Hades Hill fell race – Whitworth, nr Rochdale (5m/1200ft)

Thursday 7th September 2017

M 1st. Gavin Mulholland (Calder Valley Fell Runners)        00:34:02

F 1st / 18th.  Lindsey Oldfield (Calder Valley Fell Runners)   00:43:34

16016Jarrod HomerM45(004/011)00:43:05
34032Graham DuceM45(007/011)00:45:25
37004Louisa HarrisonF40(003/010)00:47:19
49042Andrew WattsM65(001/003)00:48:13
63055Tony HulmeM70(001/002)00:50:17
76067Chris CannonM60(007/010)00:53:02
78069Paul NorrisM60(008/010)00:54:06
83011Catriona MarshallF50(002/005)00:58:28
87013Nicky MowatF55(001/003)00:59:03
89015Carolyn HironsF50(004/005)00:59:26
90075Don BulloughM60(010/010)00:59:46
106079Ian RobertsM50(016/017)01:16:00

(108 finishers / ?? lost)

Full results at : http://www.ukresults.net/2017/hades.html

Billed as probably the last evening fell race of the year, Hades Hill, a short 5m out and back race, looked to be worth the effort getting there judging by the photos of a previous year – runners enjoying a late tranquil summer evening race on the moors above Rochdale complete with setting sun. A stunning landscape with views over north Manchester, what’s not to like ?   Well, not this year !!

The rain forecast arrived bang on time shortly before setting off for Whitworth.  The traffic was horrendous no matter which way you went, far worse than expected !  Sat in endless slow-moving traffic queues, Nicky and I constantly mulled over why we were doing this but kept our spirits up in the vain hope that no-one else would turn up thus earning ourselves 100 and 99 pts, respectively.  :))   It would also be the lowest-ever recorded turnout, ever, ever – never to be repeated.

Fortunately, we arrived with just enough time, greeted in the road by no other than the indefatigable Andy O’Sullivan himself (race organiser), regaled in full waterproofs but seemingly very delighted to see us.  In no time at all we were at the start, ready to run and take on whatever lay ahead.

After the initial run up the road, the sight of low mist over the hills only compounded the impending gloom on what was already looking like a thoroughly miserable evening.  But, we’ve experienced such before, and all loved it really – especially the points earned!


Nicky writes ……

A similar arrival time to Cat’s.  Who would have believed that leaving Wilmslow at 4.30pm we would nearly have missed the start of the race at 6.45pm.   No warm up, so I was already in the anaerobic zone during the first 500 yards uphill.  I saw my adversaries in group 3, Chris and Cat, surge past me and with nothing but ascent ahead I was helpless to catch them up.  The mist was quite thick and soon I could see no one ahead. I stopped and looked back –no-one- panic!  After what seemed ages some runners appeared staying on the higher ground bearing to their left.  A familiar voice (Carolyn) called my name and I joined the route again.  This was not my favourite racing territory, mud, narrow gorges and long reeds up to my waist.  In fact, running would be a euphemism for my method of ascending the hill.

As we neared the summit the ‘fasties’ were on their way down and we had to step aside to let them past.  The narrow path and uneven ground didn’t seem to have the same effect on Louisa, Jarrod and co, not to mention Chris who I normally would be battling with.  I arrived at the top with Don and Carolyn.  The pack had spread out and it was hard to find your way.  My support team escorted me down, Don leading the way and Carolyn picking me up when I fell in the mud.  I only risked overtaking Don when I could see another runner ahead to follow and the terrain was rather flatter.

We heard the sound of a whistle in the distance, oh dear someone was in distress (we found out later this was Cat!). I was very glad to reach the path and was looking forward to flying down the hill we had ascended at the start only to be diverted through the woods.  I knew Chris had had a good race when he was already at the turning point cheering me on.

It didn’t actually rain much during the race but just as we were trying to get out of our muddy kit the heavens opened.  We should be experienced at changing our shoes standing on one foot, but I did have a fit of the giggles when I put my clean sock straight into the mud.  At least I had two shoes to take off, unlike Ian who lost one on the way but still carried on.  As a new WRC member hats off to him!

I’m afraid Hades Hill will probably be put on my ‘never again’ list of races, which is actually quite short..  However I enjoyed the camaraderie and my admiration for the marshals who were still waiting for the last finishers when we left in the pitch dark.  Many thanks to Carolyn who put up with my ‘Oh God, this is awful’ (and probably worse expletives) for most of the route and of course to Don without whom I wouldn’t have done the race.


and Chris writes.…

Well, could there be any better way of spending a Thursday evening, miserable weather, motorway congestion, a 50 mile round trip, all to run over a fell north of Rochdale of which the only part visible was the 20 yards in front of you.  For 12 Wilmslow runners, no there couldn’t be.

A heavy shower greeted us at Whitworth but it was still fairly warm. The race started from a quaint hamlet with a church and a pub, on a tarmac road at the foot of a hill similar to the Forest 5 but thankfully not quite as long. I have to confess that I was walking before the top but still managed to pass Don and Nicky. The hill levelled out and we turned left onto a rough trail that led to the start of the fell.

100 yards onto the fell I came across a forlorn looking WRC new runner Ian, he was staring into a huge quagmire trying to work out exactly where he had lost his shoe. The shoe is still there it appears, Ian will be a great asset to our club, he ran the next 4 miles with only one shoe and still managed to finish, his time irrelevant as he had also ‘forgotten’ his Wilmslow vest.

The route undulated over the hills on very uneven boggy ground, plenty of trip hazards, trying to pick a safe passage was difficult if not impossible, I think we all at some point ended either up to our knees or deeper in mud, or on our arses.

I swapped position with Tony a couple of times but he left me behind as we reached the top.  No trig point or cairn marked the top but a motorbike, it really looked surreal as it appeared out of the gloom.

I caught up with Paul on one of the downhills, he was carefully picking his route, wish I had spent a little more time as not long after I was on my arse for the third time.  Visibility was seriously bad and I can see why Cat got a little lost, trying to keep one eye on the runner in front and where your next step was to be, was almost impossible and it was a huge relief to see the headlights of the rescue vehicle in the distance guiding us all home.

And, yes Gail… a true points bonanza !



  1. Did this race last year , and it took just over the hour to get there , I dont know why the traffic was so bad this year , I nearly gave up and turned round a couple of times , but finally got there. after 2hours.
    I think the barrier between North and South Manchester is too great for evening races now, but congratulations to all who made it .( true enthusiasm)..

  2. As Hades in Greek mythology is the God of the Dead and the Underworld I approached this race with some trepidation, almost hoping the traffic would prevent me getting to the start on time. It didn’t quite, and off we went. Once we turned off the road I began to realise that, sure enough, it was a race with everything I find hardest about running: narrow uneven gorges, knee deep mud, tentative pathways which might or might not be the right way, enough mist to hide the runners in front of you. The added twist is that we started just as daylight was fading so basically the slower you went, the harder it got. Did my best on the uphill and spent the downhill apologising to everyone I was holding up before they bounded past me into the distance (including Chris). My aim switched from hoping to get points to hoping to get back in one piece to just hoping to get back. There are many who love this kind of race. Huge respect for them.

  3. I emailed Andy O’Sullivan over the weekend ….

    Hi Andy
    Just to say thanks for organising the race the other night.
    Shame about the miserable conditions compared with other years, otherwise it’s a brilliant little race – I’ve seen the photos!
    You might like to read some of the reports/comments posted on our website by some of the 12 of us from WRC who actually made it to the race.

    Andy replied ….

    Thanks Don
    What a positive lot ‘Catriona and the Wilmslow Waves’ are. Ha Ha !!!!
    It was great to have you all here! It was the first time that we have had such weather problems! Hoping its back to Normal next year ????
    See you in March at WRC
    Kind regards

  4. Excellent reports guys.. so glad I wasn’t there 🙂 well done all Jan

Leave a Reply