  Also reducing odour – maintaining friendships.

4. Anti-Chafe.

What it says on the tin.  Shirts ought to not scratch.  If the thread count is high enough, the fibres are smooth and arranged so not to trap hairs or pull at them and the moisture management is working to avoid build up of salt, then you shouldn’t get too irritated or rubbed in all the wrong areas.  There are finishing touches, such as bar-tacs and cross stitches at seams which help to flatten and soften the interior of the clothes, to ensure that you can stay in them for hours, even days and not get any lasting aggravation.

In addition to the materials and what’s applied if not built in, there’s the fit, which if tailored well enough to suit humans in motion, you shouldn’t get any rucking, wrinkling, riding or tension across any particular parts, which among other issues can be the cause of the dreaded ‘nipple rub’, which speaks for itself and leaves runners looking as if they’ve been shot twice during the run/event.  Not the best.

Above: ‘Body Mapped’ shirts with the right panels of breathable or wicking materials around areas of blood flow, heat loss or increased friction.


5. Weather Resistance.

Well, in a Tee there’s an argument for disregarding weather protection as such, but there are some considerations.  As mentioned, in extreme heat/sunlight, brighter shirts, or white ones can reflect heat away from the runner.  In Death Valley, where believe it or not, folk still race ultra distances in up to 50C heat, there are purpose made white jump suits that shield them from the rays.  In everyday terms, white is one thing, but that interwoven silver in the material keeps the external temperatures at bay.  Montane produce a Tee with Primaloft insulation in it, combined with Merino Wool, called ‘Primino’, which makes for a very warm T-Shirt when it comes to keeping warmth in instead of out, but that’s another story (further down).

6. UV Protection.

In an almost obvious sense, clothing gets between you and the sun*.  So to some extent or other protects against the potentially harmful rays given off, which might burn the skin if exposed for too long.  While a shirt might not cover you up entirely, it can be rated for how well it blocks or absorbs these harmful rays.  UPF (Utra Violet Protection Factor) built in to clothing benefits everyone (children/those of fair complexion especially) – as with sun cream, higher rating protect more/for longer.  Standard white cotton tee offers a rating of UPF 5.  Dense construction and treatments, along with Polyester/Nylon are all helpful ingredients in protecting us.  Surprisingly, Black is a good choice, as it absorbs all of the light/heat energy.  But there appear to be positives from all solutions, so keep an eye for the UPF rating when choosing your stuff.

Wet fabric is known to be less effective against the sun, except for Polyester, which is fortunate, since studies show it often improves when wet, perfect as it’s used as the wicking element in most active wear.

Care of your clothing can help.  Broken down, worn out and loose construction can begin to allow UV to penetrate your apparel.

*Use of protective cream is still highly recommended in combination with clothing, as no clothing is 100% safe.

7. Use in a layering system.

Finally, clothes work very well when in their ideal environment, but environments change.  We can create our own system for anticipating these changes and react accordingly if we’re armed with enough of the correct items for a quick alteration en route.  Lightweight wicking base layers offer the first line of defence, with mid-layers adding a second wicking layer along with ability to trap warm air between and create a barrier against any harsh cold or rain that might be coming at you from the outside.  Only when necessary might you apply an outer ‘shell’, of wind or waterproof nature, as these trap far more moisture and heat than practical/safe unless conditions are seriously bad, or you’ve slowed to a pace which no longer generates much heat from within.  If you’ve stopped, or at the end of a run, it’s advisable to add layers or to change into something dry, so to avoid the shock of your core releasing heat when your overall temperature drops too low in reaction to the end of exercise.

Above: The Grail!  A fully tricked out, breathable wicking anti-microbial shirt with body mapping and constructed from 100% recycled material. Saving the planet one shirt at a time!


Finally – but crucially, as we continue to look for ways in which to preserve resources and reduce the impact our manufacturing has on the world around us, it is increasingly vital to re-use and recycle the materials we’ve no longer use for.

Many clothing companies are these days making running apparel from recycled plastics in attempts to minimise the waste and pollution happening around our planet.  Names like Patagonia, RaidLight and inov-8 are introducing recycled and sustainable materials and providing all of the above features without contributing to any unnecessary waste/pollution.

Their efforts and those of similar brands will only double in time, with likely enforcement from governments and authorities.  To produce anything harmful in a time of environmental urgency will eventually (I assume) be outlawed.  what this means is for runners and active types, the clothing we select will by default, be produced without footprint, or as close to carbon neutral as possible and will eliminate the potential for disposal into our oceans, as plastic is already at an emergency level.

Worth thinking about as you debate the short term bargains versus value for money long term solutions.

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