Dovedale Dipper

Race Report by Rob Davies

Sunday 2nd August – Dovedale Dipper


Marathon number 39 – the Dovedale Dipper, slowww and very undulating. Great!


So why did I choose this as my 39th marathon? Because! Because I had a spare weekend having swapped my church stewarding duty , thanks Barbara! I have entered Amsterdam Marathon, to run with a relative for her first marathon. Due to commitments later in the year I thought i’d look for a summer marathon. Many friends in the running community have recommended runs/walks organised by the Long Distance Walking Association, particularly friends in the 100 marathon club. I found this run via the 100 marathon club website list of UK marathons, looking for events not to far from home, As the event had been run for several years and seemed to have a few hundred entries over the various distances, long walk, medium walk, marathon run, i’d guessed it would be reasonably well organised. Correct.




The start and finish were at Hartington Village Hall. Hartington what a lovely country village. I searched the web for route information, and was fortunate that a friend sent me a link to her garmin trace for a previous years event. The precise route directions were posted on the website.

This was a few weeks before the event, 2 sides of A4, with good descriptions, a paragraph on the distance between each of the 6 checkpoints. So trying to be prepared, I highlighted the route as best I could on a copy of the appropriate O/S map, marking the checkpoints as grid references where given.
So up early for porridge as is the ritual, then leaving North Wales before 7am for a route via Crewe, Stoke and Leek into the Peak onto Hartington. There were good signs and marshals to guide us to the ‘Old Cheese factory’ for parking about 1/4mile from village centre. A walk to register at the village hall and a very efficient process with lots of volunteers from organisers Matlock Rotary.


Following recent experience on a trail marathon, that I may be out for 6hrs or so, and always aware of the UK weather i used my ‘Camelback’ minirucksack with water and lightweight jacket. Even though it was raining as I left Flintshire, on arriving in Derbyshire it had dried up and was warm but overcast. So sun oil was applied,oh dear, clearly not enough, as I ended up with a rather red neck and shoulder!


One of the joys of the running community is meeting friends from other races . At the start of the race a quick chat with Helen & Claire doing a shorter route. Then I fell into step with Becca, I have certainly been inspired by her tales of completing Comrades three times … so far ! Wow.




With maybe a 100 or so starters it was a reasonably crowded start, but very quickly thinned out as we started up the first rolling hills. Lots of gently undulating hills until we hit the Tissington Trail/ High Peak Trail for around 5k on a near road-like surface, and the first checkpoint at 5 miles


Some undulating hills, stiles stiles and more stiles, ouch is that my back spasm. For a couple of days before the race, I was in typical runners angst, ooo that back twinge when I put a box in the car, is it the old lumbar weaknesss which has stopped me running in the past. Is that heel discomfort really plantar fasciitis, or just tapering madness? The heel discomfort has now gone , and the back … is reasonable. Marathon running IS good for you.

On towards the second checkpoint and I notice the scar of a quarry on our right, we must be at the most northerly point of the route I remember from pouring over maps!.

Checkpoint 2 at the village of Longnor, luckily Becca was observant to take the footpath as no other runner in sight, then through farm and we saw a line of runners ahead. Then some gentle jogging across fields alongside the river manifold, we went past walkers who’d set off an hour earlier.


To checkpoint 3 to wards HILLS !! at Revidge Hills, through the village of Warslow, then OUCH down into the Manifold Valley steeply down and steeply up the other side up Ecton hill, hands on knees to push up steep, one of those climbs on the map where the contours are soooo close together you know its going to be tough. Yes it was, but great views of course and by now it was getting warm !


Checkpoint 17 miles at Wetton. Undulations and stiles to next checkpoint at Castern Hall,- all with water, squash, biscuits, and the last 3 with CAKE and CRISPS…..mmmm

More rolling hills … then a sign as we were not far from next checkpoint, this path can by very slippy when wet. It was dryish but still slippy and treacherous. We picked our footsteps carefully down (200ft down in about 0.2mile according to strava!) on a narrow path through undergrowth and welcome shade.

Down to Hope dale Hollow, Milldale and the river Dove. A gentle saunter along the river side to checkpoint 6 – ahh crisps.

Then continue along the river side 5k BEAUTIFUL , and a few more hills and stiles away from the river to a lane back into Hartington-running alongside Jason from Sandbach Striders- tales of Everest Marathon, and Marathon Des Sables .

Strava says 6hr 08 moving time , and recorded a 6hr 47 total time for 26.68miles.

Back at the village hall – and included in the £12 entry fee – a certificate of completion, and baked potato with chilli great, a cup of tea walk (sort of ) back to the car for the drive home.



The Doverdale Dipper marathon – was a glorious wonderful day out, Strenuous, Hilly yes, and lots of stiles . A slow marathon but very enjoyable, beatiful rolling countryside, with a couple of steep hills, all in al reasonably easy to follow navigation- certainly to be recommended. Thank you to organisers – Matlock Rotary. Marathon no 39 tick.


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