I had entered this race last February in the spirit of trying more off-road race for a change. Two weeks All-Inclusive in Mexico 3 weeks before the race, I concede, was not the best preparation! However that was not to be my only problem! The Saturday before I pulled some muscle/tendon behind my knee practicing Long Jumps! OUCH!!A visit to Mr Sleemans House of torture assured me that no lasting damage had been done but some work would be needed. Or should I say KNEADED as I was given a thorough pummeling. It worked as by Saturday I was virtually pain free. And ready.
Jan and myself assembled chez Sygrove for our early morning embarkation to Reeth . We arrived in good time for the collection of numbers and a quick cuppa. The weather was bitty. A bit cloudy, a bit sunny, a bit windy etc. perfect for running.
Jan collected our outer garments and we assembled at the start for the briefing. After wishing each other best of’s we set off. Barely 100 meters into the race mine came to a sudden ignominious stop! WHAM!!!! I ran into a way- marker sign (see photos).Knocked clean off my feet, dazed and bloodied I tried to work out what had happened. Wearing my cap and my gaze fixed firmly downwards to avoid tangling with legs didn’t help. I was escorted back to the start to be quickly assessed by the race marshal. She accepted my assurances that I was ok and allowed me to continue. She suggested I might consider only completing the 10k course if I so wished. WHAT! 10k?? In the true spirit of Yorkshire I had paid to run 20 and that’s what I intended to do! So finally I set off again with the back marker.
The route follows the river for a while before turning left and heading upwards. The ascent is about 5 miles on mainly stony/ grassy trails with a bit of tarmac. By the top legs are screaming to be set free as mostly we had jogged then walked to the top. As the terrain leveled it became possible to get going! It was now more noticeably windy but welcome too as I was now quite warm. The views of this beautiful part of England spilled out in every direction. The geometric patterns of dry-stone walls tessellating across the hillsides only broken up by the odd stone built barn or house, sturdy and defiant in this austere land. The sheer scale of it all opened out all around and I had to be careful not to become to immersed as large rocks and boulders stuck out of the grassy paths tripping the unwary.
A water stop at about 11k was very welcome with the added bonus of jelly sweets! Immediately after the path turned sharply left another 1.5k climb loomed and I thought I had finished the ups today!
The final descent was long and tiredness crept in. grassy paths were order of the day for a while with a bit of road thrown in. Just before I reached that turn I was distracted again and tripped once more. Over I went, A over T, landed on my left shoulder and knee. Ouch again. Bruised and muddied I picked myself up once more concerned that someone may have seen me! I felt such a idiot!
The end was in sight now as I zig-zagged down the road then across a couple of fields and finally over the bridge. Here I was meat by Malc and Kath and Jan who spurred me on up the final rise to the finish! They had al been very concerned for me but were equally relieved to see me finish! At this point Kathryn revealed her injury sustained near the race start too as she was constantly looking back to see if I was coming and tripped and badly cut her knee on a rock…..then ran 20k! Also she inflicted terminal damage to a pair of those spectacular tights she is so beloved of. Sorry Kath!
Finally we assembled for refreshments at a café and to compare notes and mishaps. I was delighted to have finished this race as it had not looked likely a week before or indeed after 2 minutes of the race itself! Still we live on to fight another day and meet the challenges head on…literally in my case. Thanks to Malc and Kath for a great day out and equally good company…always a bonus to share these experiences I find, and thoroughly commend them to anyone wanting to have a go.
We had two other striders who did very well Dave and Chris (who very unluckily missed out on a podium place by dint of a misunderstanding I believe. ) I am sure there is a lot more to come from you two and feel sure great thing lie ahead. Fantastic running.
Full results available here.
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