A road trip or rather a rail and road trip with Carol and the bikes! My O marathon had morphed into an ultra I don’t how it happened but hey an extra few miles for the same cash! Organised by the Hardmoors group and on a trail course in the N Yorks moors it was probably going to be hard enough any way without the bonus miles! Ah but lets start at the beginning.
Carol had decided to come with me so we organised train to Northallerton and a room in The Black Bull. Come departure day and when disaster struck Carol’s cat got ill. This resulted in a trip to the vet on the morning of our departure, the successful removal of a foot long bit of grass from it’s throat some drugs and a very quick drop off at the cattery!
We arrived at the station with 4 mins to spare. We changed trains at Edinburgh and Newcastle, a bit of a problem at Newcastle but with the help of Disco Dave of Transpennine railways it was soon sorted and we arrived in Northallerton. After settling into our room we headed out for a quick walk in the High Street and food.
Saturday was market day in Northallerton and meant a rude and early awakening for us. After a light breakfast we walked around the market then headed out on our bikes to Osmotherley so Carol would know the way for tomorrow as I was getting a lift. We followed a quite route of approx. 8 miles and on the way back a slightly different route of 9 miles.
On our return old friends of mine had arrived and we got tarted up and headed out with Keith and Chris.
Race day dawned at 0630 a breakfast of instant porridge and a banana and I was out then back again for my phone!
Registration was slick even with a kit check! and I had my number for the 26.2 (ish) Osmotherley trail run.
The race details had said that the climb on the race was between 4000 and 5500 feet it started almost from the beginning with a testing wee climb on tarmac then a descent to the first gate. All very civilised no scrambling over fences or pushing in, an orderly Q was formed!
A lot of the route follows the Cleveland Way and like many LD paths this suffers from erosion remedial works had been carried out using stone flags to shore up the path these were fine when dry but a nightmare when wet! A dry day was forecast but with strong winds on the outward leg this was not too noticeable as we were fairly low till the turn round point at 11 miles then we climbed up and seemed to be on the tops for the nest 15 miles battling against a stiff wind and very strong gusts at times leaning into the wind just to stay upright!
As well as slippy stone flags and steps there was mud at times loads of mud in fact skis would have been better than shoes to glide across the top. It clung to everything and sucked you in it seemed to be omnipresent! I had elected to take walking poles with me and whilst I believe they did help the jury is still out on their usefulness!
As the day wore on and the winds picked up I layered up and got on with the race. The route was well marshalled and marked and with 9 feeding stations resembled a moving picnic. The feeding stations were stocked up with a variety of goodies including coke and chia charge bars also available was water, jelly beans, jelly babies and Jaffa cakes.
Motovational signs were spread out along the course such as “Half way-you think” just to cheer you up.
The finish eventually turned up after 29 miles, 5451 ft and 7h 45:30.
Verdict: If you like a well organised but tough off road outing these races from Hardmoors would be right up your street!