It was a small but select band of Striders who gathered for the Guisborough Moors Fell race, with many others electing to either run or support at the London Marathon, or recovering from theatrical endeavours. It was a glorious day for running wherever you were though, spring has definitely sprung and about time too. Registration was at the local Rugby club so there was plenty of space to change and leave bags, and some decent toilets too, always a bonus. With monies (£8) paid and emergency numbers noted down we headed to where we thought the start was, only to find it was actually much further back down the road, so we headed back again nabbing a team photo on the way.
The course takes in quite a few climbs with a steep one to begin with and I sensibly decided to conserve energy by walking a fair bit of the first hill. It was glorious on the top of the moor, a bit windy perhaps but the views were stunning and the line of runners snaking away in front of me was quite a sight. It was a bit boggy on the moor and my shoes and socks were soaked and muddy by the end of the first bit of moor but it wasn’t too bad.
Jan had been saying before the start that she was planning to tail run as she’d been under the weather but she came leaping past me like a mountain goat on the first downhill section, a track with ruts as big as a person. I got past her again on the next uphill and we leapfrogged for most of the race like this with her much (much!) quicker on the downhills and me a bit better at plodding up the hills. Captain Cook’s monument was the next climb and a nasty fall for a guy in front of me on the subsequent downhill, he wasn’t actually part of the race and just out for a run with his dog but I made sure he was ok before carrying on, even though his dog was really annoying and spent the next 10 minutes trying to trip me up. At this point Jan reassured me that we were nearly there, but with another 6 miles or so still to go including Roseberry Topping I remained sceptical, which as it turned out was the right thing to do. I’ve not been up Roseberry Topping before and rounded the corner and stared in amazement at the Everest before me, I hadn’t realised it was nearly vertical! I was so slow up it that my Garmin autopaused and refused to start until I was going back down again, it was a real hands on knees and breathe job. There was then a really steep really slippery downhill which was nigh on impossible with wobbly legs and a slightly tweaked ankle, before another steep uphill back up to Little Roseberry. After that it was back on to the moors for a bit before another gradual uphill on some stones.
With about a mile and a half to go I started to feel a bit sick (badly planned nutrition) so started to scrabble around in my backpack for some food. With my pear babyfood scoffed (whoever suggested that as a gel alternative is a genius) I was feeling better but realised I had lost the chap in front of me who I had been following for the last few miles and who obviously knew where he was going. That’s ok I thought, I’m only a mile from the finish, how hard can it be to navigate my way home…
Cheery with the thought that I was nearly there I carried on running on a lovely track down a big steep hill but then realised as I got to the bottom that I couldn’t see anyone in front of me on the big uphill. The guy in front of me hadn’t been that far ahead and I should have been able to see him, but he was nowhere in sight. I had two options at that point, carry on and assume he’d just gone ahead, or walk back up the massive hill I had just run down and see if I missed a turning. The map wasn’t much help, and my phone had no signal so option 2 seemed the safer bet. Trudging back up the big hill was rather demoralising and I was even crosser with myself when I got back to the top and spotted a bit of tape I’d previously missed pointing me in a different direction, ARGH. I’d been too busy faffing with food to notice and lost around 15 mins and expended far too much energy going in the wrong direction. This made me quite angry and my legs had also given up the ghost by that point, so I finally trotted in 4th from last and over my 2 and a half hour target feeling rather peeved.
A change of clothes and some food later and I felt a bit happier and was also not the worst off since Mandy had gone over on her ankle on the first descent (but then carried on rather impressively!) and Mike had done something to his calf so ice packs abounded. Paul had had a really good race coming in 13th overall and 5th in his age category, and Jan had won her age category too, along with the league prize – well done Jan!
I’ve never seen so many prizes at a race before, the winners got 4 bottles of wine each and there were prizes throughout the field and still they kept coming. In the end they said that anyone who hadn’t had a prize could come up and get one so I flung myself at the stage and nabbed a box of chocolates, cheering myself right up in the process. Next year I will know where I am going, and actually I’d been feeling ok up until I got lost and so I definitely can’t complain, even though my knees can certainly feel it today! The chocolates definitely help though and with the absence of Katy I am hoping I am still Queen of the Mountains…
|1||James Bulman||New Marske Harriers||M40||1||82.58|