trail race

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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training session #1518

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Sunday 25 November, 07:18

Had pencilled in Longshaw Trust 10k a couple of weeks ago. It had been coach Mikk’s birthday in the week and on Friday he shared the idea of running 33km including the Longshaw 10k Race. I didn’t take too much persuading and a couple of other VRs, Nigel and Caroline, were up for it too.

Parked up at Millhouses Park and ran out of Sheffield via Eccy Woods, Limb Valley, Lady Canning’s Plantation, Burbage, Stanage, Higger Tor, Carl Wark. Approaching Longshaw we could just see the race being set off, and a couple of minutes later we ran through the start and did the race. Passed loads of runners, even having done 8-9 miles first.

Coffee with a big group of VRs afterwards. Then returned via Totley Trig and Horses Field. Lots of fun, and good to get a long run in before my next marathon. We ended up doing 37.5km, more than planned.

Mikk just posted a short video of the run on YouTube: https://youtu.be/dVuDX5q6KL0

Distance: 23.3 miles

Time: 4:21:41

Avg pace: 11:13 min/mile

Calories: 2473

Trainers: inov8 x-claw 275

Dalby Dash 10k

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Sunday 11 November, 11:02

It started to rain as the race director said a few words and we had 2 minutes silence. I’d found out a bit about the course from another runner on the start line, positioned myself behind the fastest runners but not that far back.

The start was downhill then rose into a long hill about 1.5 miles long. After that was about 3 miles of downhill, then a flattish mile to the finish. The first 2 miles were good tarmac, then compacted stone trail.

Felt good on the hill, pushed hard down the downhill and kept it going along to the end.

Knocked 6 minutes off my 10k PB that I’d set at Stockport in September. Finished 101st out of 455. Was 17th in my age category out of 52. Very happy.

And I was going to do this race easy and work hard at Brighton next weekend! Guess I’ll swap it round and enjoy flat Brighton.

Distance: 10km

Time: official 45:21 Fitbit 45:25

Avg pace: official 7:18 min/mile Fitbit 7:35 min/mile

Avg HR: 148bpm

Calories: 495

Ascent: 580ft

Trainers: Brooks Cascadia 13

Sweeping Marshall at Osmotherley 10k

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Sunday 21 October 2018

I’d responded to a shout out from the organisers for volunteers, and was put in a team of three sweepers for the 10k. Weather seemed bright and breezy, sun trying to break through.

Met up with Bev, who’d volunteered before, and we were given instructions by Jon. Walked up to the start line with the runners.

We watched the runners depart, and a chap in a Hardmoors top stood with the starter (Jon) said to me “were you at York last week?” Stunned, I said Yes and he responded “Thought so, I remember you smiling and running with your brother”. I laughed, never seen this chap before but once again our double act in a Marathon got us remembered.

The 10k was fine, bits of jogging and walking to keep behind, but not too close to, the runners ahead. Lots of chat, and we picked up Ronni the third Marshall at the first drink station. The route had a few long climbs and steep steps in places, but on the tops the views were spectacular.

We gave encouragement to a couple of the back markers and held gates for some fast Half Marathon runners dashing through.

Really enjoyed the volunteering experience and will do some more, as and when my racing calendar allows.

Distance: 6.75 miles (Hardmoors races are typically longer that ‘standard’ race distances)

Time: 1:57:36

Avg pace: 15:19 min/mile

Calories: 747

Ascent: 896ft

Trainers: Brooks Cascadia 13

Penistone Hill Race

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Sunday 30 September, 10:31

10C, overcast and cool. Met another VR, Rachel, and her dad at the start. Chatted with local runners to get an idea of the course. Loved the first climb, ok on the downhill. Then walked bits of the second climb before dashing downhill the last couple of miles.

Really well marshalled, no danger of getting lost. A mile from the end a lady Marshall shouted ‘You prove vegan is good for you because you look so healthy!’ Made my smile bigger and made my day.

Lots of trophies for all age groups and literally every runner got a prize. Mine was a bottle of ale. The money raised goes towards keeping the sports centre open.

I’ll do this one again, lovely race.

Distance: 6.45 miles

Time: 1:03:34

Avg pace: 9:49 min/mile

Calories: 720

Ascent: 1047ft

Trainers: Brooks Cascadia 13

Nine Edges Endurance race

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Saturday 8 September, 10:00

Cool and drizzly, some rain, windy on the tops. The recce I did last weekend was of little to no value as land access problems changed the first few miles.

Heading up first climb to Derwent Edge

Felt good and the narrow paths on the first part backed everyone up. Slipped on the descent from Derwent Edge to Moscar House. Planted my right foot to change direction and the sandy peat caused it to go, scraped left knee, not that bad. There were other fallers, saw at least three with one lady having a bruised cheekbone.

Battle wound: not fatal

It’s a lovely route and the weather wasn’t a problem, the wind was blowing runners on to the edges rather than over the edge.

Tried to pace myself and not be too competitive. Have to save my legs for another Whitby to Scarborough run next Saturday. As the runners started to spread out more thinly I tried to keep in touch with a few on similar pace who seemed to know the route. Was following a wiggly line on my watch for navigation. But had phone, map and compass for backup.

Towards the end I tired a lot and at the finish I stood still for a minute to gather myself. A good workout, enjoyed it.

Distance: 20.52 miles

Time: 4:09:52

Avg pace: 11:48 min/mile

Calories: 2311

Ascent: 2889ft

Trainers: Brooks Cascadia 13

Ultimate Trails 55k, Ambleside

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Sunday 8 July, 07:00

Got up at 4:15 to get ready and park near the start/finish. Lots of chatty people sharing info about what to expect. I put myself about 60-70% of the way back from the front starters.

Was relieved when in the first mile runners around me were walking up hills/inclines, to save energy. The sky was bright and the sun stayed behind high cloud until later, had full sun from about 13:00 onwards.

The checkpoints and refreshment stops were good. I drank my water with SIS tabs in and refilled bottles with electrolyte at every stop. Munched often, banana and flapjack from the stops and a couple of Clif bars I carried.

The terrain was frequently rocky / stony underfoot, and there was lots of climbing up steep slopes, interspersed with brief and short sections in the valley bottoms. Epic scenery, ran past totally still lakes and looked back at picturesque valleys. Worth doing for the views alone.

I seemed able to power walk up the steep bits, passing many others. Didn’t hit the wall, fuelling and hydrating were going well. Looked for shade wherever possible.

I noticed that mentally I was very positive, enjoying the experience. Marshalls noticed I was a smiler, I said hello to sheep and wasn’t worrying about the next climb, and the next. I’m sure this attitude really helped me, I didn’t hit a low point or have any doubts. I was counting distance in hours rather than miles, but later on did ask some marshalls ‘how far?’ They weren’t that accurate. Wasn’t using gps watch, battery wouldn’t have lasted.

Loved the finish chute and felt ok. Had a drink and found a vegan food van!! Lots of choice, bought a bhaji burger and when other folk nearby me saw it they ordered some. Should have been on commission! Cheered finishers and had a coffee for an hour or so before heading off to car.

Was surprised to find my legs were not that bad in the following few days, just took a few minutes to get moving but I was mobile and could do stairs. Achilles soreness indicated I’d done a tough run but was not at all bad. Applied ibuprofen gel to heels for 2 days more as a precaution. Had three points of chafing (won’t go into details!).

Later I found out I was finisher 167 out of 375, in 9:22:39. Very pleased with that. Read that a lot dropped out and folk that had done it previously had slower times this year because of the hot conditions. Nearly 600 were on the start list so I guess some didn’t start and others were sensible and dropped out if they hit problems.

It was steeper, rougher terrain with less flat sections or undulating running than I’d expected. And who put the photographer near the top of the penultimate climb? I was walking strongly but had to break into a jog when I saw the photo sign and chap with a camera pointing down the path at me…

Distance: 34m / 55km

Time: 9:22:39

Trainers: Brooks Cascadia