The Derwent usually elicits a few gasps and girly squeals, especially from the men, as swimmers first enter the water but today's absence of such outcries made for a good thermometer. It's surprising what a short heatwave can do for a river.
Everything was thrown into disarray a couple of weeks ago when the council, which owns the land we use, got in touch to say the event would have to be cancelled because of falling rocks above Lovers' Walk. This wasn't entirely surprising - the fact that rocks sometimes fall - seeing as that spectacular line of tors lining a couple of miles of the Derwent Valley would have been formed in exactly that manner. However, it did require a bit of event plan tweaking to work around it all.
So it was up onto the road for the first and last bits of the run instead of the riverside path. Not a problem, as it turned out, thanks to Willersley Castle's relaxed attitude allowing us to use their drive and the council perhaps being busy enough dealing with austerity measures so as not to throw any further red tape at ankle height.
The tranquillity of the river before you lot arrived.
We had the usual short and long course options, individuals and relay pairs on both, and at 10am the race got under way.
It was all close combat amongst the short course leaders with Elsbeth Grant reaching land closely chased by Helen Cross, Tom Burch and Sam Broomhead. Some handed over to their running teammates and others transformed themselves into runners, and it was out onto the single lap where the final positions could be fought for. It was Sam Broomhead who grasped the lead out of transition and built on it throughout with Elsbeth also having a cracking run to finish less than a minute adrift.
The long course swim was always going to be a close one with Steve Goodall and Fin Holden threatening to sort each other out at the swimming club like a pair of sluggers at a press conference. Into the finish they were matching each other stroke for stroke, staggered out together, then lunged for the transition line as if in formation. A photo finish would have struggled to separate them.
Holden v Goodall.
That sent the relay runners of Joe Hallas and Craig Allen out for their two laps while the individual competitors stripped off their rubber and pulled on their shoes. It was Christopher Smith who hauled back a couple of short places to take the lead, eventually getting the better of his nearest rival by almost four minutes. First back though was Joe Hallas who made easy work of Craig Allen.
First lady was Jo Wilding who had landed back from a swimming holiday late the previous night. Closing her down throughout the run had been Charlotte Riddle but the race wasn't quite long enough to cancel out Jo's superior swim.
Here are the results.
Thanks to all who took part and to the helpers and to Willersley Castle and DDDC.
Hope to see many of you again.