Race #1 - Hardmoors Rosedale Half Marathon, 15th June.
I really like the Hardmoors events, lovely routes based around the Cleveland Way and the North Yorkshire Moors. Always well organised and attended by some lovely people, some of who have become friends.
This particular race starts from the quaint little village of Hutton-le-Hole. It was raining when I arrived and I dithered over what kit to wear/carry. I decided to stick with my original plan of wearing my Harriers vest and carrying a light shower proof jacket. I'm glad I didn't put any extra layers on as it wasn't cold in the slightest!!
Before the off I had a chat with Flip and Ray and found fellow Harrier Gavin along with Ryan who'd come to help out. Newly wed Jon was sporting a rather fetching Superman onesie to do the race briefing, well, he is the Man of Steele after all...
Our run started at the allotted time and the tame village sheep ran with us up the main street!! I was cheered on by Gavin who took great delight in telling me he'd already eaten all the jelly babies!!
The route started by going through rolling, green farmland. It was all very pleasant but getting warm already. I went the usual set of emotions, mostly along the lines of 'this is stupid.' 'I'll never make it.' 'I'll just give up now and save everyone the hassle.' etc etc. I've learnt to ignore these little voices, but they always make the first few miles bloody hard work!
The first check point was soon upon us, and I was glad to see Gavin had left us some Jelly babies after all! Then onto some rough ground and a long downhill on a narrow path. I'd caught up with a lady on the descent and we ended up leap frogging each other for quite some time.
I caught up with Ray at the bottom of the Big Climb that Jon had warned us about, we both had some water and sweets to set us up for what we were about to tackle... It was steep from the outset, and about half way up was energy sapping mud, wet and sloppy! My kind of terrain, Ray and I squelched our way up and up some more. The climbing eased a little as we passed out onto the moor, but not much. Gosh it was hot! I noticed people ahead running on, I soon realised why as we were approaching a marshalled check point at a road crossing, nobody wanted to be seen walking!! Gavin and Ryan were there, Ryan handing out sweets- good man.
Short road stretch before we joined the old railway line, after more water and sweets! Ray had pulled ahead again, but I kept him in sight now as the going was good on flat cinder track.
The track snaked across open moor high above Rosedale until we reached the ovens at the top of Chimney Bank where yet another marshal point was offering water and sweeties! We are well looked after. Ray and I ran together a short while and as we left the road to return to rutted moor footpath, I took the lead. I was now enjoying myself, the narrow path was dry underfoot but you had to continually watch your step. I shouted to Ray to just me know if he wanted to pass, he didn't.
I can run well on this sort of ground, despite being quite clumsy normally and I ran on, knowing we were well on our way back. We got to Lodge Road, a short stretch of tarmac between footpaths and I knew we were nearly home, I know Hutton-le-Hole reasonably well, so I knew I could push on the pace. So that's what I did! I enjoyed a really strong run across the grass and tipped out onto the road above the village, knowing Ray was behind me, but not sure where I ran hard down into the village, dodging cars and into the village hall to have my time recorded as 2hrs 42mins. Not a PB at this distance, but I was perfectly happy with that! Ray bowled in behind me a few seconds later.
I'd really enjoyed the run, I felt a real confidence boost after a few not so good runs and the recent period of exhaustion, I felt good and with a grin from ear-to-ear to tucked into the selection of homemade biscuits before settling down to watch the presentation. Turns out the lady I ran with won her age category!
|Out of focus but happy at the end of the Rosedale Half Marathon.|
Race #2 - Whorlton Run, Esk Valley Summer Series 18th June.
The Whorlton Run is more like a technical multi-terrain than a fell race, still it's good fun!
This night it was really hot, like still 20+ degrees at 7pm hot. Phew, a 10 min jog up and down the road had me sweating buckets.
I still had Rosedale in my legs, so I knew this wasn't going to be a record breaking run, just a case of getting some miles in really.
The race starts with a long run in on the road, not very exciting really. The climbing starts on the road, gradually getting steeper and steeper until the route suddenly disappears into vegetation and gets really steep! Normally I'm chuntering 'cos I get stuck behind somebody walking and can't get past, tonight I was pleased to be able to walk!! A chap from Quakers (and a fellow Hardmoors runner) asked me if I had recovered from Sunday, in a word, no.
We come out of the trees and on to the road to cross a cattle grid before the real 'fun' climb on this route. Pat from Harriers was ahead of me, and took a different ascent.
My route was more direct, and subsequently more vertical!! At times hands and knees are required, as is using the fence to pull oneself up the steepest bits! It's good fun, in a twisted kind of way! With sweat running off me and my Hardmoors battered calves screaming in protest, I topped out just feet ahead of Pat. We ran on together for a while, I was desperately looking forward to the downhill I knew was coming... til we got there. Usually you can get a solid, fast descent through the trees but recent logging activity has churned up the good track into a mess of wheel ruts, fallen branches and rocks. We ran as fast as we dared through the obstacle course, Pat taking the lead as my legs had given up on me! Didn't even have the energy to propel myself downhill.
At the bottom we joined the Cleveland Way, undulating through Clain Wood then crossing the double stream, up the sneaky little hill and through the hamlet of Scugdale. At the base of Live Moor, we leave the Cleveland Way and continue over some rough fields, my tired legs threatening to put me in a rabbit hole any moment. At last onto good track, I felt like I was running hard, David Aspin's race photo tells a different story! Pat was long gone into the distance by the time I reached the road. Not much further to go til the uphill finish outside Whorlton Castle.
I knew I'd had a slow one, bloody hard work, but I also knew I had good reason to be knackered so I didn't need to beat myself up about it. We waited for Alan to return, then watched the presentations back at the pub.
|Working hard, about a mile to go at Whorlton Run.|
And last, but not least- The Social Run, Upper Swaledale, 22nd June.
After Whorlton, I rested up as I knew this run was going to be tough!
So, on the Sunday 7 hardy Harriers headed out to Keld, and beyond passing into Cumbria for the start of our adventure. It started easy enough, jogging along a nice grassy track on the moor. David pointed out the hill ahead that we were going to tackle first. As we got closer it got bigger. And bigger. Then we realised we had to drop right down to the little stream at the bottom and from here the hill looked frankly huge!! We slowly clambered up a rough path alongside a small beck to meet with a stone wall running along the crest of the hill.
The running here was once again easy (when we'd caught our breath!) and we followed the wall til it met the Coast-to-Coast route coming up from Kirkby Stephen. We turned East onto the C2C route and made our way up a long drag to eventually reach Nine Standards Rigg. What a view point! The weather was kind to us and the panorama was amazing! We saw plenty of people obviously hiking the C2C. This was almost half way for them...
After a photo stop, we pressed on East across Harter Fell. The going was good and mostly dry, although we all got a wet foot or two on one grough crossing, and Bryan managed to go in up to his knee in a random bog hole.
As we descended towards Whitsundale, the ground became less forgiving and it was hard work over tussocky grass and uneven paths. Our ankles took a lot of abuse!
We followed Whitsundale Beck for some time, running along a narrow little path. Claire was struggling following a 'shoe malfunction' and turning her ankle about a dozen times so when we came to the appropriate point, her and Bryan took the road option. Not losing any distance, but the terrain was much more forgiving.
The rest of us carried on and soon missed the path!! The ground was awful, long grass and poached by the resident cattle. Once we found the path once more, the running became much more pleasant! It was very warm as we undulated high above the banks of the Swale. We gradually worked our way down, through a farm and onto a track to meet the river at Kidson Force. I had thought about a swim, to be honest I was knackered, too tired for pratting about so we carried on, only a short sharp uphill and down the road to run into the carpark! I do wonder what the other day trippers and holiday makers thought as we all arrived and collapsed into various heaps in the grass!!
While Sonja and David went to sort the cars, the rest of us got showers then did some yoga in the grass to stretch out a little! Then we went for very grumpy soup and cake with the midges at the farm café.
All in all a good day out in a stunning location, definitely worth revisiting!
Here are a few pictures...
|Looking over towards Cumbria from the start of our run.|
|The big climb...|
|Crossing the stream before the climb.|
|Nikki and David running on having reached the top.|
|Harriers on top of the world! Nine Standards Rigg.|
David, Nikki, Sonja, Hywel, Claire, Bryan and me!
|On our way to Whitsundale|
|Stunning Swaledale scenery.|
|Kidson Force, just outside Keld.|
|Refuelling with cake, soup, sausage rolls and tea!|
|Claire's eyes were bigger than her tummy, but Nikki and I helped her out!!|
PS- the C2C hikers were seen again on Saturday 28th in the Bay Hotel, Robin Hoods Bay having successfully completed their expedition! I made sure to congratulate them.