We drove across on Friday and walked a bit of the route from Skelton to Saltburn Valley Gardens. A gremlin had duplicated a sentence in the race notes and talked about going under the viaduct twice. I was sure it didn't but it made a nice walk and we had hours to kill. It was beautiful and sunny afternoon but by early evening that was changing fast. A night in the camper-van with the wind howling and torrential rain beating on the roof meant that I was becoming more and more happy that I was not racing but a little concerned that this would not be great for Bob.
|Ready for anything|
|Swollen after heavy rain overnight|
Once it was dry I set off back up the course to see how they were doing. I thought I might get to the viaduct but they were moving well and almost at the Visitor Centre CP. I raced back to the van to dig out a dry shirt for Bob and also to get more food ready.
|Damp start to the day|
|Up and over- the next roller-coaster|
|Dick contemplating the damage from his fall|
|An eating ultra|
Bob was moving well and Dick not far behind although his ribs were now starting to bother him. They refuelled in the van and moved on not too many minutes apart.
It was nice being able to run back to find then like this and take their special requests for food or drink and also ensure that they lost as little time as possible. As I was leaving I spotted the first two men flying down the old eroded road. It would be minutes before they caught Bob and Dick.
Runswick Bay had moved the CP. I had expected them in the lower car park and hoped to park the van at the top. I managed to squeeze in and it is a great CP location with an aerial view over the beach and along to the ravine and also back up the road to see runners appearing.
The lead men raced through and also in the top 6 Martin Terry who would be 1stV50. I ran back up the course again (I would be very bored at and ultra doing no running) and had a request for hot sugary tea.
Ah, we have no sugar in the van. Bob made do and took on more food- marmite and peanut butter sandwiches being a favourite (not together).
I sent him on his way and was worrying about Dick. He arrived with talk of maybe dropping out as his fall was causing him pain and we are all due to go to Scotland for more adventures next week. I knew I didn't have long to get to Sandsend but that once there I could wait so he set off again. I couldn't get the van in the car park but found easy parking on the roadside.
|Good to see Barney back|
I shot off to meet him, to get his requests and then to race back to the van to prepare. He was moving well and making better time than I had anticipated.
|More Hardmoors steps|
I was just getting worried about Dick and hoped he would figure out that the van would not fit under the height barriers so I would be up the road... No, he was worried too- that he would have to run to Saltwick and that I had abandoned him. Not a chance. A relieved man climbed into the van, sank into a chair with a cup of tea and announced that sadly he was done for the day.
I now had company for the remainder of the day which was nice as the evening came and the hours stretched a bit. I didn't fancy the narrow roads and crowds at Whitby Abbey and no support was allowed at Saltwick caravan site so we moved to to Robin Hood's Bay. We were far to early so had a brew, a chat and then I went for a wander while Dick had forty winks.
|The sun has come out|
Several cups of tea and many squares of quiche later he felt fortified enough to continue. Nick arrived too, and then Sarah and Andy so we had a little Runfurther party. I pushed Bob out the door with the encouragement that the next bit was downhill. Well the first bit on the road and even the first cliff top bit is...... I just didn't mention Hayburn Wyke and the other inlets. We moved on to Scalby and the Sea Life Centre. The heat was definitely going out of the day now, so much so that we put the van heater on for a while to take the chill off. We had another hot drink, did the maths to predict Bob's arrival and then waited. By the time I set off back onto the cliffs it was getting dark and as my eyes had not gradually adjusted I needed my torch.
First I met Nick who assured me had passed Bob some time back. I kept going and suddenly Bob was there only about 5-10 minutes behind Nick. He had obviously had a good patch once the terrain levelled out.
A quick pit stop in the warm van and he was sent off around the Scarborough Proms and Bays. This is not my favourite section but I do try to see the positives- street lights, a level surface, no mud and no hills- and encouraged Bob to do the same. I sent him after two ladies but sadly they were doing a charity run on a different route.
Meanwhile we moved to Holbeck cliff top. In the dark I had misunderstood the lie of the land so it is just as well that itchy feet made me get out and explore and found the CP! I was chilly so ran back to the Spa. It was lovely seeing head torches appear and to be able to encourage runners on. Bob by now was slowing. I had taken him a cup of hot chocolate which he drank but he also wanted a warm top - an opportunity for a quick sprint to the van and back. He didn't want to eat much and I should probably have insisted more strongly. Most important was the fact that he made the CP before 9.30pm. With his two hour head start this meant he would have just made the 11.30pm cut off and so could consider he had completed the course and made all the cut-offs. There was nowhere else sensible to meet until Filey. We had plenty of time for a last minute Tesco dash, to find a parking spot close to the hall and to chat to finishers. I took down the Runfurther stuff whilst I had spare time- I guessed that runners arriving after 15 hours or so would not be very bothered what flags they didn't see in the dark and that they would not want to read a display board! Dick went off for a shower and I had plenty of time to chat and eat. Predicting Bob's time was getting less easy. I knew he had hoped to finish before midnight but thought this would be tight. I dug out my head torch and ran out onto Filey Brigg. I met Sarah S and various other runners. Using my garmin I was able to let them know just how little they now had left. Jon had arranged for glow sticks on the steps and across the grass and cliff tops. At the slip way I met Nick and he shot off to use the beach approach and so save himself the climb and steps. I was well on m way to Cunstone Nab when I met Bob and Steve Spence. Steve was jet lagged and hallucinating. He jogged off and just wanted it over. Bob was exhausted and nothing I did or said could persuade him to run or jog.
|Finished at last!|
I enjoyed my day. It was nice to pay back all the times Bob has supported me and I really liked being able to encourage runners and cheer them on.
|Big breakfast on Sunday|