Sunday was an early start to head off north to the small village of Chop Gate in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. I’ll admit that I wasn’t looking forward to this run. My quietness on the blog is indicitive of how I am feeling at the moment – I’ve had a couple of colds, have been very busy with work and with home, and the running is suffering as a result. And I don’t like not being prepared!
That is how I felt – under-prepared. I knew it was going to be a tough course and also quite a bit longer than 10k but felt I just had to go and do my best.
There were three different races on the day and as we pulled into the car park we could just see the first, the Marathon setting off up a very steep hill. We joined those waiting for the half marathon to start in the village hall were there was a great buzz of excitement for the races. These are very much trail races, so runners are kitted out with packs of various types for the compulsory kit and it is a great opportunity to have a look at all the kit that is available!
It quickly came round to the time to get ready for race briefing and then outside to the start line. There were just over 100 runners for the 10k, so pretty low key which is just how I like it. The start took us up (yep, hill straight away!) into the village and behind the houses onto a bridleway leading up onto the moors. It seemed to be non stop climbing for several miles, but the views were fantastic. My only issue is that when I try to look up and take in the views I ended up tripping up!
We had a pretty heavy shower of rain within the first 20 mins and I started to get a bit cold and decided to stop and put my waterproof on. Really glad I did as the wind just got stronger the higher we climbed.
A right turn led to a very steep decent of rocky steps where I had the utmost respect to those that were managing to run down them – I was struggling to walk at any decent pace! Pretty quickly we were heading back uphill again, with a very steep climb towards Wainstones where a bit of rock climbing / clambering was needed (did I say this isn’t your typical 10k race?!). After this point I felt that the course got a little bit easier – still the odd uphill, lots of boggy areas, heather scratching your legs, but not quite as severe as the first half of the route. But I was getting pretty tired!
The last mile or so was a fast decent off the moors back towards the village. You’d think that this would be a relief but actually the downhill was hurting my knees quite a bit. Through a couple of sheep paddocks, over the cattle grids and onto the road for a very short stretch to the village hall. There isn’t an actual finish line – you are clocked in at a desk inside and then handed your medal and t-shirt. Muddy shoes and socks off and time to get a drink and something to eat.
- Total distance 9.07 miles (yes miles ! Told you it wasn’t a normal 10k!)
- Time: 02:21:45
- Elevation gain: 1489 ft
I didn’t run this on my own – my husband was with me, and it was my sons first Hardmoors race. It was the furthest distance my son had ever run, and the hardest, most technical course. I am so proud of him for sticking with it (he’s nearly 17).
Would I do this race again? Maybe….. it really was tough, but a fab route.
Would I do other Hardmoors series? Definitely