Tyne Bridge Harriers have all sorts of runners at the club.. there are those that prefer the short 5k blast around the Town Moor, there are those who will occasionally take on a 10 Miler. Some do Half Marathons. There are even those who will do a full 16 week training plan in order to undertake the 26.2 miles of a Marathon……… then there’s Rob Wishart. Rob does thing ‘slightly’ different. He has sent us this report from his latest escapade.. taking on the 60 miles of the Hardmoors Ultra.
Going long again, when will I learn
Hardmoors 60 follows the coastal Cleveland Way from Saltburn down to Filey.
Got a lift to Filey with Flip Owen of Elvet Striders. He had a B B, I had my tent! I lent him my bike to recce the *extra* bit on the route(more on this later!).
Up early on Saturday morning to board a coach to the race start in Saltburn. Hardmoors is serious stuff and they won’t let you proceed unless you’re carrying… 1litre of water, emergency food, a map, hat, gloves, leggings, jacket, a torch, a whistle and a …survival sack! So everybody’s rucsac was searched.
At 8a.m we were off. Through some streets, a park, then UP steep steps to get on the clifftop path. A typical scene on the clifftops is farmland on your right, ending in a wild thicket at the cliff edge. You can see the sea and more cliffs along the coast ahead. Rural on one hand, rugged and dramatic on the other. The sun was soon blazing down but it’s breezy up there and that kept us cool.
The problem with cliffs is where they crumble, or where a river has cut through them to meet the sea…. you’ll be going steeply down and then steeply back up again. Flights of steps or stepping stones were there, they’re hard work! Up or down, steps were always bad news!
After even 10miles, you’re already tired, got sore knees and are sick of that rucsac! That’s ultras :-o
And villages. No. “Resorts”. Crowds of daytrippers, Whitby was crazy! I like Whitby and was glad the route went through the arch made from whale’s jawbones. But I think we were all traumatised by the time we made it through the crowd and got the hell outta there!
In the afternoon it got duller, better running weather. The field soon gets strung out in these things. You might chat and run with someone for a while, then naturally drift apart. Or be alone for an hour.
But it’s always good to see the checkpoints! Water… Food…
At Scarborough they told me that half of the field had pulled out or been timed out! (hadn’t reached a checkpoint before the cut-off time) Crikey. This was about 6 p.m.
As it got dark I could hear seals moaning in a bay below. By the time I reached Filey it was full darkness…
Saltburn to Filey is only 50ish miles. So Jon the RD made the last checkpoint inland, with written instructions to find it… Let’s say the instructions were a bit vague!!
Hobbling about fields with a torch, not confident that I was heading the right way… Nightmare. People dropped out at this point, with only a couple of miles to go. I was in dismal spirits too, but it would be just as hard retracing my steps as keeping going… When Flip recce’d the route the day before he put yellow tape on gates and spotting these was a relief. Eventually I found the checkpoint (unstaffed, you self-clip an i.d card). Now, just some more farmland between here and Filey. Mud, dung, dead animals, live animals – you name it I stepped in it!
At long last I was in Filey again. I knew the streets from here and it was fast finish time! Hurried along to the race HQ, in a sea cadets hall. Saw a bell and rang it on the way in, over the moon to be one of the lucky ones to actually finish!!
In 19th place and it took 14h48mins.
Yep, that’s less than 5 miles per hour, but this wasn’t on pavements, it was ascents and descents, rough grass, woods, beach, fields… They don’t call it Easymoors!
Later a pub guy asked Why? I said “It’s something to do, innit” :-p