They came in their hundreds from all part of the country for the British Fell Running Relay Championships at Ladybower, in the shadow of the Derwent Dam. Six to a team, and no fewer than 224 teams.
But many had to bow down to the senior men’s A team from Matlock Athletics Club, who performed admirably to finish seventh overall in a contest spanning four legs, two solo and two paired, of varying distances.
Lead runner Billy Cartwright even came first overall, before more splendid performances by the rest of the relay squad, Alasdair Campbell, Joe Oldfield, Harry Holmes, Stuart Bond and Dan Haworth.
After rain throughout the week, the sticky, technical descents on the course challenged even the most seasoned of fell runners.
But Matlock’s senior men’s B team also acquitted themselves well, finishing a respectable 43rd overall. They comprised Pete Watson, Paddy Wright, Derek Chetwin, Rich Bradbury, Mat Nichols and John Thorpe.
The club also entered a men’s over-50 veterans’ team, made up of Simon Croft, Pete Wilmot, Mark Elwis, Andy Hall, Geoff Cooper and Bob Foreman. They put in a sterling effort to finish 137th.
The winning team came from Keswick in the Lake District, while the ladies’ title was taken by Helm Hall, of Kendal.
Elsewhere, the Fairey family took pride of place when a handful of Matlock runners tackled the Chesterfield Half-Marathon and its support races on sunday morning.
Youngster Logan Fairey won the 1K Fun Run, held in Queen’s Park, while Shelley Fairey was the second lady finisher in the main event after posting a time of one hour, 27.59 minutes.
Nick Holland was also an excellent fifth in the half-marathon with a time of 1.15.47, while Jonathan Tyson clocked 1.41.52.