Just back having spent the weekend up in Saltburn and on the stunning North Yorkshire moors. As part of my training, and as a blatant excuse to go up and see Sophie, Nick and Tommy, I entered the Hardmoors 55. A 55 mile race across the North Yorkshire moors from Helmsley to Guisborough and manages 2700 metres of ascent on the way.
I’ll put together a full race report later or will just add to this one (I’ve got a picture or two and a video to add in), but I’m conscious of how far I am behind on this blog already! So to the result, I was joint 5th overall in a time of 9 hours, 9 minutes and 45 seconds. I managed to get lost at mile 5 as I looked down for a moment to grab some food and drink and when I looked up everybody had gone. This was the start of a nervy run navigation wise as local knowledge would make for a far happier run on this course. I think that contributed to me not feeling like I found a rhythm I was over 30 miles in.
This was my frist run with a support crew – Nick appeared just after Wainstones on his mountain bike and provided me with some much needed lube which I phoned ahead for. Sore ankles, tires legs, these are all things one can deal with, but chaffing is something else. Nick’s mountain bike enduro experiences were evident as he provided perfect support, cycling on ahead and getting out food to hand over, etc so I didn’t lose time. As always I’d packed enough food for the 5000, but hey, I’ll get it right one day!
Nick rode with me for a while and it was great to catch up; I finally started to find my rhythm and managed to overtake two people without even noticing, but in fairness this was because I never actually passed them, they went the wrong way! Once we hit the road to Kildale Nick carcked on to find the rest of my support crew – Sophie and Tommy + Laura and the boys.
As I came up to the top of the hill on the small road section I could have sworn I heard Rhys shout; “Daddy!”. I looked around but couldn’t see anybody so thought it must just be in my head, but as I reached the brow of the hill I saw a little man in a red coat running towards me. To say I had a lift to see Rhys, Laura, James, Sophie, Tommy and Nick all at the top of the hill is an understatement. I think the video makes that evident; I even look like I’m running well… considering it was mile 40 ish I look like I’m going really well!
It was after this that I really started to reel in the remaining leaders and moved up to joint 5th with the first lady and current ladies record holder. I was good not only to chat the last few miles through, but also not to go wrong in those final stages and finish before dark.
Cracking race, great marshals, truly stunning views and relatively simple climbs. Mistakes aside and better preparation in place I reckon I could shave 20-30 minutes off my time. The key lessons learned were:
1) Don’t try to eat every 20 minutes… it’s too often!
2) Establishing a rhythm early is really important – latching on with some people to talk to or running with friends for the first 20 is a winner
3) I need to do more descending in my training
4) I need to do more long runs rather than lots of 10 milers – at least a 20 or 30 miler each weekend (or similar duration run)
5) I need to run with my backpack on and practising eating
6) Having a support crew makes a world of difference!
Thanks to everybody invovled who made it a great day – this includes the chip shop owner for my tea and the Welsh Rugby team for another Grandslam and thoroughly absorbing game! A perfect day!