Nestling on the Derbyshire/ Nottinghamshire border is Hardwick Hall, sitting atop a hill, overlooking the surrounding countryside (and the M1 these days). The fact it sits on top of a hill provides the challenge of the Hardwick 10k where GRC member Caroline Davis started out at Pilsley village. At the very beginning is an incline to get the heart pumping to settle competitors into the run. Being an out and back course, this turns into a pleasant downhill to the finish.
Reaching Hardstoft it is then a descent towards Hardwick Inn and ‘that hill’. Caroline was enjoying the scenery and pacing herself for ‘that hill ‘when the front runners started to pass by at 3.5km. At this point she could see Hardwick Hall up ahead and soldiered on towards what she had been waiting for all day – the challenge of the Hardwick Hill. Once upon a time this would have been her local race and she had spent many a Saturday evening in the summer sunshine at the Hardwick Inn and walking in the grounds. It has been a very long time since she’d been up the hill and she’d certainly not attempted to run it before.
She steadily made it up the hill feeling well chuffed and enjoyed the much quicker run back down. Then there was the next challenge of 3km of a steady climb back up to Hardstoft. She gritted my teeth, thought of the t-shirt and kept going to be greeted by gentle applause at the pub before the last 1km back into Pilsley and the finish line. Caroline is proud to say that ‘I beat the Hardwick Hill!’