Monday, 2 September 2013

No 49 Hardmoors Princess 30

I am unlikely to do the H30 on 1st of Jan, not because I am hung over but because we are usually away skiing, so this seemed an ideal opportunity. I was confident of the route south from Whitby after the H60 and H110 but was less sure about where to turn at Hayburn Wyke and leaving the cinder track.  Bob had even more to worry about as all the route would be new to him.

We didn't have far to travel to Ravenscar as we had wild camped in a big sheltered lay-by off the main coast road that we remembered from an orienteering event a few years ago. Arriving early meant we had prime position just outside the village hall and plenty of time to have breakfast and get our gear ready.
Yes- OK I was over dressed, but I hate being cold
It felt freezing in the strong wind and I had trouble believing the weather forecast. We had a short jog to check out the best way onto the cinder track going north from the hall and then just mingled and chatted.
Look at all the cags- it wasn't just me feeling the cold!
 Nicky and Kelly were working hard at registration and Flip did a race briefing before we assembled outside. A few more instructions from the roof of the mountain rescue land rover ( the race proceeds were going to them) and we were off. It was a very rapid start but even then there was indecision after a few hundred metres- should we turn off by the sign or stay on the road.

 I followed the leading 3 men as they were confident they knew what they were doing. They then shot off and I ran along the coast path admiring the sea views and wondering if I would spot the place to turn back north at Hayburn Wyke. I stopped to take of my thermal and gloves which allowed Nicky to catch me up. She said she had taped it that morning so I ran on with a bit more confidence. I spotted all the tapes but still missed the pen at the self clip and had to come back. Within minutes we were on the cinder track and heading back to Ravenscar. It was an easy almost imperceptible gradient and smooth but somehow I felt I should be running fast and couldn't match my expectations. I was now worried that running yesterday was not the best preparation for the race. Still even after a couple of guys over-taking me I was still in the top ten and Nicky was not in sight. I found the bridge to leave the track and hit the tarmac back to the hall. This definitely was up hill. I was confused when I entered the hall to be told I was in about 4th place- where had the blokes gone? I try not to spend long at checkpoints as it all adds up to lots of time but just as I was about to leave I spotted Gary and Jon sitting at opposite ends of the hall. A quick Hi and hug for Jon (I don't know Gary well enough yet) and I was on my way. As I headed out I met the others coming back- they had missed the steps and gone beyond the village on the cinder track.
Next CP Robin Hood's Bay
I knew it would not be long before they came past me again but took the time to stop and take a picture. The cinder track undulated a fair bit and took a detour inland around the valley to approach Robin Hoods bay. The slightly soft mud in the shade of the trees was welcome- it was warm now. I mostly ran from CP 2 to the end on my own which was OK but hard to push a good pace. After the RHBay CP the track climbed over the headland and I 'raced' an elderly man on a bike. We were still together as we crossed the A171 and he announced it would be easy now and all downhill. I joking asked about a backy but no luck.  We could see Whitby but it took an age to get there. I had convinced myself that once I reached the viaduct the track ended - wrong. Eventually I came to the steps and descended.
View from the viaduct
The marshalls at CP4 were very friendly and filled my bottle while I had a cup of water. I was soaked in sweat and my shirt had rubbed my back sore. They assured me it was easy to find my way through town so off I trotted. Over the swing bridge, through the narrow pedestrian street full of ambling tourists and to the Abbey steps. I think there are 199 but did not count them.
Sadly they were a great deal more crowded today!
I was tempted to buy an ice-cream at the top but pushed on past the coast guard station and onto the real coast path. It was busy with lots of people walking from the camp sites or doing a loop from Whitby to Robin Hoods bay and back. Almost everyone saw a runner and stepped out of the way. A few asked had I come far. I had company for a short while  but could not keep up and at this stage had run out of water.  The run into the CP was hard work and I was very pleased to get a drink at last. I knew the next section would have some serious steps up and down but that we were now on the home stretch. I nearly got knocked over by a guy tossing his child in the air near Boggle Hole but fortunately two years olds don't weigh much and I was OK. You can see Ravenscar sitting atop the headland and it looks a fierce climb- and it is. I somehow picked up a different path and caught up the guy who had overtaken me earlier. (they have remarked lots of bits along here and added little detours to Alum works etc- nice if you are not racing I am sure).

We had hoped to break 5 hours but in the end I was very content with 5 hours 13 and first lady. It is a good route, although perhaps a bit too runnable for someone who likes a rest and a stomp up a big hill every now and again. After LOTS of refuelling and a strip was in the van I walked out to meet Bob. Jon's mum and dad worked hard all day filling out certificates, taking times and filling endless cups of tea and plates of food. Thank you to both of them.

He had been bought the ice cream that I resisted and had made several new friends during the day. Their companionship and Dave Kremins the sweeper had made him run faster than he thought he could. So another happy, if tired, finisher. Well done. And also to Kelly who achieved her dream and did the H30 with a group that accompanied her and left Dave to sweep the rest of the field.
Still smiling at the finish
At one stage Jon had the mad idea that he would feel good enough to complete the H110 and then come back to Ravenscar to present medals etc. I only wanted to shower and sleep when I did it and in the end that was his choice too. Well done to Jon and Gary for competing their H110.

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