It’s good running weather,” said Julie Clayton, a little doubtfully, under grey skies. “It’s not windy,” she clarified, during a pause in the drizzle.
Nearly 1,000 runners had turned out for Sheffield’s fourth annual ‘Ten10Ten’ 10K race from Endcliffe Park through the Porter Valley, with another 100 or so runners taking part in the earlier 2.5 kilometre fun run.
Despite the forecast it wasn’t actually lashing it down for Julie and her colleagues from Scarborough Athletic Club, who’d made the trip to Sheffield to support a Sheffield friend who was 10King for the first time.
“We said we’d come and support her as long as she provided showers and tea afterwards,” said Julie.
Organiser Doug Banks said: “Most people taking part are local, with a lot just walking down to the start. But there are also about 5% from all over the country, from London, for example. We had an entrant from Finland a couple of years ago.”
The race was founded by Doug to provide a competitive 10K route with variety.
“Some 10K races are just about heading straight down the road then back again to try and get a good personal best time. So we wanted a race starting in a nice park in a central location which has plenty of variety, and shows off what Sheffield is all about.
“For a lot of PB hunters it’s all about time at the end and it doesn’t matter what you see on the way, but this is an event that attracts good runners and equally guys who are just starting off.”
The route certainly showed off plenty of the Porter Valley landscape with sections through muddy woodland and rocky tracks, as well as through the Endcliffe Parkland. There was also a double ascent on a grassy slope in Bingham Park.
“This is one of my favourite runs because it’s so scenic,” said local runner Matt Rhodes.
“A lot of the others are just flat and boring. But that massive hill did take me by surprise last year.”
“There was quite a big hill, and a forest,” said ten-year-old Timothy Egdell.
“I feel tired now, but I feel happy I did really well since I’m only a sprinter.”
Timothy’s mum Marlene Scott said the family fun run was great for kids. “It’s a great atmosphere and gets them used to competing, and knowing if they don’t win it’s still great to take part.”
“Running is getting more and more popular with 400 people turning up at the Hallam Park Run every week at Endcliffe, she added.
“It’s because running is affordable and it’s something that everybody can do, it doesn’t matter about your ability or whether you’re the fastest or slowest, everyone can take part. And here in Sheffield we have such amazing parks, which often join up together, so from here you can be out in the countryside in no time.”
Ten10Ten participants and organisers raise money for Weston Park Hospital, with £24,000 raised so far and another £8,000 expected this year. A team of 50 volunteers helped Doug this year (he himself was up most of Saturday night making last minute preparations) logging latecomers, marshalling, and handing out 1000 bags of sweets, muesli bars, water bottles, pens and goodie bags, and over 600 bananas (said to aid recovery).
“Running is growing here because of the Peaks on our doorstep and because people do work on their own fitness in a recession.”
Doug added that he wasn’t sure running was as big a part of the city’s burgeoning outdoor economy as climbing or cycling, however.
“Runners are cheap,” he explained.
Effort is all for a worthy cause
Money raised from the Ten10Ten will go to Weston Park’s ‘Do Your Bit’ campaign for £1.3m for a new research and treatment suite at the hospital, offering more patients the chance to take part in clinical trials of new cancer treatments. Almost two-thirds of funding has been raised.
Helen Gentle, of Weston Park said: “I’d like to ask the local community to do what they can to raise funds to support local families with cancer.”