The latest races in the Hardmoors series saw six intrepid souls venture out into a cold and frosty Winters morning. Myself and Pam were tackling the longest route (around 30 miles) which meant an early start so that everyone had the chance to finish before it got too dark despite head torches being part of the mandatory kit. As we were ready for the off at 8am we saw Jeannie, Russ, Andrew and Neil turn up for registration for the middle distance (16 mile I think) race. It was also nice to see Ronni Kirkham at the start who would be marshaling on the course with Kevin Wilkinson on Battersby Moor. With my order for jelly babies placed we set off from the sea cadets hall towards Guisborough woods.
Conditions were good with sunshine and no wind the order of the day though snow was expected between 11 and 2 depending on who you talked to. The first big climb was up to High cliff. Fortunately the recent cold weather guaranteed firm underfoot conditions as opposed to the usual mudfest up that climb. Then onto Roseberry Topping across the icy and treacherous slabs on Guisborough moor. Roseberry Topping looked most inviting as we approached Little Roseberry that the thought of ascending it twice didn’t worry me at all……..who am I kidding!! Up and down Roseberry to the foot of the woods then up again and over the back before turning back to Little Roseberry and onto Gribdale and Captain Cooks Monument where I took the opportunity to place a bauble on the “Christmas” tree on the way to the monument. Forward to Kildale and up onto Battersby Moor where Ronni and Kevin where waiting with the aforementioned jelly babies and the opportunity to fill up with water before the 10 miles across icy moors to Castleton. By this time it was a mixture of running and walking with a fair bit of ice skating thrown in for good measure. As we headed across Baysdale moor and then Great Hograh moor it was snowing leaving a dusting of snow over ice which made for some interesting bambi-esque moments. After the relative flatness of the moors we were then subjected to more hills climbing up from Westerdale Moor before descending past Castleton and then climbing up again on the way to Commondale. It was then I decided it would be a good idea to go down like a sack of spuds after slipping on ice and breaking a bone in my hand (discovered Monday after x-rays). After a few minutes getting my bearings, and breath back, with the support of another runner who stayed with me until I was OK to proceed, I carried on to Commondale and the last 5 miles to Guisborough. The final section was across snow covered moors and down through Guisborough woods to finish back at the Sea Cadets hall in 7 hrs 3 mins 7 secs. Not far behind was Pam in 7 hrs 8 mins 49 secs to finish first in her age category.
In the half Jeannie and Andrew came in at 3 hrs 43 mins 48 secs with Neil Allison next in 3 hrs 50 mins 20 secs and Russ in 3 hrs 56 mins 39 secs.