Monday, 7 May 2012

Course Description - Sheffield Hallam, Endcliffe Park.

Course - An anticlockwise, 2 laps + a small loop.
              City park, tarmac paths with rooty sections.
Size -     250/300,  Record = 370+.

Endcliffe Park occupies the Porter valley as it opens out from the hills to the South West of Sheffield. At the SW (pointy) end of the park where hills encroach from both sides, the main path is never far from the Porter stream. Almost every metre of tarmaced path in the park is used plus the 'Back Straight' which is outside the perimeter fence. Several tight turns, narrow paths, a humpy bridge, 3 sharp inclines and road humps need to be negotiated on each lap. Its always busy, you're never alone at Sheff Hallam and even paced running is fair nigh impossible. See the packed starts, the legend who is Andrew Moncrieff and the mysterious 'man in a hat' amongst the hundreds of pictures on their facebook site. Ice on cold winter mornings causes cancellations about  3/4 times per year. Limited parking is available inside but its a 'free for all' in the streets to the south for most people.

The start/finish line is by the children's playground, you won't miss it as the fluorescent jackets and early attenders will be there chatting, stretching and greeting friends. After the usual briefing you are asked to go to the start line which is already packed 10 deep, the front row is best foot forward and hand on watch. The path is 4 metres across and is full and spilling over onto the grass for 25 metres. Squeeze in where you can.

From the start its a charge through a chicane right then left, down the right of the river to the humpy bridge and back up the opposite side to re-cross the start/finish line. That's the 'small loop' its two laps from here, a glance at your time at this point will tell you if its worth a sprint finish near the end, 2 minutes is my mark (p.b. 23mins). This first 'small loop' is cheek by jowl with runners each side, in front and behind. If you are a slow starter stay away from the front, you have been warned!

Up the centre of the park passing the cafe on the right its a 4 metre wide path. Then into a narrow section up the first incline to the lower pond on the right. Its very narrow be aware of benches on the left which threaten to leg you up. Alongside the pond and across a flat bridge to a wide stretch which takes you to the second incline. This ones a double with a flatter bit in the middle, flatter not exactly flat! Emerge alongside the top pond on your left, an adverse camber is unsettling, I stick tight to the edge of the pond for the most level section. Leave the pond across another flat bridge then up the final incline to a slow left hairpin to leave the park. Look left and down to see who's behind you.

Then its the Back Straight and it continues for about 800 metres, it is very gradually downhill and never more than 2 runners wide. Railings to the left and to the right there is an uneven grass verge with trees, lampposts and various other trip hazards. Overtaking is almost by permission, a friendly "coming through" eases the way. I tend to match pace and wait.

The Back Straight ends with a 90 degree left to return to the park, to the right is the high fence of the tennis club. This is the only proper downhill section of the whole run. Two speed bumps need to be crossed, some use them as push off boosters to maintain the increased pace generated by the downhill. I pick a stride to miss them altogether.

Another 90 degree turn, right this time, and rejoin the 'small loop'. On the second lap this is my 2 minute warning. Plenty of time to nail the p.b. or ease past that person in the annoying 'startling pink'. A glance at the watch and PUSH PUSH PUSH.


  1. Startling pink? I love me a bit of pink!!

  2. Me too Mrs Bridegwater! If I ever find myself in Sheffield, I will pink it up top to tail!! :-) Great course description


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