Dovedale Dash by Sarah Goodwin
It was Sunday 4th November and the sun was not shining on Thorpe Cloud. In fact it was very cold and the threat of rain loomed in the grey clouds above. I lined up with several other DTC members, the village people, a rugby team, batman, a chap in a dalmation-print onesie and about 1400 other loons for another dose of mud, hills and a river crossing, a fitting prequel to the cross countries coming up in a few weeks.
I was checking my laces were tied tightly as the man shouted “Go!” and I narrowly avoided being knocked over from behind as the masses rushed downhill. The route starts at the top of Thorpe Cloud and heads downhill for about half a mile to the river. Chris Redding got a bit over-excited and went head over heels on the way down the hill but fortunately was able to dust himself off and carry on. The traditional river crossing of the Stepping Stones at Dovedale is bypassed by most of the pack as they plunge through the freezing cold water which came up to about mid-thigh level this year. Brrrr! I hear that the second-placed chap opted for the easy option and went over the stones: what a chicken! But maybe that’s why he came second as the rest of us were carrying around river water in our shoes for the next four miles.
After getting out the water it took a few minutes to get the feeling back in my legs as they were so cold. Fortunately the next section was on a path and therefore not too muddy. The route followed the river for a short way before turning off onto fields and into the really muddy section. A chap who I had been talking to on the start line (and recommended that I double tie my laces due to his previous experience) suddenly shouted “Oh Bugger, not again!” and then turned-back to dig out his shoe from the 6-inch deep mixture of mud and cow poo. Unlucky.
The race continued over a mixture of fields, tracks and rocky footpaths until rejoining the path alongside the river but on the opposite side. This was quite slippy underfoot. I think that it was at around this point that Chris Nichol (who was running in seventh place) pulled his hamstring and had to walk the rest of the way back. Hope things are getting better and that you will be back for the cross country, Chris. The final kilometre was a return up Thorpe Cloud – it seemed even steeper on the way back up than it had on the way down! Most people had given up on the concept of the “Dash” at this point but there were a few (mainly children & teenagers) who had a decent sprint finish in them. It was more like the Dovedale Shuffle for me but I eventually made it, without stopping to walk.
Times and finishing positions are not published for the Dovedale Dash, except for the speediest of people. Andy Thornton was the first DTC finisher in 45th place. First lady home was Julie Coulbert.
- Swee-Leng Chuah
- Mark Gardner
- Paul Newton
- Adrian Howlett
- Rod Zala
- Gav Fletcher
- Lou Fletcher
- Sarah Goodwin
- Andy Thornton
- Stuart Hufton
- Julie Coulbert
- Chris Redding
- Mark Wakelam
Sorry to anyone I’ve missed off!
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