Christine dashes to her latest victory

Matlock AC's Ian Phillips at the Dovedale Dash.
Matlock AC's Ian Phillips at the Dovedale Dash.

MATLOCK Athletic Club members were well represented last weekend when the 56th annual Dovedale Dash race was held.

From its roots back in 1953, when about 15 runners took part, it quickly grew and for many years has been attracting well over 1,000 competitors.

This year was no exception with 1,540 lining up in the sunshine at Thorpe for the mad 4.5 mile dash down into Dovedale, through the river, across the muddy meadows to Ilam then back upstream and into the steep uphill final straight.

Matlock Athletic Club has always been well represented in this race with one member, Clive Russell, taking part in his 46th Dash. But it was at the sharp end where this year the club really excelled.

The early lead was taken up by Matlock’s Ian Phillips who had Paul Butcher of Southwell AC breathing down his neck all the way to the last climb where a gap finally opened to give Phillips victory in 27.43.

In the ladies’ category, it was the sky and navy blues of the Matlock vest which took the first place courtesy of a great run by Christine Howard in 34.38 previous winner in 1999 and 2003.

Adding to the haul were Jenny Reed who, having had Howard in her sights for most of the race, finished second lady, and the ever-youthful Simon Brister, awarded the silver plate in the over 60s category.

A further 17 Matlock runners took part, an encouraging proportion being junior members.

A week later and with the November fog firmly settled over the high ground of the White Peak, it was the annual High Peak Relay with its eight stages being run out and back along the High Peak Trail.

Matlock AC fielded two teams with the A team finishing runners-up to North Derbyshire RC and three minutes adrift in 2 hours 47 minutes with, unusually, no individual stage victories but an all-round consistent performances.

The B team ran solidly too finishing in 14th place out of 38 teams.