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Race Report: NoMAD 50 Ultra, Breaston, Derbyshire, UK, 28th June 2014

This report was sent to us by the NoMAD team:

On Saturday the 28th June 2014, Long Eaton Running club hosted its fourth 50 mile ultra and relay event now called The NoMad50 (previously the Long Eaton 50). This event sees ultra-runners and 6 person relay teams following for the majority a local way-marked route called the Derby Nomad Way. A multi terrain circular run, starting and finishing in Breaston, Derbyshire, with pleasant rolling countryside, canal, trail and some minor roads circumnavigating the City of Derby.

An event that the club are hoping to grow year on year had 26 ultra-runners, starting bright and early from 6am to 7am. Then 6 teams from local running clubs for the relay event starting at 9am. On the day the weather was cooler than the previous week, overcast with a few showers later on but as described by participants, perfect weather for what lay ahead.

As the event started, club volunteers headed out to man the 5 checkpoints along the route which passed through Chellaston, Littleover, Kirk Langley, Duffield and Dale.

The first stage heads out towards the canal towpath at Shardlow and is a reasonably flat 10.5 mile section which can fool the ultra-runners into heading out too quickly before turning right at Swarkestone lock heading up to checkpoint 1. With an hour between the starting times no one was sure who was in front and most took around 1hr 30mins to 2hrs.

Stage two to Littleover, headed back to the canal, leaving at bridge 20 through Findern to checkpoint 2 at The Hollybrook Inn. An 8 mile section which after leaving the canal towpath started to head out into the fields with crops, long grass, with stiles, cows and bit more navigation required here. The runners also met nettles! With times ranging from just over an hour to 1 hour 40, back at race HQ the 6 relay runners were just about to start at 9am. The first few into checkpoint 2 were Helen Pickford, Alan McVittie, Paul Mullis and Roy Jackson. Then followed by Long Eaton running club members Eddie Mathieson, who started at 6.34am who’d caught up Phil Thompson who had started at 6am with a strong group seen pulling together at the later stages.

Leaving Littleover, through Mickleover the 10 mile section takes the runners through undulating fields through Dalbury heading to Kirk Langley, The Bluebell Inn. This is where navigation gets tricky, more nettles, and more stiles than you can count through fields. Some parts of the course with all the rain and growth were overgrown making spotting the stiles difficult. The NoMad team had partially marked the course clearing where possible, providing mobile support and sweeper runners for assistance on the day. It was at this point the 7am runners with quicker anticipated finish times were catching up the 6am start runners. Janson Heath was seen bounding up through a field of barley minutes ahead of Daniel Hendriksen, 1st and 2nd lead runners through checkpoint 3, with Eddie Mathieson not far behind but a later start time.

By elevensies to lunchtime all the ultra-runners were off onto Duffield, 7.3 miles of much the same challenges. Skirting around Keddleston Hall heading up through more undulating fields to Quarndon, up and over the best views around at the topograph down to The Bridge Inn. Janson Heath was gaining further lead against Daniel Henriksen, Janson having ran the event last year could be seen to have an advantage if you can remember a course that far back. It’s also fair to say that some of our runners taking part had been out having a reccy of the course and some not able to. It was also apparent that our lead lady Helen Pickford was running strongly, but at checkpoint 4 had our previous 2013 lady winner Sal Chaffey started at the same time, there would only have been a couple of minutes in it.

From Duffield to Dale a further 8.3 miles with checkpoint 5 at The Carpenters Arms, then the final stage to Breaston being the shortest of 5.3miles was all that lay between these ultra-runners and the finish.

Whilst the ultras were on track, the relay teams were battling with cows, stiles, fields, nettles and some navigation issues. 1 relay runner even after having a reccy of their section got lost and waited for another relay runner to rescue him to find checkpoint 3. With no official baton to pass just a tag or a wave across busy roads, by Dale the relays were catching up with the ultra-runners.

The finish area was all set, it was clear Janson Heath was on for 1st place as the race organisers and checkpoint relayed information to each other. With a strong finish Janson came through the finish in 1st place with a time of 7hrs 42min, 2nd place Daniel Hendriksen 8hrs 11min and 3rd place Ian Walker completed in 8hr 28min. The 1st lady to cross the line was Helen Pickford in 9hr 27min followed by Sal Chaffney, in 9hr 55min and 3rd lady, Denise McGeachy for which it was her first ultra in 10hr 41min.

As more ultra-runners crossed the finish line, they were met my family, friends, cheers and The NoMad team at the race finish for refreshments, a seat, sports massage or food and drinks at The Navigation pub.

The relay runners were on their way also, the 1st relay team to cross the line was Matty Brennan for Erewash men’s team in 7hrs 10, 2nd Holme Pierrepoint A team 7hrs 21min and 3rd Long Eaton running club roll in the hay team 7hr 53min.

With presentations for the winners and a great atmosphere, stories were being shared and lots of admiration for an amazing achievement for all, for some it was their first ultra. The race was a great success with fantastic feedback from runners, some said they’d be back next year. The NoMad team would like to thank the runners, checkpoint marshals and for all that helped support the race.

2014 Winners 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 1st lady 2014. (Janson Heath, Daniel Hendriksen, Ian Walker and Helen Pickford)
1st Relay challenge team presented win the Sarah Harris Cup to Erewash Men’s team who were Craig Trembirth, Matthew McCristal, John Wadelin, Phil Shearing, Steve Wickham and Matty Brennan. (not all pictured)

More information can be found on our website,
And also Facebook page,

Race Details

Click here for more details of the 2014 NoMAD 50 Ultra.

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