Red Kite Trail Race 14th July 2019

Pre race

A beautiful Summers day in July and the short trip to Dipton. A friendly welcome and a not so friendly course. A good turnout from Derwentside A.C. including those who knew what to expect and a few who had no idea. Local club Derwent Valley Trail Runners organise the Red Kite Trail Race. It is a circular route of logging paths, fields and a stream crossing. At almost 100ft of climbing per mile it is one of the hilliest races on the circuit.It was good to see some of the juniors taking part in the fun run and John Donneky marshalling at the top of the last bank with his words of encouragement.

The DAC crew minus Mark who was warming up

When the entries opened in earlier in the year three things attracted me to sign up to my first planned race for four months. 1) It was 6 weeks after my BG attempt, I should be race fit. 2) I know the course, can relax and enjoy the race. 3) I love the big hill at the end and should be able to overtake a few people in front.

As usual I was totally wrong. I’ve felt tired and achy since the BG and there were some route changes since the last time I ran the Red Kite Trail Race. Worst of all they reversed the course with the big hill becoming a descent at the start instead of an ascent at the end.

Getting my excuses in early

banner Craghead and South Moor banners fight their way through the crowds

A stressful day managing the Craghead banner parade through the village and in Durham on Saturday had me tired and distracted. On my warm-up I was frustrated and couldn’t stop yawning. I enjoyed exploring the new track from the woods near the end of the course. Dom, the chairman of DVTR, told us about the changes and the hills in the pre-race briefing and we were off.

Time to race

I approached it the only way I know how. Pull myself together and go for it. After hurtling down the first stretch of hill I hit the incline linking the two descents and realised from my laboured breathing it was going to be a painful hour of running. I was able to successfully navigate the slippy stream crossing (definitely more difficult this way). It was at the halfway point in the race and we set off back up the valley to the finish.

Stream crossing thanks Lee for letting me use the photo

Wrong turn in the woods

The main advantage of the reversed and simplified course was that it should be more difficult to get lost. Unfortunately this didn’t prove to be the case. A short detour brought the little group I was running with back onto the trail. We were now behind a few runners we had previously been leading.

Graham Marshall had appeared ahead of me after the diversion. Despite rib and shoulder injuries he was running much faster than he had suggested pre-race. I decided to increase the pace to close him down quickly which was a mistake.

As soon as I got close a long hill appeared in front of us and my legs started to argue. I eventually squeezed past Graham near the top and headed for the finish.
I’ve got no idea what John said at the last corner but it spurred me on to the line. Graham followed closely behind. For two blokes with low expectations prior both finishing in under an hour on a hilly 8 mile course was a good result. Well done to local lad Stephen Gibson who won the race and the DAC ladies who finished with smiles on their faces.

Scenic, low key, friendly, cheap and a challenging course. What more could you ask for? A race to add to your wish list for anyone who hasn’t done it yet.

Have you done the Red kite Trail Race? Why not let us know in the comments below.

Read more posts on our Dreaming of the fells blog page.

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