The weather forecast got worse the closer it got to race day. I realised it was going to be a long, cold day out and packed plenty of layers and spares!
Paul dropped me at Helmsley well ahead of time and I sailed through kit check, got my mandatory tracker attached to my pack and sat down to wait. I watched it snowing sideways out of the window while I had second breakfast and chatted to some fellow competitors.
Over 340 of us stood shivering on the start line as Jon delivered his usual race pre-amble then we took a very leisurely start through Helmsley and out on to the Cleveland Way.
I spotted a couple more firends I hadn't seen earlier and quickly settled into a comfortable jog.
By the time we reached Rievalux the sun was out and everyone was stopping to take gloves and coats off! It was short lived however as a blizzard struck at Cold Kirby! The weather continued to toy with us, sometimes it was lovely and warm in the sun, the next minute we were covering our faces against a horizontal blizzard. The only constant was the strong wind, there was no escaping that.
We did the usual out and back to the White Horse. I ran along the back top with a couple of guys, one of whom I had run my first 55 with, so that was nice to catch up after all this time! All of us almosr fell down the top section of the Angle Path as it was very icy indeed. The steepest section safely negotiated, we ran in to the first check point to be greeted by the Red Druid banging his drum!
The cut off here was tight, but I had made it with a good half hour to spare so had a munch on some jelly-men and a chat with Jon before plodding up the White Horse steps. No Bruce Lee PR's today!
I was bursting for a wee so dived off into the loo at Sutton Bank visitor centre and was alarmed at how dizzy I was, had to brace against the cubicle walls to steady myself. Not a good start, barely 10 miles in...
The going along the top was fien, most of the snow drofts had gone now, apart from the section between Dialstone Corner and the Boltby Turn. That was still knee deep and the blizzard returned, combined with wind-whipped snow from higher up and we were suddenly in a white out! Could hardly see our own feet let alone the runner in front. I struggled against the wind, the path kept disappearing and it was bitterly cold, I had ice balling up in my eyelashes. We managed to get through there, it was actually a little scary, and I overtook a few people, slipping around on the icy path as I went. I ate a few chocolate mini eggs, the sun was back out now, but not for long as we reached High Barn the blizzard closed in again. Here I crossed paths with Gavin and Brett and the three of us shared a brief bear hug before going on our respective journeys. At the Sneck Yate road crossing I dtopped to put on my waterproof coat and the sun promptly came out!
The next section was quite icy underfoot so we had to run carfeully. The sun and blizzards alternated all the way to Osmotherly, the section past Black Hambleton being perticularly bad and it was a relief to reach Oakdale and drop down out of the wind for a while.
Into the Osmotherly checkpoint, an hour in hand, for a cuppa, a hug from Phillip and a cheese sarnie!