(9.95 miles / 1780ft ascent)
The Chop Gate Chiller Night Race was a night race put on by the Hardmoors team to run alongside their training weekend. The weekend provides trail running tuition, navigation exercises and running techniques (incl. ascending and descending skills). The night race is on the Saturday evening and it’s open to all. “Turn up at 18:00hrs with six quid, a head-torch/torch, warm running gear, warm gear to change into plus a sense of humour”. That’s basically how it’s sold.
This was my third night race and I can honestly say these are easily my favourite runs. There is something magical about running around the North Yorkshire Moors at 7pm at night in the dark with a bunch of around 60 runners. It beats Saturday night TV hands down. Watching a procession of head torches as runners make their way along the moor edge overlooking the lights of Teesside really feels like something special.
Two distances were on offer. A 5 mile out and back or the option we chose which was a 9 mile loop (which turned out to be 10 miles… You always get a bit extra for your money with a Hardmoors race!).
I had a time of two hours in my head for the race as I knew it would be relatively hilly. All was going very well until the final descent. I made a left turn instead of a right which in hindsight was not an issue at all but in the darkness it confused me and I spent ten minutes on my own wandering around a field of sheep unsure of which way to go. Luckily I picked up some head torches coming down the hill who’d also taken the same turn asi had. Thankfully they knew the correct way to go. I was literally 3 minutes away from the finish. So annoyed! My finish time ended up being 2hrs 7 minutes so I was a bit gutted as I’m sure I’d have sneaked in under 2 hours.
Overall, hugely enjoyable evening. The weather was perfect. Clear skies. Low wind. No rain. Very well organised as always. Kudos to the marshalls who give up their evening to sit out on the middle of the NY Moors for 3 hours in near freezing temperatures to make sure everybody is safe and accounted for and sent on the correct path.