Dorset's Three Peaks
1,500 feet of ascent is a doddle for Dorset Sticklers...
Some people are sticklers for details; others are sticklers for the rules. But there's another way you can become a stickler and that's by running...The Stickler!
Organised by Dorset Doddlers – who have been running around in circles since 1983 – The Stickler multi-terrain race is so named because it starts with a climb of around 650 feet to Okeford Beacon via the infamous Stickle Path from Shillingstone in the Stour Valley.
Of course, with a nickname of The Dorset Three Peaks Challenge, this isn't the only hill on the 10.1-mile route. After a long, lumpy descent from Okeford Hill, the lesser climbs of Hod Hill at six miles and Hambledon Hill at seven miles still have to be respected if you want to reach the finish in good shape.
This year's Stickler is this Sunday at 10:30am – remember the clocks go back the night before so you get an extra hour's bed rest to prepare. The course is mainly on gravel trails and has a total ascent of more than 1,500 feet, with tricky descents and technical sections, particularly off Hod and Hambledon, so trail shoes are firmly recommended.
Despite the challenging surface and gradients the course records are impressive. Mark Croasdale (Royal Navy) went under the hour with 59:27 in 1997 and Ruth Barnes (Avon Valley Road Runners) holds the women's record with 1:07:38 in 2018.
This is the 28th Stickler and sponsors include Hall & Woodhouse Pubs, Harts of Stur Department Store, and Honeybuns (who make wonderful gluten-free cakes). Finish line treats include pasties from the Shillingstone Cafe plus hot drinks and homemade cakes from the WI at Race HQ. Every finisher will receive a hard-earned race T-shirt to treasure.
Awards for the Stickler include beautiful oak tree saplings plus more conventional sports vouchers and beer prizes for the top three individuals, age-group winners, and teams. Last year's champions were unattached M40 Lee Thomas (1:09:04) and Roanna Vickers (City of Portsmouth AC, 1:17:21).
It is likely the race will be fully subscribed so if you are considering a late entry contact the organisers first. Full details at The Stickler page on Dorset Doddlers website here.
Link to previous results at the runABC South race listing here.
Photo courtesy The Stickler on Facebook