I ran this race last year with my colleagues and come in after 62 minutes. My friends had injuries and some a dose of ‘wimp out-itus’. I was on my own this year and the thought of 7 miles was filling me with dread. Hammering down the A19 I began to think about race tactics and smashing last year’s time. It was not going to be easy. The course is very hilly. Hills and me don’t mix! I was not feeling confident and in my rushing to get ready I had not even realised my unfortunate race number.
With only time for a pathetic attempt at a warm up and stretches we lined up ready for the off. As I stood next to the Foresters Arms I remembered one of the key features of this run. It passes some of North Yorkshires best pubs. A temptation I would have to resist.
As the starting hooter we were off and I quickly realised that this race was full of vests representing a massive range of clubs. From Wales to Scotland, from Scarborough to Crook, this race attracts a much wider field than the 300 or so competitors would suggest.
After a flat run out of the village I looked for people running my pace to hook onto. I was feeling fine at around 6 and a half to 7 minute miles. Then hill number one hit! It’s similar in height and steepness to the ones I train on in Northallerton but only now did I realise how much hills slow you down. Head down I ground it out but my legs just didn’t want to know. I recovered briefly on the descent and again picked up some speed through the village of Coxwold. Then the long flat bit to hill 2. I struggled again to find my pace and was not helped by the thousands of horse flies buzzing around our sweaty bodies. Hitting hill 2 I actually picked up speed and with pure blood and guts I made it to Byland Abbey and perhaps the hardest part of the race, the last third. It is essentially a long energy-sapping, shallow climb before you get to the last mile and a half. This was as bad as I had remembered and I passed some who had given in and started walking. No way was I giving in. I had been beaten by one of my colleagues last year and was out to smash his time to gain office bragging rights. With the last of the climbs done and dusted it was time to put my foot down. The time was going to be close and my Garmin was telling me I had a mile and a half to go and it’s all downhill.
Flat out to the finish I passed the 7 miles mark at full speed. With point 2 of a mile left, the pub came into sight and some people had stopped early before the actual finish line. I had made that mistake before so overtook, much to the annoyance of one runner before he realised his error. I collapsed over the finish and stumbled into the square to receive my prize. No I didn’t get onto the winner’s podium. I had been promised a pint if I beat my colleagues time from last year of 59 and a half minutes and he was buying! I checked my time of 56.24 and with a smug satisfaction finished my Pint!