The Stickler – ascend, descend, repeat!

The Stickler - Bridport Runners with supporting Adam (29-10-2017)Last Sunday Chris, Adam, Kazy,  Tony, Erin, Rachael M., Jess, Ben R. (from left to right on the picture) and Vicky’s sister Emma took on the Stickler, with injured Vicky and family in support. The race, organised by the Dorset Doddlers, is also known as Dorset’s Three Peaks Challenge. There were 542 finishers in this 10 mile long race, and Bridport Runners did well, with Adam coming in as first Bridport Runner in 1 hr. 23 min. and 59 seconds despite still recovering from his nasty accident in summer. “It was a bottle neck nightmare at the start, not as hilly as I feared, loved it,” said Adam afterwards. “Next year, I’m going race fit!” And while Kazy, second female Bridport Runner to finish, was full of praise for the race (“It was a lovely stunning Sunday autumn morning run. So nice to finish at the old English train station!”), Jess was more concerned about the health of livestock on the course, as you can read in her report of The Stickler.

In the run up to race day it started to seem like The Stickler is an event you do just once. At various club runs and training sessions over the last few weeks those of us who had signed up started to realise that (almost) none of our club mates who had done the race in previous years (see 2015 and 2016 race eports) were signing up again this year, apart from Kazy. It couldn’t be that tough, could it?

So on Sunday, with a detailed course description from Claire running through our minds, we all headed to the pretty village of Shillingstone, near Blandford ready to take on Okeford Beacon, Hod Hill and Hambledon Hill.

The pre-race safety briefing included the usual – “watch out for cars on the road crossings”, “be careful of rabbit holes”, and the slightly more unusual “be aware of the poorly sheep on top of the third hill”.

A bit of confusion at the start – none of us were really sure where that start line was or when we were starting. But then we were off. Although its called the Three Peaks Challenge, there were in fact four hefty hills, each one seemingly steeper than the last. 10.1miles later we all arrived at the finish line on the platform of Shillingstone village station.

Adam ran a stormer, with Chris following close behind, and then Ben R.. Rachael was the first Bridport Runners lady home, with Kazy close behind. Tony was next, then Emma, followed by Erin (who had bravely chosen The Stickler as her first race for over 12 months), with Jess rounding it up for the club.

Once Jess had convinced the kind man from St John’s ambulance that her wobbly legs were back under control (thanks to the jelly beans and fudge provided by Vicky at the finish!), we all posed for a quick team photo and then hot footed it off for a large, delicious and well deserved Sunday lunch.

Next year? Hmm… maybe!

PS: And for those of you wondering about the poorly sheep – I’m sad to report, it was dead by the time I reached the final hill (I think, a reflection on how poorly the sheep was, rather than how long I took to get to the top of the third hill).