Shaun Roberts …
Lots of rain and wind overnight, but getting close to Great Ayton the weather seemed pretty mild, with just a bit of breeze. Met Mike in the car park, and another runner asked if it was ‘shorts or tights’ …. shorts we said, definitely. I thought of him as we headed out into the driving rain that came in five minutes before the start. A start that was unusually punctual, I should say … in previous years we’ve started half an hour late, but Dave Parry’s new streamlined entry system worked a treat, and handled a record turnout of nearly 300 runners. Numbers are definitely on the up in fell races at the moment …
The usual fast road start, out into the aforementioned rain, then off onto increasingly muddy tracks and then open fields before the fast walk up towards Captain Cook’s Monument itself. Felt pretty good coming up, and overtook a few on the way … wanted to make as much progress as I could before the clarty slippy descent to come. Nice to get the wind to the rear as we turned back northwards, then we had some slippy paving to skate over or skirt round, and then the awkward steep muddy descent. Note to Graham: I was just slightly less “like an old woman with a zimmer frame” coming down here this time. After this, strangely, the thick clarty sections to come were a dream to run on – just hammered straight through the stuff.
The last couple of miles across fields and down decent tracks were brilliant … great to really stretch the legs out. I got to the finish just 12 seconds down on my best time for this one, so I was happy with that. David (‘Gibbo’, ‘The Gibmaster’, …) Gibson was already there after what looked like a fast run. Mike came in soon afterwards, doing well coming back from injury, with Nina finishing strongly not far behind. Didn’t see Aaron come in (Do you need a visit to the kitmistress, Aaron? Always a pleasure …) then Jan was along, also finishing very strongly, her sciatica not hugely apparent, given that she had nearly a hundred other runners behind her! Phil had a good run, having nearly 50 runners also behind him, and even Alister was well in front of the sweeper, with not at all a bad run – you really had to see him in the flesh before the race to appreciate how much he’d had to drink the night before!
Great way to start the year … thanks to Jan for organising the meal in Stokesley afterwards … a good crack, as ever.
Alister Robson adds:
If I’m being honest I don’t remember a great deal about this one thanks to the exertions of the previous evening when I was (over)celebrating a fantastic year of running …
Some hazy recollections include; Phil banging on the door at 9am to wake me up, trying to fill in the entry form, trying to start my Garmin only to realise I’d forgotten it, being too cold and wet to take off my jacket, wearing my buff on my head as it was so cold and I’d forgotten my hat (and gloves), slipping and sliding up and down a ruddy great hill and a huge moment of relief when I thought for one horrible second that we still had to climb Roseberry Topping.
Still a lovely dinner and pint in the pub on the way home (no change of dry clothes) then straight back to bed where I stayed for the whole of the rest of the day.
Kids – don’t fell race still drunk – it’s not big and it’s not clever, (but if you must, make sure that you pack your running kit before you go out the night before!)
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