The Accelerate Gritstone Series is in full swing, with events seeing record entries in 2010. The series, which consists of 7 events, is held on and around the fells of the Peak District. Last year's male winner Stuart Bond (DPFR), is already leading the way in the series, where five out of7 events are counted toward a final score.
The first of 2010s races was at Shatton in mid March, with the Wolfs Pit fell Race. Helen Elmore (DPFR) and Stuart Bond were within seconds of breaking their respective course records, however had to content themselves with winning the first event this year. Burbage Skyline was the setting for race two, record entries promised a fascinating race, with Stuart Bond making his mark as he broke the course record with an impressive 35:45.
Race Three saw Bond and Elmore record their third wins of the series at the Castleton Fell Race, clearly staking their claim on the series. The pair extended their leads with wins in race 4, at the Edale Fell Race. Stuart ran a personal best on this occasion and Helen was involved in a close battle with Judy Jepson (DPFR) to take first place.
Local racers were joined by some international stars for Race 5, Great Hucklow, a course well known for its short step climbs and rough ground. Both the men's and women's races were decided in the final minutes with Stuart Bond battling against Britain's Oli Johnson in the final climb to claim this race. Helen, however, was no match for GB Triathlete, Christone Howard (Matlock), who retained her title as winner of the Great Hucklow Race.
There are now just two events left in the series, Longshaw on September 4 and Windgather on October 10. Stuart Bond and Helen Elmore look set to take this year's titles, but anything could happen in the final stages of the Gritstone Series.