Sunday, 6 October 2013

No 52 Round Ripon Tadaaa!

Having been tired all week and with the top of my foot still sore from last weeks RAB I was not convinced about this race.

 However the forecast was good and Bob had planned a bike ride so we could drive over together. It was good to see Mark R and Sarah and Andy before the start. There were not many other familiar faces. I have not done many 'commercial' races and this one had stretched my pound per mile but they do support a charity so I relented.

 Just before 9 we were gathered in the lane and ready for the off. The organiser was rambling on about difficult bits and mud but for those of us that were new to the race it didn't really mean much. The first mile or so was very flat and fast, infact the first half of the race was really.

 We followed a little path back to Ripon and cut round the edge of the town and onto the river. Having negotiated what I thought could be tricky bits through the built up area I let the leaders go (not that I had much choice) and settled into a more comfortable pace. Even before the first CP a group of us had gone wrong. It wasn't a big diversion but we did spend a bit of time pfaffing with maps etc. North Stainton is a pretty village and even the new estate had a cricket ground and  pavillion.

By the CP I had gone from 2nd to 3rd lady. Leaving the CP and trying to regain a place I was stung by a wasp. It sounds pathetic but it hurt and was hard to ignore. I let it get to me and did not run well over the next section. I caught up with a bunch of locals but then lost them in the woods before Masham when I stopped for a wee. I found the lady again and we eventually sorted out the route. She then sped off and I was still struggling.
It was full of cars and the end of the market when we arrived
Masham was not as picturesque as I imagined. The town square was vast but I spotted the sweet shop that led us past the brewery to CP2. Martin G was on marshall duty and a kind runner gave me some anti-histamine. I set off alone and a bit grumpy- not improved when I got to a huge fields of maize and could not decide whether the path went rouund it or through it. I went through and every stalk of corn bashed my ear.
Now I have run past 2 breweries this year without going in!
The next section was a bit hillier and I felt a little better although the old lanes seemed to stretch for ever into the distance and there was more tarmac than I really enjoy. CP3 was at Bivouac and a field of Yurts. A chair was reserved for Mark R and this made me smile. I was pleased to catch up with a small group as the next bit looked tricky.

It was also good to have someone else to push the pace a bit. We passed a wierd tower ( a sighting tower used when the built some local reservoirs and pipelines I now know) and braved a farmyard full of chained up but slightly worrying dogs. There were some very rocky lanes and I wished I had tried out my hockas. The top of my foor was now very sore although on flattish tarmac or wet moorland it was better.

Over the next few miles we got more strung out and I ended up in the middle but on my own again as I crossed Skelding Moor and onto Drift Lane. The marshalls there made a great fuss of this being No52 which was nice but I lost the guy in front and went wrong again. Time to study the map and sort it out, which I did quite well and headed off to Eavestone Lake. Then came to two *h*tty farms and I went wrong again. In the end I just swore and headed across fields to the road and sorted it out from there. It meant crossing some fences and a ditch but I could not see an alternative. Thankfully I found the path to Sawley and plodded on.

It was uphill to Fountains Abbey and I was confused I could not see the obelsik, until I realised it was not that big and hidden by trees between the high wall and the church. The long driveway through the deer park is impressive but seemed to stretch for miles. I ignored the temptation to stop and study the herd of deer and concentrated on trying to run downhill to the finish. My foot was now on fire and I was very relieved to see the finish gantry. It was an odd feeling as I sat in the garden of the village hall on my own. I had done No52! I had beaten the time I thought was reasonable judging from last years results but I wasn't all that happy.

Perhaps it ws because I was on my own, perhaps it was the wasp sting that was driving me mental or maybe I was wondering what harm I had done to the top of my foot. It all seemed an anticlimax. I had left CP4 7 mins ahead of the next lady but getting lost meant she beat me 5 minutes. Fortunately it was not too long before, refulled with 2 mugs of tea, I went out onto the lane and cheered people in. The guy who gave me the anti-histamine finished (thank you) and then the young lady doing her first ultra. Mark arrived with a broad grin having taken about an hour of last years time and then Sarah arrived too. Bob arrived back having done many miles on his bike but happy at a good day out. I cannot leave it there and finish on a low so now I'll have to aim for the 61 by the end of Dec (year of birth). Bob suggested calling yesterday 51a but that would be cheating and anyway the Wye One way might be no better if my foot does not improve.

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