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Happy New Year!

This news item was posted on January 8, 2014

What a great way to start the New Year!

Chrimbo morning trot, glug of mulled wine and great views...

Chrimbo morning trot, santa hats, glug of mulled wine & fantastic views…

The training hadn’t ceased completely over the festive period but it had dwindled somewhat, being replaced by trips to the pub and eating lots! So 1st January 2014 was to be the start of the 2014 training programme, the challenge: the Hardmoors 15!

I have been aware of the Hardmoors events for over a year now, having crazy friends who run such distances as 55 miles plus, I had been part of the support crew in 2013 during a very cold and windy 55 miler in March, at what I thought then, was a fantastically organised race.

So, it was only going to be a matter of time before I decided to take part in one myself and I couldn’t think of a better way to start the New Year than with a 15 mile run along the coast and back between Ravenscar and Robin Hood’s Bay. There had been debate over whether to do the 30 mile race, but not having run anything more than 13 miles since September I felt it wise (and challenge enough) to take part in the 15 mile (this also meant an hour longer in bed which was welcome after the neighbours’ fireworks at midnight!).

Setting off from Darlington, the sun was a-shining and all seemed calm (ish), it wasn’t too cold either. Driving down to Ravenscar, the roads were quiet… to the south-west we could see the clouds building up which seemed fair as the forecast was for rain around midday.

Looking towards Robin Hood's Bay from Ravenscar on a sunnier day...

Looking towards Robin Hood’s Bay from Ravenscar on a sunnier day…









Arriving at Ravenscar around 9.45am, I opened the car door which instantly nearly blew out of my hand! It’s windy then but at least the sun is still shining! We walked to the village hall to register and what a buzz there was in that place. I love events, I love the sense of taking part in something, of the challenge, of like-minded people being around you wanting to do the same thing and of course I love the happy, cheerful marshalls who make these events what they are, and particularly today as these guys had given up their New Year’s Day to let us crazies run around the North Yorkshire Coast.

The 30 miler had started at 9am, so it wasn’t long before shouts of the first runners coming up the road resounded around the hall. I felt really emotional all of a sudden (events tend to do this to me!). The leading guys had just run 8 miles in just over an hour! It then became a steady stream of runners coming through the checkpoint in the hall, some grabbing food, others checking in and then running straight out again, no time for eating now! Cries of ‘it’s muddy along the coast’ kept ringing in my ear… ‘Oh dear, the outward section is going to be horrendous,’ I am thinking!

11am comes around and it is time for the 15 mile race, so off we go setting out from Ravenscar onto the Cleveland Way heading south towards Scarborough. This path is fantastic in terms of the views out to the sea and south along the coast ahead. It was a little bit ‘clarty’ you might say but not half as wet and muddy as I had expected. We ran along the coastal path for around 4 miles before reaching Hayburn Wyke where the first checkpoint is and turning onto the old railway cinder track that runs almost parallel to the Cleveland Way between Scarborough and Whitby. So then it is 4 miles back along the railway towards Ravenscar which is very runnable. It has started to rain a little bit by now, but the going is still OK as the wind is behind. Uphill most of the way back to Ravenscar and into the village hall and the next checkpoint. I should have eaten something at this point as I have completed enough long distance events to know that I need to keep the engine topped up but instead I just sipped some coke and off we went again!

This next section, from Ravenscar to Robin Hood’s Bay on the railway track, I know well, having taken part in the LDWA Smuggler’s Trod more times than I can remember. My running partner asked if this was a good or a bad thing… I still haven’t answered the question, as I am not sure! This is a downhill drag to Robin Hood’s Bay, but it was enjoyable and good to get the legs moving properly. The rain had started properly by now and my thoughts were turning to the last section from Robin Hood’s Bay back to Ravenscar where we would be fully exposed to the wind and rain on the coastal path!

To the checkpoint at Middlewood Farm and then down the lane to the cliff path and Boggle Hole. A debate about putting jackets on (which we didn’t) took place and then on we went head first onto what I think was the best section of the race. Down the steps to Boggle Hole, dancing around walkers and dodging their exciteable dogs, passing the YHA (a fabulous place to stay, but don’t tell everyone!), up the steps at the other side (at which point I decided to have a gel) and then WHAM it hit us, horizontal rain! And… underfoot a quagmire! Fantastic, this was not running but a slip-slide, hanging on for dear life at points where the cliff had dropped away less than a metre from the path. My running partner, as usual was ahead of me, but by now I didn’t mind as this was invigorating! At this point the 15 mile and 30 mile runners were joining forces along what was now becoming an almost un-runnable section of Cleveland Way. Eventually we reached the upward climb back to Ravenscar and temporarily there was a bit of shelter from the trees, but my body temperature was starting to drop by now so I was keen to get to the finish… one last real push and finally we made it in 2 hours and 52 minutes. Turns out it was a short 15 mile Hardmoor race, barely 16 in total!

There was the usual melee of people stripping out of wet gear and getting some warm kit on in any space they could find – nobody cares by then really do they? Once nicely changed and warmed through with a cup of tea, we all relayed our tales of the event, had some of the lovely foods laid on by the organisers ‘mum and team’ before heading off to Whitby for a few beers!

What a fantastic way to start the New Year. Sadly, I don’t have a photographic memento of the race because the exciteable dogs chose to follow me down the steps and go beserk on the bridge at the event’s photographers. Funny now though slightly less amusing at the time. And pretty standard for me. But I have the memories and even more inspiration to provide events for everyone to be proud to have taken part in and to work with and encourage people who may not have thought it possible to take part in events and achieve new challenges!

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