The Little Stretton to Stiperstones Villages Time Trial is a unique Shropshire event, where the idea is to travel on foot from Little Stretton to Stiperstones Village in the fastest time.
A minimum of two hills are to be climbed and descended (depending on route chosen) and it’s a mix of trail, upland moorlands and road, with the Longmynd and Stiperstones hills being tackled.
As I looked up at the hill tops on race day, I could see a white dusting of snow; this was going to be an interesting race – and only November too! I got an early start time and set off behind two mates, who I used to pace me through the first two fields before we hit the main climb (300m of elevation). I took a route that followed a sheep tread, which was riddled with gorse bushes and holes, but made this long climb mostly runnable, only walking the last 500m or so. Many people took a shorter, but steeper route along a ridge which is too steep to run, and I could see I was travelling faster than them.
As I summited, the terrain flattened over the top of the Longmynd and I ran well over the next flat/downhill section of road and moorland, managing to pass a few runners as I went. There were patches of snow and slush which made line choices interesting!
As I started the second and final 4km climb up the East face of the Stiperstones, I knew everything ahead of me was runnable, so I just tried to hold my pace as well as I could. I felt good and only lost my stride a bit going through the final muddy field. Dropping into the slippery grass and rock descent to the finish, I knew I had a chance to go under 70 mins, and this I did. I crossed the line in a PB time of 69:22 mins and secured 3rd overall in the process.
The TORQ Running Team is sponsored by the following and without them, we would not be able to do what we do, thank you: