Sheffield boasts some of the finest tree cover, woodlands and countryside in Britain with a third of the city lying in the Peak District National Park, and more woodland cover (over 10%) than any other city in the country as well as over 2 million trees.  Sheffield is also famous, amongst other things, for its hand-crafted steel cutlery.
Now…the reason why I mention both of these Sheffield attributes is to segue to a third, and arguably, the best unique quality of this city namely: the Round Sheffield Run. This is a 20k “multi-stage trail running experience” over a 24km route round the South West quadrant of Sheffield. It follows a variety of surfaces, (tarmac, hard-packed gravel, and forest trails) taking in open countryside, wooded trails and public parks: an unique combination of terrains and undulations (!). The route has been “hand-crafted” to show off Sheffield’s environs at its best. And if the hills don’t take your breath away, then the views from the high points of the course certainly will.
The event is well organised by Kandoo Events. I like the name and also the attitude as demonstrated by the (IMHO) helpful multiple emails leading up to the event day which serve to make sure that nothing is left to chance ( except maybe the weather) and that you get the most out of the event. On the day, everything appeared to go smoothly: friendly volunteers making the Bib, Dibber, & Bag Drop process quick and easy; cheerful Marshals-a-plenty along the way, augmented by signposts (especially helpful along the wooded trails) and lastly, but by no means the least, the great camaraderie.
Just two examples of this…
On the second stage, up the Porter Valley Ascent, I heard someone behind me trip and fall down with a groan. Instinctively, I looked back and shouted: “Are you Okay?”
“All good”, came the (slightly-stunned) reply.
As I continued on my way, I was passed by another runner (who had just heard the interchange) and he quipped, “Love this sport!”. Yes, I have to agree. I recount this mini-tale, not to boast of my own reactions but, to applaud the general camaraderie that I experience, time and time again, at such events ( and, of course, at parkrun 🙂 ).
I was later to be on the receiving end of runners’ kindness on the Graves Park stage. I was struggling up the hill, almost breaking into a walk , when a voice from behind me pipes up:
“Keep going mate, you are just 50 yards from the (stage) finish”!
And whilst I am handing out plaudits…
Special mention must go to Lucy Marris, star of the parkrun back pack, who enthusiastically clapped and papped us as we passed by her viewing point in Chelsea Park.
Oh, and thanks too for the random by-stander along the finish straight who cheered me on by name (just when I needed to dig deeper to get across the line with something (vaguely) resembling a sprint!
This is now the second time that we have participated in this event, (see the account of the previous adventure) and I can only say that this event keeps on giving and bringing a smile to our faces, (which is no mean feat especially on the uphill bits).