Category Archives: Dave Robson

Windmill Way 26m 2017, Skidby, near Hull, Saturday, May 13, 2017


Dave Robson

I hadn’t done this event before, but it was held in the same area, to the west of Hull, as the enjoyable Golden Fleece. That one was organised by the scouts, as was the Windmill Way, so I thought I would give it a try.

The organisation was laid back. The kit list consisted of whatever clothing you thought was appropriate. The person before me at registration asked if there was a checkpoint at the windmill as there hadn’t been one in previous years. ‘No there isn’t’ was the answer although it was on the route description and the tally card which was supposed to be clipped. Nothing was said at the briefing, so I was lucky to have heard that. There were lots of checkpoints with increasing amounts of food at them which was nice, but I did get a little nervous after the first one which just took my number and had nothing to eat or drink !

However, this was largely made up for by the finishing momento

which was lovely. Registration and Race HQ was a fairly dour building on the outskirts of Skidby

but there was plenty of parking. There were walkers as well as runners and the briefing largely consisted of telling us about a fairly small route change.
Just over the mile from the start was the famous windmill
where I didn’t waste any time looking for the non-existent checkpoint. Then it was back into another part of Skidby for the second checkpoint where they just took my number. Then we were off into fields with one or two gentle climbs
followed by pretty villages such as Little Weighton

and attractive churches – this one is Rowley

The next section was tricky as the gpx route I was using didn’t go the way everyone else was going, but I just trusted the two people I was running with and some yellow tape which appeared and was never used again. That got us to the route change (in order not to disturb some prize pigs apparently…). That was fine, but there was about 0.25m on a fairly busy road, followed by a long stretch on a much quieter road. There was a quite a bit of tarmac overall and the fields were also very hard from the lack or rain recently.

There were some signs to point us in the right direction

but they weren’t that often.

Soon after we  turned off the road were running downhill through woodland

which is just my favourite running terrain. At the bottom was the Yorkshire Wolds Way which we were to come across and follow about three times. We climbed up out of the valley and there were some good views of the Humber estuary (which can hardly be seen in this photo)

On to the village of Everthorpe, which I was familiar with from the Golden Fleece

On to South Cave where there was an indoor checkpoint with cake, soup and hot drinks. I was pretty warm at this stage, so I just filled up my bottle with water and didn’t stay long. At this point it started to rain, which had not been forecast, but it wasn’t heavy and it was too warm to put my waterproof jacket on. On to the Wolds Way again and on to the lovely Brantingham church

More climbing and through some more lovely woods to Welton where the checkpoint had rice pudding and peaches. There was no way I was going to skip that. On to Welton Dale which was lovely

before crossing a few more fields and on to the long green lane back to Skidby and the finish. 5hrs 6min which I was pleased with – quite a bit faster than I have ever done the Golden Fleece.
There was more rice pudding and peaches at the finish together with cake. Cost of the whole event was just £10, a bargain.
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Hardmoors White Horse marathon 2017, North York Moors, Sunday, April 9, 2017

Dave Robson

Twelve years ago I never thought I would run a marathon, I thought at 53 I would be too old to start running one. However, I soon realised there were members of Elvet Striders who were older than me who were running them successfully. So I entered my first one and ran it just before my 56th birthday in 2007.

By December 2015 I had completed 126 marathons/ultras and I decided I needed a target. I am not one who sets myself many targets (and I don’t like anybody else setting me targets, but maybe I shouldn’t get started on that issue here ….).

After a bit if thought I came up with trying to get to 150 marathons/ultras within ten years of my first marathon, Windermere, in May 2007. So I was aiming to get the next twenty four marathons/ultras in eighteen months. That should be achievable provided I didn’t get injured. I have been lucky, I have had no injuries, so today was the day of my 150th marathon/ultra with a month to spare on my target.

I was very happy that I had managed to arrange my 150th to be the Hardmoors White Horse marathon as it is a fantastic route and I love Hardmoors events. It is a tough route with lots of climbs, but the scenery is beautiful. I had completed my 100th marathon at the Hardmoors Wainstones, so I may have started a pattern here.

I wan’t expecting a good time for this event, my previous times has been 6hr 55min (2015) and 6hr 43min (2016). Also the week before the event we had been on holiday and we had clocked up 53 miles (which is about half my usual monthly miles) in one week. Not much of a taper.

The start was at the Sutton Bank Visitor Centre (the nearest we would get to the White Horse).

and I chatted with a few friends before the start at 9.00. The start is not far away
and I was ready to go
The route starts along the Cleveland Way heading north but before long we turn off and plunge down the escarpment to Gormire Lake which is usually pretty muddy. However, this last week has been very dry and today was also dry and very warm, so it was very easy to avoid the muddy sections.
The climb out of Gormire was a bit muddy in places, but nothing like it has been in the previous two years. Once back on the Cleveland Way, the views started to appear, although it was a bit hazy.

Then after about 4m we reached Sneck Yate Bank and one of Jon’s motivational signs
Then on past High Paradise Farm and onto the moors. I had started at the back and I was gradually overtaking people and this went on until the end, it is funny how some races go well and others like Kielder Dark Skies two weeks ago which I didn’t feel went well (although I did a faster time there).
Then soon we were turning east and down into North Moor Wood and past the lovely Arden Hall
and a climb in road to the lovely village of Hawnby and the steep climb up to Hawnby Hill. Recently, at some Hardmoors events there has been a party checkpoint and at the top of Hawnby Hill. I should have take a photo of the bunting and the many inflatables, but I just one halfway up the climb which was telling us what was to come…
The views from Hawnby Hill are amazing.
If you have never been to Hawnby and climbed the hill, I would highly recommend it !
Down Hawnby Hill to the next checkpoint where they had honeydew melon slices, heaven !
Another climb and a run alongside Easterside Hill, which is a section I love and then another climb up Bilsdale West Moor before decsending to the checkpoint where Gillian and Eric were volunteering. Then its back to the southern Hornby, before the horrible road climb out on Murton Bank. I really don’t enjoy this climb, it seem to go on and on.

Finally I reached the checkpoint at the top and it was lovely to see Sara volunteering there ! Jon had mentioned that there was to be diversion as he hadn’t got permission for us to run through Deep Gill Wood so we had a smoother run and avoided this from previous years
which was a bit of relief. Generally the route was much more runnable this year being so dry. Via some lovely woods
and on to Rievalux Abbey
If there had been an ice cream van in the car park we passed with no queue, I would have stopped, but there wasn’t.
On past this lovely garden
and plodding now to the final checkpoint, where Lorna and Adrian welcomed me. I managed to run a bit more after this then I normally do, but I stopped at these stepping stones
to soak my buff and squeeze the water down my neck and rinse my face.
Before we climbed out of this section, we came across this lovely building
I can’t remember whether it was there last year. We climbed out of the valley and wind has developed into more than a light breeze and it was kicking up lots of dust and I had to put my sunglasses back on – I have never had a problem with dust before at a Hardmoors event !
I didn’t stop at an extra checkpoint at Cold Kirby as there was less than 2 miles to go and I could see I was going to get a course pb. And I did  I came in with something around 6hrs 16min, a 27min course pb.
So overall, it was a lovely event and I will be back next year. There are to be no targets for a while, just carrying on doing events that I enjoy 😃
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Spires and Steeples 2016, Lincoln, Sunday, October 16, 2016

26 miles

Dave Robson

I did this one for the first time last year. It is low key event, there is no fuss. It follows the Spires and Steeples footpath from Lincoln to Sleaford. You park at the finish and a coach takes you up to the start. There is also a half marathon which starts halfway down the route and there are also walkers who set off an hour earlier on the marathon, so there are usually lots of people around.

After a lovely descent through Lincoln it is a pretty flat route which passes through numerous villages, crosses fields and and quiet country roads (and of course goes by many churches).

I came down the night before and as last year treated myself to this the night before:

I was up at 6.30 and left the Travelodge at 7.30. The dawn colours looked attractive
I caught the coach up without any problem. There was a different start from last year, just around the corner which made the distance about 0.25m longer which was fine.
They had the same checkpoint system as last year, we were given six elastic band with our race number on and we left on at each checkpoint and one at the finish.
A couple of people came and up and chatted as I was wearing my Elvet Striders hoody which as nice – one an Durham Harrier who now lives in Beverley and somebody else who is a good friend of one of our club members.
The start was well organised
Just as we left the rain which had been forecast arrived and it got quite heavy. We went down through the quiet Sunday morning streets in Lincoln. I didn’t notice this in Lincoln last year
The rain lasted for about 3 hours so that wasn’t great. The route also got quite muddy in places, much worse than last year. We crossed a few pretty bridges


and quite a few, probably ten, fields like this

These just got tougher as it went on, my shoes (Inov Ultra 290s) were picking up loads of mud and the only way of moving forward at any sort of pace was to adopt something like a cross country skiing action.
When the rain finally stopped, the sun came out but the wind picked up and it was a headwind. I was also a bit tired and I was walking far more than last year. Consequently, I finished 35min slower than last year. Not great but the conditions were definitely worse this year.
The course was signed very well except at one point (or maybe someone removed it the sign) where a few people made a mistake, but I was lucky as I could see them coming back to take the correct turn.
We ran through a field of chickens near the end, there seemed to be thousands of them
It was definitely worth doing this one again, but I think I was lucky with the conditions last year.


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Belvoir Challenge 2016, Harby, Leics, Saturday, February 27, 2016


Dave Robson

This was my sixth time running this event. They vary the course, but this was the third time I had run this particular route. However, the last time I ran it was 2013 so I could not picture the exact route. I find having different routes appealing, you never quite know what is coming next. The route was superbly marked with lots of tape, a map, a gpx file and marshalls on the busy road crossings.

We were both expecting lots of mud as this is fairly normal for this event. However, there was very little and you could mostly avoid it. There was a bit of a breeze in the second third, but nothing very strong. Plenty of gates and stiles, especially on the 16m route that Melanie did. As usual the start and finish was in Harby and all proceeds went to the local primary school.

Dave and Mel sticking together (for the first four miles anyway)

Melanie and I were starting at the same time and we would follow the same route for the first 4m. The start was a little crowded and once out of the village we crossed some muddy fields and climbed up the escarpment for the first time and ran alongside fields and on farm tracks – the vast majority of this route was off road with just the odd short road section. To our surprise the sun was coming out through the clouds and we were warming up quickly – it had only been about 2 degrees when we started.

After Melanie and I parted, I went through the first of many pretty villages. Some of these had checkpoints that were as usual laden with home baked food.

I was starting to tire at about 16m which was a bit disappointing. I had been eating cheese sandwiches at the checkpoints and maybe I needed a sugar boost. I certainly felt better after some cake at the next checkpoint.

Another climb up the escarpment and into the woods whether I started to catch some of the 16m walkers who were following the same last 5m as those on the 26m route. However, there didn’t seem to be so many of them this year. Then I arrived at the last checkpoint and it was like a party. There must have been about twenty walkers there chatting away. Apparently they had cheese biscuits and stilton on offer at this checkpoint, but it was so busy I didn’t spot it.

It's all a matter of perspective

The last four miles were pretty easy, more paths through the woods with lovely views to the north and then a lovely downhill into Stathern and then across fields towards Harby. This section normally has a pond where you cannot avoid wet feet, but it basically wasn’t there this year it was so dry. I made it back in just under five hours thirty minutes which was pleasing. As usual, there was soup and a roll followed by bread and butter pudding and custard waiting for me at the finish – there are lots of opportunities to eat at this event !

Melanie enjoyed her run though she was a bit frustrated by some of the queues at some of the stiles, ten minutes at one stile ! She had time to go back to the hotel in Melton Mowbray, shower, change, have some coffee before returning to pick me up in Harby.

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Hardmoors 60 2015, Guisborough, North Yorkshire, Saturday, September 19, 2015

62m/10,000ft ascent

Dave Robson

Kit CheckI have come to love the Cleveland Way. My initial reaction after running along it a few times was that it was designed for walkers, not runners. Lots of steps, some of them very uneven, stone slabs which can be slippery in wet conditions and lots and lots of climbs. However, after now doing many Hardmoors events, the Osmotherley Phoenix and other events there I have changed my mind. The view are gorgeous and the sense of satisfaction you get from running on the Trail is hard to beat. The trail goes from Helmsley to Saltburn on the coast and then goes follows the coast to Filey.

I had run the first half from Helmsley to Guisborough, the Hardmoors 55, in 2010 in pretty awful conditions. I had always wanted to do the second half from Guisborough to Filey and when the organiser, Jon Steele, put on the Hardmoors 60 I was very tempted to enter. However, I wasn’t confident of hitting the cut offs. This year the cut offs were extended and I thought I might make them. However, there was a nagging little voice inside me saying that maybe at sixty four years old I should have attempted it when I was younger. This was of course absolute rubbish and I wasn’t the oldest runner there.

Preparation included the 53m Crosses, which didn’t go particularly well and lots of climbs up Wainwright hills in August. I think both helped, particularly the hill walking.

The plan was that Melanie would support as her support made the Crosses so much easier, but a day before the event she came down with a bad cold. So I used drop bags and Denise Benvin, who was marshalling, offered to take a change of clothes to Ravenscar for me. That worked very well as the temperature changed dramatically after Ravenscar as the day changed from very hot to very cold.

Kath Dodd and I had agreed to run together. We and three Striders had run together at the Hardmoors Princess 31m two weeks ago and we had also spent some time running with Sara at that event. So Kath, Sara and I ran together in this event and it worked out very well. Sara had not run further than 36m and she did fantastically well finishing this event. Sue Jennings was the third Strider who ran the event, but she withdrew at Ravenscar having got there within the cut off time.

The event was 62m in total and is over 10,000 feet of ascent. I had set up the followmee tracker app on my phone which seemed to have little effect on my phone battery when the update rate was set to 15 minutes. However, at some point during the race I managed to switch on my flashlight. How I did this I don’t know and it has happened before. The result was that my phone died in Whitby, which was a shame as Melanie was using the tracker to see where I was. Luckily Flip and one or two others were able to post updates on Facebook and send texts.

Stage 1 Guisborough to Runswick Bay

I felt I knew this pretty well. We started slowly and after the first stile I was last for a short while. The climb up to High Cliff Nab was muddier than I expected, but better than on the Hardmoors Roseberry Topping marathon last December. The view down on Guisborough was beautiful.

Some of this section I had covered several times, but there were sections I had only covered once. I was also unfamiliar with the location of the Saltburn checkpoint. However, the race description helped us to find this easily. I was also a little unsure of one part of the Skinningrove diversion. However, Flip and Anna and the two organisers were there to make sure we took the right turn.

Saltburn Viaduct

Skinningrove to Boulby I had done once before. There was many more hills than I remembered. At the top of them was my daughter and her husband with some very welcome supplies. It had developed into a hot day with little wind and we were drinking lots and lots of water.

Boulby to Runswick Bay goes through the attractive village of Staithes. It looked lovely in the beautiful weather. The next section was also one I had only done once a few years ago. Again there were more hills than I remembered. It was very hot and although it looked like we were going to get through our informal cut offs that I had calculated for lots of places, we didn’t have a lot to spare and I was finding the heat and hills very hard going. It did cross my mind to pull out at Runswick Bay, but we had about 30 minutes to spare at that point so I decided to just see how it went. Looking back I think I was just going through a bad patch which is just inevitable in a long event. There were others who were wilting in the heat and eleven runners withdrew at this checkpoint. In total there were 163 finishers and 32 runners who withdrew.

Stage 2 Runswick Bay to Ravenscar

I thought this would be by far the toughest section especially the very familiar Whitby to Ravenscar section.

Runsiwck Bay

Runswick Bay was as lovely as ever and the climb out wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be. I was rusty with the route to Sandsend, but it wasn’t too bad. We were taking it pretty easy, walking all the ascents and gently running the rest. We went through Sandsend and saw the young boy who was rescued from the sea by one of the runners being attended to by the rescue services. The runner carried on and completed the event ! We made it to Whitby where I came across Angela and John who were having a weekend away. At this point my phone was losing charge because of the flashlight, so I had a conversation with Melanie to explain before the charge slipped away. At the top of the steps to the Abbey in Whitby, Kath and I had an ice cream, which was a welcome break on a hot day.

We kept on seeing the lovely Quaker running club support team who were supporting their runners who were just behind us for most of the way. Sara’s partner Oliver and son Robin (eighteen months !) also popped up in lots of places and Flip also seemed to be everywhere. It is hard to explain what a difference this makes, but it certainly encourages me.

The Whitby to Robin Hood’s Bay took us an hour and fifty minutes, about ten minutes faster than I expected. Flip was in charge of the checkpoint. The next section is only about four miles, but I have never done it in less than an hour. There are lots of climbs and descents. The descents aren’t ones you can run down with carefree abandon and expect to live. They are steep, large steps and there are some rock steps which can be uneven and irregular.

We went into Ravenscar more tired than we had been two weeks ago when we finished the Princess Challenge. The heat and the extra ten miles had taken their toll. We spent 35 minutes at Ravenscar. I changed everything apart from running shoes – Scott Kinabalu Supertrack – I still think these suit me very well. I also had rice pudding and coffee and consumed some of my food from the drop bag.

Stage 3 Ravenscar to Filey

I had expected this to be much easier than the other two sections. In reality, I found it as hard as the two other sections.

We came out of the Ravenscar checkpoint and it was very dark and although I was now wearing a long sleeved top, I realised that I was cold and shivering. I put on fleece top and that stayed on until the finish. It is amazing what a change of clothes and food can do, we ran well on the way to Hayburn Wyke, again familiar territory from the event two weeks ago. I had hoped that Hayburn to Scalby Mills at the north end of Scarborough would be straightforward. It wasn’t, it was much longer and more up and down than I had expected. I also made a minor navigational error, but that probably only cost us 3 minutes. Scarborough never seemed to arrive. We were walking more than running. When we arrived at the north end of Scarborough we were in danger of not making the cut off at the south end which was three miles of flat concrete away. We missed it by about four minutes but the marshalls seemed happy to let us continue. More coffee and flapjack were consumed.

Above Skinningrove

We set off again and we walked almost all of the next section to the finish at Filey. I was a bit rusty on the Cayton Bay to Filey section but I had saved my Garmin (my battery only lasts seven hour now) for Stage 3 and I had the route on there and this helped enormously otherwise we might have been tempted to follow the group ahead who made two errors and seemed very uncertain of which way to go. We ended up finishing with them although they had run much more of this section than we had. It was lovely to see Flip waiting for us at 2.00 am on Filey Brigg signalling us with his torch 🙂

Trophy Would I do it again ? When I was doing it, I didn’t think so, it was too tough to be enjoyable and the roller coaster of emotions you get on such events I find hard to cope with. But now, a few days after I have finished, I find myself thinking it was very scenic, the organisation was first class and the marshalls were just fantastic. I am wondering what I will think in a few days ! We were 22 minutes late into the finish, but nobody seemed to mind and there were others who came in soon after. This was the longest time I have ever spent on my feet in an event – 18 hours and 22 minutes.

Thanks to Flip for the lift back to my car in Guisborough where I slept for a few hours 🙂

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South Tyneside Trail Series 2015 Race 3, Old Marsden Quarry, South Shields, Sunday, August 9, 2015

Dave Robson

I fancied a change from the Darlington 10k this year and so I went along to the third of these trail races which are all held in Marsden Old Quarry. I never realised this area existed and it is very close to Marsden Grotto which is where the parking is for the event.

It is a very low key affair, you can register online prior to the event (a maximum of 50 people can do this) or enter on the day. The cost of entry is £6. There are no race numbers to wear, you are given a number which you have to remember and give it at the finish.

Marsden Old Quarry is a nature reserve and it is a good place to run. The course is two laps and a little bit. It has a few hills which are a bit testing and there is a great view from the highest point. It was pretty much all trail with a small section of tarmac path. It was well marked and marshalled and there was water at the finish. All the runners waited and applauded until everyone was back.

Many of the runners went for breakfast at the Marsden Grotto afterwards. At the moment, this is the last race of the series, but the organiser is hopeful of putting on the race once a month, at least in the summer months.

If you fancy a local, cheap, friendly trail race I would recommend this one.

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Tour of Fife 2015, Wednesday, July 29, 2015

5 races in 5 days

Dave Robson

29th Jul to 2nd Aug

The Tour of Fife consists of five short races in five days at various locations in Fife. The races are all a bit different. I have done the Tour once before in 2011 and loved it and I had always planned to go and run it again. There are no prizes for each individual race, it is the overall times which count towards the prize giving after the last event. The number of entrants is limited to about 180, but only about 155 turned out. The five races can only be done by Tour entrants, so you start to recognise most people after a few days.

Race 1 The Chariots of Fire 4.2m

This year the Tour started with a classic race, the Chariots of Fire race along the West Sands of St. Andrews. I loved it last time I did the Tour in 2011 and I loved it again tonight. There was a great view of St. Andrews from the beach. The amazingly big stands from the Open golf tournament were still there, but I guess they will go soon.

A can hear the a bit of Vangelis over the waves.

After three days of running and walking the lovely Fife Coastal path, we were a bit unsure about how we would do, would there be much left in our legs ? Before the start we had the music from the film coming out of loudspeakers ! We started very slowly on this out and back route entirely on sand. We found our legs weren’t too bad so after the first mile or so and we gradually started to increase our pace and overtook people. However, we were slowed by the sand getting softer and softer.

We turned the corner at the end of the beach and to my surprise the turn around point this year wasn’t in the sea, so I need not have put on a pair of old trail shoes.

On the way out the breeze had been in our faces, but it was behind us on the way back and we made good time on the way back on the firm sand.

A can hear the a bit of Vangelis over the waves.

Everybody was very friendly and the first person who approached us used to work in Durham and lived in St. Marys, where I now work ! The next person recognised us from the Northumberland Coastal Run !

A lovely way to spend a summer evening

Race 2: Hill of Tarvit 3.1m

This race was in the schedule when I last did the tour in 2011. Then it was 4.25m and three laps. This year’s race was 3.1m and one lap which sounded more attractive. However in 2011 we didn’t go up to the top of the big hill on the estate.

We met a friend of Jon’s tonight who also did the Elvet Striders Clamber last week, it is a small world. Then somebody who also did the Northumberland Coastal run just over a week ago. The runners were are very friendly and welcoming.

Dave hanging in there.
photo © and courtesy Vicki Reynolds

The first couple of miles were fast and furious and hardly undulating at all. Melanie was setting quite a pace and I couldn’t keep up, so I was slowly losing ground as we turned into the woods and started the very large climb to the top of the hill. There was a stile to cross and long grass to negotiate and some very upset sheep, but once we got to the top the view was fantastic. The plunge down to the finish was steep and potentially dangerous, but we had no problems and finished with a reasonable time considering the hill.

Race 3: Uphell Time Trial 1.4m

This is only the second uphill time trial I have ever done, the other one being the same event four years ago.

The logistics are a bit complicated. Everybody has to park at the top and run down to the bottom of the hill to start in pairs at your published start time. Last I underestimated how long it would take to run down and I was a bit late – they managed to slot me when someone didn’t show. I made sure I got there with time to spare this year.

The weather was awful when we parked at the top, driving rain, windy, it felt like November. Luckily as we set off down to the start, the rain stopped and wind dropped a bit.

Melanie was starting 4min after me and I half expected to get caught, although she was a bit anxious about a hip problem which she could feel on the way down the hill.

I started slowly, at least I thought I did. My partner slipped behind and that also made me think I was possibly going too fast (we were paired roughly according to speed, but the faster and slower pairs were spread evenly between the first and last starting times). By the time I got to 800m (the distances were chalked on the road), I was blowing hard and I continued like that until the finish.

There was great support from runners running down to start their race, the two fastest runners were particularly encouraging. I decided to just hang on and keep running even if I slowed right down. Faster runners were going by me making it look very easy.

As we got closer to the finish runners who had already finished were shouting, clapping, ringing cowbells, clattering pans and blowing whistles, a great atmosphere. There was also a piper and the race organiser on a PA.

Dave pretending to be an aeroplane when he should be racing!
photo © and courtesy Vicki Charlton

I managed to get to the finish without being caught by Melanie, but she did come in with a faster time than me – her hip wasn’t an issue on the way up. I was about 45 sec slower than 4 years ago, but I don’t think I had done so much exercise during the week as we have been doing this time [I think it’s something to do with pretending to be an aeroplane, personally. – Ed.].

A relentless event, but definitely worth doing (but only every four years !)

Race 4: Cambo Estate 4m

This race was only about a mile and half from where we are staying so it was great not having to drive too far. It was a very warm day although there was a steady breeze to cool us down.

The route was two laps through the Cambo Estate grounds. It was mainly on narrow trails through woods, although there was one section through a field of cows who got a bit scared on the first lap. They were nowhere to be seen on lap 2.

Jazz Hands!
photo © and courtesy Vicki Charlton

A nice feature of the Tour is that there are three or four photographers there every day who post their pictures on FB and Fife ACs web site and they are happy for them to be copied.

Melanie did much better than me, I lost places to people I had been close to before today, but Melanie gained places on people she had been close to. She also hit the wall like me, but much closer to the finish.

Race 5: Mega Monirail Marvel 4.2m

Photo © and courtesy Graham Bennison

The final race, 4.2m. Basically up a quiet road for 0.5m before turning onto a track which climbed and climbed for the next 1.5m or so. After a while the track turned into grassy fields and we made our way to the highest point next to a radio mast.

Then it was almost all downhill on track but with a few muddy patches before it turned into tarmac for the finish.

I started pretty much at the back as I didn’t think I had much in my legs. I did overtake a few, but I ended up roughly where I was yesterday 116th out of 153. Melanie did great 80th. Over the five races I was 108th and Melanie 91st and we were both happy with that after a busy week.

At the finish almost all the runners had stayed to cheer everybody in and there was a great atmosphere. We were lucky with weather again, it started to rain just as the last runner came into the finish. This seems to have happened just as we have finished our runs, walks and races this week. Not to hot, just perfect weather for exercising.

Dave on Dave Five
Photo © and courtesy Vicki Charlton

We then went down to the Village Hall for sandwiches and cake – we had all been asked to bring a contribution to the food, a great idea, and there was lots to eat. This was followed by the presentations and spot prizes – we weren’t lucky this time. One woman who had been doing well but had felt a bit dizzy and unwell had had to walk into the finish. If she had continued she would have been third woman but lost her place because of feeling unwell. They gave her bottle of wine which was nice gesture.

The whole event was lovely and we enjoyed it. Hopefully we shall be back for my third Tour.

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The Crosses 2015, Goathland, North Yorkshire, Saturday, July 4, 2015

53 miles

Dave Robson


A cross certificate.This section is written three days before event starts …

I am a bit nervous about this event. It is five years since I ran an event over 50m or 40m or even 35m. I normally do marathons, though some of them like the Hardmoors marathons are often closer to 30m. I always get some nervous anticipation before a race, especially a marathon, because I know it is going to be hard at some point. I know I will question why I am doing that event. But I know that feeling won’t last and the buzz I get when I am finished is always good. I wonder if I didn’t get any nervous anticipation whether I would do the events. Maybe if it was all routine, then that is the time to find something else to do.

I nearly didn’t enter this event, but I read that it is a one off event in aid of the Scarborough and Ryedale Mountain Rescue Team. So if I didn’t do it this year I might never get another chance. The plan is that the route visits many of the crosses on the North York moors. It starts at midday in Goathland so I will be finishing in the dark also at Goathland. One good thing about it is that I have covered some of the route before in the Hardmoors Rosedale, Smuggler’s Trod, Rosedale Ultra and Hardmoors Goathland races. But there is the nagging negative voice which says are you getting a bit too old for 50m+ events ?

My positive voice says well that is exactly what you said in 2006 before you entered your first marathon. That and all the following ones worked out well, so why not this one ??

After the event …

With a midday start we could have a bit of a lie in. We drove down in two cars as my car would go in the event car park and Melanie would drive round and support me. This worked out great, it made it so much easier being able to change my shirt (twice) and shoes (once) and pick up food. Thank you Melanie 🙂

On the drive down it was cloudy and at one or two places on the moors, there was thick fog. It was still pretty hot, but there was a bit of a breeze. It could have been been much worse there have been some very hot blue skies days with no wind this last week.

At Goathland we parked up and went over to the Village Hall, registered, collected the goody bag and chatted to the many Hardmoors runners who were there. There were quite a few walkers doing the event – there was a 24hr cut off so there was plenty of time to walk round.

From the start at the Village Hall we started off running down the old railway track just like on the Hardmoors Goathand event, but we went a bit further before turning west and heading our first hill. After this were small sections of road and lots of paths across the moors. Some of these were uneven and I realised that my Hoka Stinsons were not the best to start this event with, I was twisting my ankle a bit too much. After the first checkpoint at about 6m there was a steep descent into Glaisdale where I had to slow down to keep myself from slipping over. The second major climb, on road (Caper Hill at about 9m), got us out of Glaisdale and there was Melanie waiting for me at the top. By this time the sun was out, but luckily there was a breeze. It was in our faces, but it did give us some relief from the sun.

Beautiful North Yorkshire views.

After the second self clip at Botton Cross, I managed to lose my tally card. It was pretty windy there and I had to bend right down to get it scanned so maybe it fell out of its holder then. Luckily I remembered my number which kept the checkpoint staff happy.

I met up with Melanie at the Lion Inn and had more water melon, it was so cooling 🙂 Then it was the long stretch on the old railway line to Rosedale Chimney. This stretch I know well and it seems to go on for a long time. I was walking and running by this time. There are some beautiful views down to Rosedale.

After reaching the Chimney checkpoint it was a lovely downhill to Lastingham where I met up with Melanie.

After this there was a long stretch of road followed by a long drag upwards on a forest road before a plunge down to the Pickering railway line at Newtondale Halt. This was followed a very steep climb out of the dale before the drag up to Saltersgate. Here I met with Melanie for the last time and changed shoes and finished off the water melon.

After the next checkpoint, Lilla Cross, it was on with the new head torch, the Alpkit Arc. It had come with batteries but they didn’t last much more than an hour so I had to try the big selling point of the Arc, the easy battery swap. I managed to drop the replacement case, but luckily I had a second headtorch and was able to find it !

The next section was Robin Hood’s Bay Road, which was the furthest from a road that you could imagine. I would have struggled to run much of this if I was fresh and and it was daylight.

Catch ya later!This section was very well lit with perfectly placed glowsticks. After Postgate Cross, (where I stopped for some lovely soup :-)) the glowsticks got a bit more sparse and I had at tricky time getting to John Cross. Luckily I knew where I should be from the Smuggler’s Trod and got myself back on track. From there it was a bit of plod back to Goathland which I reached at 9 minutes past 2 am.

Having done the first half in about five and half hours, I can see that I am marathon fit, but not really able to go too much beyond that. I should have done more back to back runs to get myself used to running on tired legs. The heat in the first half also took its toll.

I am pleased I did it, but I am not sure I would do it again if it does happen again in the future, it was last done in 1999 and cancelled because of low numbers and only brought back this year because it is the 50th anniversary of the Scarborough and Ryedale Mountain Rescue Team. Apparently they had 250 enter this time (they had a 300 limit) so it is possible it might continue as a fundraiser for the Team who did a great job at the checkpoints and at the finish in Goathland.

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Settle Saunter 2015, North Yorkshire, Saturday, June 13, 2015

27 Miles

Dave Robson

Watch out for trainsWe have never done this LDWA event before, but it seemed in a lovely area of the country and Melanie wanted to go up Ingleborough again, the last time she went up she was eight years old.

We went over the night before and stayed in Burnley. We wondered round Thompson Park in the evening The park is fairly close to the middle of Burnley and we were amazed to see a deer about twenty meters away from us, It checked that we weren’t getting any closer and carried on feeding.

We left Burnley at 6.45 am for an 8.30 start in Settle. The parking wasn’t close to the start in the Victoria Hall and we checked in at registration and received our tally cards with all the checkpoints listed. We managed to buy a sandwich from the local Booths and had that before we started. We weren’t expecting too much food at the checkpoints, they were described as ‘light refreshments’. We were also told there would be no water at the checkpoint at the top of Ingleborough which seemed perfectly reasonable.

It was clear from the numbers in the hall that there would not many people participating (about 80 runners or walkers over four different routes – 9m, 12m, 16m and 27m). There were only 32 people on the 27m route.

We knew we had to go down a very narrow ginnel (alley) very soon after the start so we made sure we were fairly near the front (this is very unusual for us) and we were about fifth into the ginnel and were able to get through with no delay.

The first two miles or so were in Settle and were easy going. The next bit I had struggled to match the route description to the the GPS route from a previous year. There was a good reason, they had changed the course and then the route description made much more sense.

There was a small climb before Fizor, the first checkpoint but on the whole the first seven and a bit miles were easy going through beautiful countryside which was reasonably flat. However, there were quite a number of gates to open and close and stiles to climb over. We passed through some attractive villages, Fizor, Austwick and Clapham.

The long and winding road

After Clapham we started the climb up Ingleborough. It was long, rocky and tiring. We had cloud cover, but it was warm and very humid which made things a bit more tricky. We reached the summit (11m), checked in and started the steep descent, which got much more runnable after a while – we flew down some of it, trail running at its most enjoyable. Then after we had descended, the stiles (particularly ladder stiles which just sap your energy) started to come in numbers.

We made it back to Clapham (a different way) and started to head back towards Settle. The way out had been pretty flat but this time we were sent up several hills. After leaving Clapham, the route description talked about passing through two tunnels. We were a bit doubtful they would really be tunnels, but they were. I have no idea why they were there.

After Austwick we entered a site special scientific interest – Oxenber and Wharfe Woods. They were full of bluebells which were just past their best. A few weeks ago it must have been an amazing site

At the Fizor checkpoint we were told we were joint 7th. I don’t think we have ever been so high in the field before. We managed to hang on to this position until the end. Exactly seven hours it took us, but my total count was 44 stiles, 34 normal gates and 4 kissing gates. They all disrupt your running and deplete your energy. Then of course there was Ingleborough, which took quite a while.

At the finish there was tea and a meal – pie and peas followed by peaches and rice pudding. How they make any money out of a £10 entry fee is amazing.

All in all a lovely, scenic but tough day out. Certainly tougher underfoot than last Sunday’s Lakeland Trails marathon. Dave takes his anniversary tech-T for a trip up Ingleborough

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Hardmoors White Horse marathon 2015, Sutton Bank, North Yorks, Sunday, May 3, 2015

Dave Robson

It has been a while since our last marathon. However, we had been on holiday recently and covered about 55 miles, so we thought that might keep us in some sort of form. We are now doubting that our training was good enough, because we found this marathon very hard. I completely ran out of energy towards the end and walked most of the last four miles which were an uphill drag. This may be partly to do with just getting over a cold which lasted a few days last week.

ever so slightly spooky

The route looked stunningly attractive on all the photos that course markers put on Facebook. When we arrived it was just throwing it down with rain with a strong wind from the east. The views from Sutton Bank should have been fantastic, but visibility was very poor. The marshalls did an amazing job out there, it must have been grim standing around in that. We did the entire event in full waterproofs top and bottoms.

The route followed the Cleveland Way north for a short while and then descended steeply to Gormire Lake. That descent was made a bit more hazardous as many of the leading runners missed the turn down to the lake (I guess the tape had been removed) and came form behind and flew past very close. We were more sheltered round the lake but then we had an enormous climb back up again to the Cleveland Way where we met the full fury of the weather again. My calf also started to tweek on that climb which felt a bit ominous given it was so early in the race. However, as it turned out it didn’t get any worse.

We followed the Cleveland Way past the first checkpoint at High Paradise farm and then onto the moors. We then had to turn east into the strong wind and heavy rain. We walked that stretch, but it wasn’t long before we descended steeply and things calmed down a bit. From there we went up and down and went through some very muddy sections until shortly after the second checkpoint, Melanie had a big fall on to a hard surface. She had some pain at the time, but hoped it would get better, but she was feeling her knee for the rest of the race.

Melanie feeling her medal as well as her knee

We reached Hawnby which was followed by a steep climb up Hawnby Hill and down the other side (yet another tricky descent) to checkpoint 3, which was just under halfway. Then yet another climb over the shoulder of another hill, another tricky descent and then a lovely downhill run across fields, before a 1:4 ascent up a road to a checkpoint where it was great to see Denise Benvin who was marshalling there.

Then into a forest and private land, where the track turned into a mud bath. Again there was a tricky descent and a muddy ascent. We turned a corner on that ascent to see the track covered in debris left after tree felling. It was hard to believe that was the route, but tape was there and our Garmins seemed to indicate that was the right way.

The route levelled out a bit after this and we went past the lovely Rievaux Abbey which looked great with the clouds on the hills behind. Flip was marshalling there and he had saved us some jaffa cakes to eat

Flip on marshall and Jaffa Cake duties

Then back on to the Cleveland Way and we reached the final checkpoint which was manned by Anita and Mark. It was great to see them before we started the drag upwards to the finish at Sutton Bank. We had sunshine in those last four miles and the views at the end were great, it was just sad we didn’t get them at the start.

Other Striders who were doing the marathon were David Brown, Jules Percival and Andrew Thompson. We didn’t see them after the start and they all did faster times than us. There were also quite a number of Striders doing the half marathon and 10K and I think everybody got very wet !

Dave out on the course

Great route and yes, I would probably do it again. This event was also the first time I had done any serious distance in my new Scott Kinabalu Supertrac™ shoes. Their grip was excellent and the cushioning was good as well – I like to have cushioning in my running shoes.

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