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Kinder Downfall 2017: An inspiring fell race over rugged Kinder Scout terrain

Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead

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Kinder Downfall 2017High PeakFell RacePeak DistrictRunnersMegan WilsonDark Peak Fell Runners

Competitors in the recent Kinder Downfall 2017

At the same time the London Marathon got underway, the High Peak had its own exciting race, the notoriously challenging Kinder Downfall Fell Race.  

On the morning of Sunday 23rd April, a throng of runners congregated under the sunshine in Hayfield village to participate in the well-known Kinder Downfall Fell Race. 

Named after Kinder Downfall, the tallest waterfall in the Peak District, this classic Peak District fell race has been going since 1980. The challenging run is 9.6 miles in distance and takes the runners to a testing ascent of 1,970 feet. The course takes the form of a loop from Hayfield ascending to the Kinder Plateau via William Clough in the footsteps of the 1932 Kinder Trespass. The route then skirts the rocky Western edge path of the Kinder Plateau past the Downfall and descends via Edale Cross and the fields to return to Hayfield recreation park.

Alasdair Campbell

This annual race attracts in the region of 300 runners. This year’s Kinder Downfall was won by 26-year-old Alasdair Campbell, who completed the course in an incredible 1:08:18. The Buxton Athletics Club runner told the High Peak Review how the course was, “extremely beautiful but one of the toughest fell runs of the year.” 

Megan Wilson of Dark Peak Fell Runners was the first female runner, finishing the course in an impressive 1:21:26.

What was particularly enjoyable about watching this race was the diverse age range of the participants. 

Barry Blyth

One inspiring contestant was 70-year-old Barry Blyth, who has been running in the Kinder Downfall since the age of 54. Barry’s personal best for the course is 1 hour 19 minutes. Last year he ran the race in 1 hour 36 and was first for his age group. This year Barry ran the Kinder Downfall in an extremely impressive 1:38:39.  

“It’s a hard course, and the older you are, the harder it is to get into a rhythm on the rocky ridge,” said Barry Blyth. 

Young or old, the race is only suitable for experienced fell runners and the organisers insist runners carry a minimum of a full waterproof kit, as stipulated by the Fell Runners Association Mandatory Minimum Kit 2017 guidelines. 

Thanks to the landowners’ permission, of which the race organisers are very grateful for their support, the Kinder Downfall is the same course each year. 

Will Meredith has been organising the Kinder Downfall Fell Race since 2016. When asked what he enjoys about organising the race, Will told the High Peak Review:

“I enjoy being able to put something back into the sport of Fell Running and helping to make sure the Downfall continues as an un-commercialised classic Peak District fell race.”

Being superbly organised, with a great atmosphere and taking place under the warm April sunshine, this year’s Kinder Downfall Fell Race was a true pleasure to watch – who needs the London Marathon when we’ve got the Kinder Downfall on our doorstep?