Rowbotham’s Round Rotherham

[Wed 28th Oct 2009]  A first hand account of this 50 miler by Blyth’s intrepid reporters Dave Bradley and Steve Walker. 

After our abject failures at this event last year due to the extreme weather conditions, we sat in the bar afterwards, reflecting on our wise decisions to retire at the midway point over a few cold pints.  “Never again”, said Dave.  “That’s fine by me”, said I.

So there we were again, standing outside Dearne Valley Sports College just outside Rotherham at 6:55am on Sat 17th Oct listening to the final instructions prior to the 7:00am start.  There were about 70 or 80 runners at the start with another 120 slower runners and walkers having already set off an hour earlier at 6:00am, the 16hr time limit meant that with us starting an hour later, we had 15hrs in which to finish before the 10:00pm deadline.

The event is a trail race in the truest sense of the word, with sections of tarmac, cycle paths, canal towpaths, grassy fields, ploughed muddy fields, woods and any other terrain you can think of which completes a circuit through the area designated as the South Yorkshire Forest (although the route is mainly rural and not very forested).  There are 7 checkpoints on the route, all having basic drinks and food, with the halfway point having sandwiches, tea and soup.  The longest distance between checkpoints is 10 mile and the shortest about 4 mile.  The organisers (Rotherham Harriers and AC) supply a written route description and a “Wainwright” style strip map, which is excellent for navigation.

This year the weather was very kind, unlike the freezing monsoon conditions of last year, with a cool start before the sun came up to give us a warm, calm day.  An added bonus was the lack of mud, in fact if anything the ground was too hard.  Dave finished in 10hr 43min (90th) and I recorded 9hr 58min (59th) out of a total of 208 finishers.  The winner finished in a time of 6hr 42min.  Roll on next year!

Full details of the event can be found here.

Steve Walker