Hardmoors 60 - Guisborough to Filey
It's not 60 miles it's officially 62 miles but it could be and probably is more. The Hardmoors series; notorious for it's distance inaccuracies is on point for everything else.
I would be running with Henry Morris, as we did in the 55 back in March. At 8:30am 200+ runners set off from Guisborough sea cadets to the East Coast, the journey to Saltburn isn't a doddle, 9 miles of rugged terrain and a tough climb up High Cliff Nab to boot, didn't do any favours for Henry's dicky knee.
I too had created my own problem. It's important to read your race notes before you set off, something which I'd neglected, again, so a long sleeve top, running tights and shorts in bright sunshine with temperatures reaching nearly 20 degrees seemed fitting. my uniform for the day resembled that of a scuba diver than a runner. Something I would come to regret later on that evening.
Once in Saltburn we headed south bypassing Skinningrove, running through Staithes and into Runswick Bay where the first drop bag point was marking 21 miles, feeling comfortable we stopped for 5 minutes whilst I rummaged through my stuff, filling up my 1.5 litre water bladder, stuffing spare socks and t-shirt into my bag and heading off over the beach in fine fettle.
Aiming for Whitby and the halfway marker was a good time to adopt my Jason Robinson techniques through the shuffling crowds, up the famous steps passed my cheering Auntie and Uncle and onto the Saltwick Bay checkpoint. A quick refill then off again.
Robin Hood's Bay at 37 miles came and went before our sights fixed on the bleak cliff face of Ravenscar, which took an age to climb, signalling 41 miles. It's here things become very challenging. With the light fading, we knew we had to move, the less running you can do without the aid of a torch, the better. I switched my head torch on around 7:30pm and after turning on both ankles several times, Henry decided to switch his on before we hit Scarborough.
Practically walking all the way along the Scarborough coastline we got to the checkpoint at 52 miles and headed onto the streets towards Filey and the last 10 miles of the route under a bright full moon on a still cool, late summers evening.
I noticed a burning discomfort in my left foot so I applied a compeed quickly without changing my socks which had been wet all day, there was also a burning between my bum cheeks.
You can read all the wonderful, inspiring stories on ultra running, stare in awe at epic mountain ranges, admire athletes sculpted physiques and copy weird and wonderful eating habits but when it comes down to it, ultra running is a sweaty, horrible, smelly, missing link, knuckle-dragging mess for most people. Having to apply vaseline to the inside of ones crevice after 53 miles of running isn't pleasant but probably not the worst that's happened on Scarborough sea front on a Saturday night. Tremendous.
I honestly believe if you get yourself to a decent fitness level whereby you can run at a comfortable pace, eat and drink sufficiently, your body can withstand the physical onslaughts of an ultra. The rest is in your mind and how much you can take. Towards the end of this race I was getting very impatient, I wasn't shouting or swearing but arguing with myself and my thoughts, Henry stayed silent and when I asked him a question he replied 'I got to 3,700 steps then'.
He'd been counting whilst I'd been worrying what time we'd finish.
At last we trundled into Filey up the steep hill to the methodist church where both mine and Henry's support were there to greet us finishing in a time of 16 hours 5 minutes, Henry collected his coveted and well earned 'Triple Ring' hoodie from race organiser Jon Steele, marking his completion of the 55 mile, 110 mile and 60 mile Hardmoors races this year.
A special mention goes to Stephen Davies who belted it round in 13 hours 55 minutes, a bloke who once said, 'Don't see point in running that far like'. The lanky string of misery is out on the hills more than I am!
Sunday was spent on Saltwick Bay, bacon sarnies and apologising to my Uncle for not getting back in time for last orders. Next race Saturday 15th October Round Rotherham Trail 50 miles/80km.