( 14.68 miles / 1727ft ascent )
This was my second Hardmoors half marathon after Goathland in November last year.
This would have been my first Hardmoors full marathon but when I signed up in November I was (well, we were!) expecting a baby due around christmas so being realistic I didn’t think I’d get enough time in for training leading up to this so I opted for the Half marathon on the basis that whatever happened training wise I should be able to get round.
The forecast as always was looking dismal in the week leading up to the race. The race started from Saltburn leisure centre which is only a 25 minute drive from my home … setting off the weather was ok – freezing but dry. Heading over there to pick Dave up brought driving snow. After faffing around and getting changed (I like a good faff) we registered and had our kit checked – waterproof jacket, 500ml fluid, copy of the route. A ten minute race briefing in which we were told there was an 81 year old guy running the FULL (30 hilly miles) marathon which had started an hour before us. If we passed him were to say hi and make sure he seemed ok. *Respect to that man!!
At 10am we lined up on the road ready for the off. The run started with us heading down into the Saltburn valley gardens, some of the paths were a little narrrow so it was single file in places. The mud was out in force. 150 marathoners had already trodden this path an hour earlier so it was pretty muddy from the off … i’m always amazed at how well my Adidas Kanadia’s seem to cope in mud . Once out of the valley gardens we are on the seafront at Saltburn then its a steep stepped climb up the hillside to join the Cleveland Way which we would follow all the way to Skinningrove.
I’ve ran this section 4 or 5 times now but I’ve never gone further than Skinningrove. This time we dropped down onto the beach (soft sand is hard work to run in) and ran along the path by the sea defences to the first checkpoint. Just time to grab a few jelly babies and Haribo hearts (it was valantine’s day afer all) and then you have this little delight to climb
At this point the sun was out,. the wind had dropped,. it was glorious. Total contrast to an hour earlier. I stuffed my hat and gloves into my Camelback as I climbed the steps. Then it was a relatively muddy slog along to the turning point.
Next we had a little road section before dropping into the next checkpoint back in Skinningrove. Here I grabbed a few sweets and a cup of cola, which was most welcome, then more ruddy steps up to the main road to Carlin How for a brief run through a housing estate ( you do get some odd looks from people! ) and into the open fields.
At this point the snow decided to make another appearance and with nothing to stop it blowing across the fields it was hood up time and get on with it. It was in one of these field (at about mile 10) that I caught the 81 year old marathoner . I gave him a friendly ‘alright’ and he gave me a thumbs up as I passed.
One more checkpoint where I had a marshmallow (random! I never eat them but it was lovely!) and a mouthful of dandelion and burdock ( I didnt even know that still existed!) and it was the last few miles back into the valley gardens, under the impressive viaduct and back to the leisure centre.
My garmin had the route as 14.70miles with a time as 2:47 which I was pretty pleased with considering the distance and ascent.
The next Hardmoors I do is a full marathon in May. I daren’t think too much about it right now or I’ll panic. I need to get some good, regular training done or it’ll be a pretty rough day out.
*he managed 24 miles before he was stopped from going any further after being too late for one of the checkpoints. Pretty damn heroic!