Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Hardmoors 110 (well 112 but Jon cannot count)

Having done this last year I was keen to try to improve on my time. I decided that despite some pressure the H160 might be a tad too far just yet and as I was keen to complete Jon's Triple Ring of Steele I didn't want a dnf. Nearer the time I got ridiculously nervous, not sure why. It was going to be rather different from last year as instead of starting at 5pm we were off from Helmsley at 8am Saturday to accommodate the 160 runners. It meant a more leisurely drive to Yorkshire and that we were in the van driving when the heavens opened on Friday evening and heavy rain set in. A mixture of nerves and cars coming and going meant I did not sleep that well even in the van but I was up at 6 and ready for off. 
The buzz on Sat morning
I had registered on Friday and so had about an hour of extra time in the morning. The awful conditions had taken their toll. When I met Annie at breakfast she had tales of woe and had run through thick mud in full waterproofs.

 Mick C was sadly retiring after battling a painful shin injury for hours. It was great to meet up with so many friends and to have time to chat. One day I will find a way to learn the names of all the male runners that greet me.
Ridiculously bright new shoes, but comfy
I was determined to start slowly but got pulled along by Helen and others. Well before the White Horse I decided the pace was too much and made the brave decision to just let them go.

 I had failed to pad my big toe and the lack of toe nail was making it sore so while my feet were fairly dry I dived into the van at CP1, thankfully Bob was marshalling there, and taped it up.

 It lost me a few paces but would be minutes well spent later on and I soon made up some of the places. Charlotte overtook me and then we ran fairly closely for a while. On the way to Square Corner the nerves under my right foot did their stupid thing and shot pain to my toes. Running on the stony track was a real trial and I arrived at Square Corner in a sorry state.

 Jon and others showing concern made me cry so I decided the best thing was to just get going again having taken some pain killers. By Osmotherley things were better although my haste had made me set off without refilling my water bottle. I spotted Dave K and friend refuelling at the shop.

 I hooked up with a great guy for the next few miles to Live Moor. Around here the weather deteriorated and we were heading for higher ground. I like this next section as it is so varied. Yes it goes up and down a great deal and I did curse the slippery slabs and steps but I enjoyed it. It was wet and windy but could have been much worse.

 Somewhere on this section Martin D and his friend joined me and having company was good. We chatted a bit and Martin showed me a cheeky way down to Clay Bank. We stayed together for a few more miles a reeled in a couple of other runners. The section from Blowith Crossing to Kildale seemed to take an age and I pushed ahead a bit wanting it to be over. The track and then road into Kildale made my foot spasm again so I arrived at the CP looking worse for wear. Helen was just leaving as I went in so she was not too far ahead. I hoped that stopping for food and massaging my foot things would improve. Andy made me tea and the marshalls were lovely. My foot hurt more when I stopped so I ran on; and again I failed to fill up my water. By Captain Cook's monument I felt better and caught up with Katie.

 The next section including the out and back over Rosebury Topping went well and I ran with two lads, Jamie and Tom, for much of the way to the Fox and Hounds. It was good to run with confidence and I feel I now know the way fairly reliably. I was even able to stop a group of us going astray in Guisborough Woods.  I also had to refill my water here from a very peaty stream- well I convinced myself that the colour was just peat. At the pub I caught Helen and as she stopped for a toilet break that was the last I saw of her. The lads and I ran on to Saltburn together and this year I managed to go the correct way in the woods before the hotel. I was surprised to find Bob here. He had left White Horse, been to Kildale, tried Sandsend but couldn't get through the height barrier and so had come back. I refreshed a bit and had some more painkillers for my foot. I also spotted my finish bag! which John V kindly took to the finish for me. The weather had now improved and I ran much of the next section alone. I think it made it tougher being alone and knowing it would get dark.
A beautiful sunset
I knew the way but was getting tired. By Staithes the light was definitely gone and a torch became necessary. I stopped for a cup of tea at Runswick Bay but was not wanting to eat. I knew this was bad but just couldn't find something that I felt would go down. I should have tried harder. I almost had a disaster on the beach when I failed to find the ravine. I found a house which I did not remember from previous years and so ran back. In the end another runner appeared and knew it was after the house.  The stream in the ravine was in spate but we had beaten the tide! I had not fancied the idea of having to wait. True to time would be paid back but getting stiff and cold and then having to motivate myself to get going again would have been tough. It was very dark by Sandsend but Lee and his team were cheerful and I knew the next bit would be fairly easy running to Whitby. I felt  was going embarrassingly slowly but could do no more. I think in my heart I knew I needed to be eating. I ran the next section alone and found the narrow muddy cliff tops paths quite a trial. By Robin Hoods Bay it was light and it lifted my spirits. It also made the steep steps down all the inlets less of a trial. Not long before Ravenscar Martin D and Jason caught me up. It gave me something to hang on to. Martin had promised his wife he would be at the CP by 5.30 and so was on a bit of a mission. Again Andy made me tea and went to get Bob from the van. I was still struggling to eat and left with just fluids. A whole group of us were now fairly close and this helped push the pace. Somewhere on the cliff tops I knew I had to eat or run out of fuel entirely. I managed a small handful of cashew nuts so then I tried a mini mars bar. No, straight back up and a horrid spell of dry heaving. Ah well. I had run most of the night with no food so a few more miles wouldn't kill me, probably. I tried to stick with Jason or at least keep him in my sights. It helped on the long flat hard surfaces around the Scarborough Bays. Arriving at Scarborough Spa we were offered bacon and egg buns. It was probably just what I needed but I couldn't face trying it. It was nice to see Bob and I think I looked less trashed than last year. Before long I was at Cayton Bay and although the weather kept threatening rain it never did more than drizzle. From here I knew I could do it. It might not be fast but it was less than 10 miles to go. Drizzle had me putting cag on and off until I gave up and just left it on. I pulled ahead and was on my own again so it was great to pass the last camp site before Filey and find Bob had jogged out to meet me.

 His support did make me try to run more, although the pace was dire. Jason overtook me as we arrived at Filey. Only 2 more miles but all uphill.  The path up the ravine was a good excuse to walk a bit but by the campsite lane even my tired legs could smell the finish and made an effort. Luckily there was a decent gap in the traffic on the main road and I jogged up the incline and into the school. Job done in 27 hours 29 mins. I had certainly not beaten last years time but I think having the dark later was harder and the conditions of rain on the first half and narrow muddy paths in the dark did make it tougher. I was happy. First lady home, mainly because Shelli had kindly done the 160. I suddenly I felt cold so after yet another cup of tea and both Bob and Jon offering me crumpet (yes, really - didn't they understand how tired I was) I disappeared for a shower. A brief kip in the van and I was ready to return to the hall and socialise.

 Lorriaie stuck to her plan of slow and steady to gain second lady. John K finished and one look at his blisters made me grateful that my feet were in such good shape. I had more to eat and then Lorraine and I had an early prize-giving so that we could leave.

 It would have been nice to see the others complete but for some it would be many hours yet. We had an appointment with many Munros. We were both tired from lack of sleep so after several stops and coffees we pulled into a lay bye near the border and fell into bed. I love the van.  I slept solidly until about 7 the next morning and awoke wondering how the others had got on. It would be some days before I would know.


  1. Amazing!

    By the way, what time are you setting of on the 3RS? Seems like 8am is in danger of being too early for the first manned CP on ring 1.

  2. Nigel- away at LAMM all weekend but looked at route description today and I wondered about opening time of that too. As we will be manning a RFurther stall I guess starting a little later would be good rather than bad so perhaps 8.30?