Hardmoors Roseberry Topping Marathon

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Sunday 9 December, 08:03

Didn’t feel well prepared, hadn’t followed a set marathon training plan since doing Yorkshire marathon in October. Had done a selection of half mara, 10k and parkruns so was ‘race fit’ but not specifically for trail marathon.

I hadn’t reccied the route but other runners at the start reassured me it was sufficiently taped and straightforward. Started toward the back with survival in mind.

The first climb was, as forecast, muddy. A steady power march, picking the best footing.

Then at the top the sun broke out and cast a warm winter glow across the fields. Soon the first view of the top of Roseberry Topping came into view.

The route took runners up and down to the far side of Roseberry, then back up to the top again and off by a different route.

Next was a longer, more gradual climb up to moorland. Lots of variety of path on this race: tarmac, rocky trail, stone slabs, terraced steps, narrow cuts through heather and heathland, and mud.

Managed to keep my spirits up, welcoming other runners, marshalls and photographer with a ‘Ho Ho Ho!’.

At the second or third checkpoint I heard the Marshall tell a lady runner doing about the same pace as me that she was 3rd woman. Made me think I was doing ok, though I was running my own race.

Up on the moors there was a bit of wind, made it much cooler and towards the end my eyes were drying out making it hard to see.

At the 22/23 mile checkpoint a marshall told me I was 40th runner. Thought I must have misheard him. But it started to dominate my thinking. I began counting my position as runners passed me and I passed them. I ran long stretches of those last miles in 36th or 37th place. Positively nose bleed positions for me, being near the top of the field, but I still wondered if the marshall was correct.

Descending the last muddy hill to Guisborough I was taking care but making good progress. Then my first fall of the race. Some mud was covering a loop of bramble or root, which trapped my right foot and sent me sprawling across the path. I put my hands out to break my fall but my face just lightly brushed the ground.

Picked my self up, muddy knees and glove but nothing broken. Pushed on, soon hitting tarmac road. Tried to remember where I was going, how far it was to the finish and where to turn. Thought there were a couple of other runners not far back so worked hard.

Suddenly I saw a runner draw level alongside me. I looked at him and just thought ‘I’m not giving up my position, whatever it is’. Exactly then I realised the turn was very close so I gave it everything and really sprinted up the drive and into the Sea Cadets building ahead of the other guy. Don’t know where that burst came from!

The two lady timekeepers looked at me, asked if I was ok. Asked if I needed first aid (no thanks, and I have a kit in my pack). Suggested I might want to wash my face, washroom is over there. Got my medal and shirt and went to see what they were talking about.

Nothing serious.

It was good to meet and chat with a few other Vegan Runners. I ran with Paresh on and off, till he took off. Chris had offered me accommodation and food, but a bit too late as I’d checked into my hotel. And Nathan works for the same place that I do, different city.

A fantastic experience and I’m pleased with my performance. Think I should have eaten more.

Official results show I was 37th out of 132 finishers, and 6th MV50 out of 22 🙂

Distance: 30.2 miles

Time: official 6:31:19, Suunto 6:31:15

Avg pace: 12:55 min/mile

Calories: 3094

Ascent: 4934ft

Trainers: inov8 x-claw 275

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