Today my legs are tired after yesterday’s 55 mile race from Guisborough to Helmsley and my focus will soon shift towards my spring time goal race of the World Trail Running Champs in Annecy. However yesterday was a great run across the North York Moors following the Clevland Way, although a cool day the cloud was high giving stunning views across the Vale of York. The ground was hard after a good dry spell and with a tail wind conditions were set for some fast times. I wanted to use this race as a preparation race to get me back into the Ultra mindset and test my winter training. I set myself three goals which I thought were all possible yet would provide motivation to give me a hard race to test the mind. The primary goal was to try and win, secondly to break the course record and thirdly run sub 8 hours.
To achieve this I knew I could not run a tactical race with a hard burst towards the end. So after about 500 metres I took the race on and pulled a 30 sec lead over Paul which stayed pretty constant to Roseberry topping about six miles in. I knew it was not going to be a free flow running day after my hamstrings had tightened after two miles but a day of graft and determination to succeed. I pushed on the return from Roseberry and the elastic had broken. I was on my own with only my mind to spur me on. I came in to Kildale expecting a drop bag to be told no bag here but further on, without thinking or looking at the map I carried on in haste. I had one gel left and nine miles to cover, I was well stocked up to this point so I should make it okay if leaving me a little depleted by claybank (A lost driver, time to adapt and cope). I had equalled Dan Anderson’s split from the year before but I did not want to fade the same way. After Clay Bank I stuffed some food in and attacked the hills to Lord stones, I started to feel the pace and feel dehydrated but managed to maintain rhythm to Osthmotherly where I could fuel up for the last section. I was clearly going well I was 21 minutes up on record pace with all three goals still possible but I knew it could all fall apart with 23 odd miles still to go.
The climb out of Osmotherly was a grind but I was happy with this, it was on reaching the plateau realising there was still twenty miles to go and my legs felt shot where my mind suffered. I was using my watch to make sure my legs kept on task and I made a new goal to set a faster leg than last years winner in order to keep me focused. It was a grateful sight to reach the White Horse and walk the steep steps after so much good running. I knew my legs were tightening but all I had to do was cover the last ten miles down towards Rivleuax and on to the welcome sight of Helmsley. I ran into the town to the welcome sight of a small crowd including an old work friend. I was proud if extremely knackered to of set a new course record going well under my best goal achieving a time of 7hrs 39 mins for the 55 miles. Thanks to Hardmoors for organising another great, friendly event and all the volunteers who make it possible with a friendly welcome and supportive words of encouragement.