I’ve yet to be disappointed by any of the fell races on the surprisingly accessible North York Moors and this short and stylish number was no exception. I arrived at least 45 minutes early to find there was already a long queue for numbers. This popular short (4.2 miles) race is simple and elegant, heading up and west, then up a bit more, then back east along the Cleveland Way, then down. As we stood around the start for the customary briefing I examined the rather spectacular scratches on my calf, caused by tripping over a bramble on a dangerous descent while trying to find somewhere to go for a pee. Not exactly a life-endangering gripping bar-room anecdote but it’ll have to do.
Dave Parry went straight from his pep talk without pause into “right is everyone read ok off you go then” catching a few of us by surprise and the race had begun. I’d reccie’d the initial climb during warm-up and knew that it went on a bit so I was happy to tuck in at the back and get settled. The first I knew that Susan was racing was when I caught her just before the turn. I had Ros from DFR in my sights and was pleased that I managed to stick so close to her until about half-way. We turned south then west up onto the Cleveland Way and a rather alarming squally wind that worried me a little as I’d opted for the no-base-layer option in my dress-code. But it was short lived and the scramble up to the Wain Stones surprised me in its scramblieness. Ros just ahead, and Susan just behind, and then over the top we hit the autobahn and things got rather fun.
There followed a scary section along the fast wet and slippy stones of the Cleveland Way before the final descent. I’d thought the navigation on this short race would be a no-brainer but suddenly wished I’d paid more attention to what Andy Minster had been saying as I suddenly noticed a local vest disappear sharp left of the path. I knew the old adage about following local vests but decided to stick on the stones rather than veer off into the unknown. Around the corner and it all became clear. There were seconds to be saved by picking a good descent, as much for the better surface offered by going off-road rather than sticking to the lethal flagstones.
The short final descent back down through the woods was fun and just about flat-out-runnable. The sprint finish is enhanced by a barrier across the forest road so a bit of veering is required to ensure an injury free end to the race. I felt like I had a good race even though I’d had doubts that it might be a bit too short. Will had a good run taking 2nd prize overall.
|1||Matt. Speake||Dark Peak FR.||M||1||30.14|
|30||Caroline Pollard||North York Moors||F50||1||39.57|