Daily Archives: 15th June 2019

Hardmoors White Horse Half Marathon, Sunday, June 9, 2019

Simon Graham

I wasn’t going to write a run report for this one, mainly due to being busy with other things going on in my life. However I couldn’t let you lovely lot down, so here’s a very quickly written one…

A week after completing parkrunathon, followed by Sunday to Friday away training with the army probably wasn’t the best way to prepare for a Hardmoors event. I was never going to be competitive though. I’m all about the completing, not the competing!

The weather for this event looked great given the downpours in the preceding days, the sun was shining as we left Durham and would continue to shine throughout the day. I say ‘We’ because joining me in the car for the journey down were my ‘better’ half Jill, and our friends Debbie and Bill. Debbie was doing her first event of this year’s series, and Bill probably just wanted to actually finish one.

We arrived just as the Marathon Runners were starting at 9am. Registration was, as always a very straightforward affair. Name, ID, Number. We were then waiting around to start, making the most of the sun before we (Well , more, me) started cursing it for being too hot during the race!

10am, race start. The start of this race is at the top of Sutton Bank, at the Visitor Centre. Starting on the road you make a swift left turn onto the trails leading towards ‘Britain’s best view’ overlooking Gormire Lake. In the Full Marathon and the 10K you drop down about 1000 foot to actually run around Gormire Lake. Fortunately in the Half you stay on top of the hill overlooking it.

White Horse Half is surprisingly runnable, unlike the previous event in the series (Wainstones), meaning that a comfortable pace can be held throughout the majority of the race. It wouldn’t be a Hardmoors event if there wasn’t some elevation and sure enough shortly after the first checkpoint at Sneck Yate there is a climb up to High Paradise Farm. On a normal day, feeling fresh, or wanting to go for it I would probably have attempted running up this climb, but today I just couldn’t be bothered. I could see everyone else in front of me walking so I joined them.

From High Paradise Farm the route takes you off into the fields, down a steep technical descent, and off towards CP2. It was just after the descent that myself and another became confused as to which way the route went. There seemed to be tape going both left and right. Just as we were about to get maps and route descriptions out another runner with an expensive watch pointed us in the right direction (I paid £60 for my TomTom watch and it usually sees me right!). Off we headed now with CP2 in sight.

CP2 was a quick water refill and off up a tarmac section. I can’t recall much about this section other than the downhill parts were real quad burners and we crossed over a ford. After crossing the ford and climbing up hill it was off into a wooded section which took us towards Rievalux Abbey. The previous day’s rain had made this wooded section ‘interesting’ in places and at one point my foot (and half of my shin) disappeared in some mud. It wouldn’t be a proper trail race if there wasn’t mud!

Approaching Rievalux Abbey (12ish miles) my left hip was starting to really give me some grief so I moved to a run-walk strategy. This was to continue for the rest of the race. Probably best given that the last four miles of the race are all uphill following the Cleveland Way back to Sutton Bank.

At 13.1 miles, I know because I had just checked my watch, I heard someone fast approaching. I turned, looked and said out loud “I might have known”, ” Well done Mark”* (*Might have been an expletive in between have and known). It was Marathon Winner and fellow Strider Mark Kearney whizzing past as though out for a Sunday jog. His passing spurred me to run for a bit. It didn’t last long.

Onward I plodded, run-walking to the finish, eventually getting there in a time of 3:20:22 (16.7 miles). Mark had completed the Marathon in a time of 4:01:25. He was the only Marathon runner to beat me home, so what if they’d ran 9ish miles more.

Bill finished about 4 minutes after me, only just being beaten by the 2nd place Marathon runner (who had run a 40-mile Ultra the day before apparently). Jill, Debbie and fellow Strider Jane finished around 3 hrs 50, having ran the whole route together.

Next event in the Hardmoors series – Farndale, where I will finish the half before Mark Kearney wins the full!

PlaceNoTimeNameCatClubFirst in Group
12722:10:05Phil HughesM-1st M
42382:13:54Samantha DaviesFV40Easingwold Running Club1st F
742553:20:22Simon GrahamMElvet Striders
1203763:53:07Jill YoungFElvet Striders
1212403:53:08Jane DowsettFV50Elvet Striders
1322873:59:45Deborah MannFV50Elvet Striders