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Dovedale Dash
Sunday 5th November 2006
Alex Downie

The Dovedale Dash (Charge of the Light Brigade)

The start of this race is dramatic. So much so, it inevitably calls to mind the classic song 5-4-3-2-1, by Manfred Mann. To paraphrase:

'Always onward ran the twelve hundred,
Down the valley of death they thundered,
But once they're down, they really blundered.'


The charge down into the 'valley of death' is very steep and littered with tussocks, boulders and horrible boggy bits. Once down in the valley, you can only 'really blunder' because the mass of runners in front obscures the many obstacles along the route, such as more tussocks, boulders and horrible boggy bits!

Just in case you were getting bored in the race, the eponymous river crossing comes next! Nice, cool and refreshing in November, and after that there is much 'slippin' and 'a-slidin' in mud (and cow dung), but it's comforting to know that it can all be washed off as you go back upriver, mainly in the river, to face that nice valley side where it all started!

This year's C&C stars have to be Mary Holmes (46,31 mins), Nick Burch (34,23min in 107th place) and Ish Badr, who ran 6 days after completing a marathon in a whisker over 3hours! Comments from other runners included: 'hilarious'; 'the fun never lets up'; 'for goodness sake what was all that about?'; 'can't wait for November 2007!'; and 'I laughed all the way to the bank!' (actually I made that one up).

A huge debt of thanks is owed by the 27 of us staying in Derbyshire to Ian McKay for organising great weather and accommodation in the wonderfully-situated Ilam Hall Youth Hostel. More results follow, courtesy of Ian in the absence of any web site information. Also, watch out for the photos expertly taken by Madhuri.

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