Anniversary Waltz Fell Race, 21st April 2018

Race Report from Richard Slack

The Anniversary Waltz is the name for the Newlands Valley horseshoe race, named to celebrate the anniversary of Steve and Wynn Cliff at Newlands church in April 1996. Sadly this year, the 22nd running of the Anniversary Waltz is the last as Steve died of MND early in 2018.

I reported last weekend that Hawkshead was a challenge – well that was a gentle warm up in comparison! The Waltz is 11.5 miles with total ascent of 3,600 feet, covering the fells surrounding the Newlands Valley. In order, Robinson, Hindscarth, Dalehead, High Spy, Maiden Moor and finally Catbells.

The run starts and finishes at the village of Stair and ran throughout on a glorious day in the Lake District. I met Sarah Bowen briefly at the start in a large field of runners of around 700. Then off we set. The first couple of miles in bridleway and road and pretty easy running to Newlands church. Then a slow uphill into the valley with Robinson looming large ahead. Then started a 1,500 foot ascent straight uphill – no running here and the old adage of walk the ups, don’t stop, just keep going and then run the flats and the downs. After the initial steep climb there is small exposed rock section which despite my normal concern over height exposure I only had one thought – get up and on. After that a more gentle walk/run to the first summit of the round. Flew from there down to Littledale Edge, a really fast section, and then steady walk/run up onto Hinsdcarth. Similar thereafter to Dalehead with its magnificant views at the head of the valley. Thereafter a 1,000 foot knee and thigh numbing straight descent down to Dalehead Tarn to be followed by a 600 foot re-ascent to High Spy. The sun still shone so it was certainly toasty hot! Beyond High Spy the fastest consistent part the race. A long downhill over Maiden Moor down to the Hause Gate gap at the final ascent to Catbells. About a third way up Catbells (and only about 400 foot of ascent) a new sensation – cramp in both thighs which makes walking let alone running quite a challenge! After some small baby steps for few minutes the cramp eased and I pushed on to the final top of Catbells. Then the final descent to Stair village and the lovely sight of the finish line and importantly the river. Through the finish, straight into the river – fantastic. Bring on Fairfield on 12 May.

To put things into context the 1km up Robinson took about 23 minutes, and as I reflected at the time – not too shabby for a 5km parkrun!

Provisional times:
Richard Slack 2:44:03
Sarah Bowen 3:00:30

Tom Tinsley -