This nearly didn’t happen.
We’d planned to make a weekend of it. Its a Saturday race, so a hotel booked in Whitby for the Saturday night would make a lovely weekend.
Then life happened. Redundancies were announced at work, I didn’t know if I had a job or not (one post remaining, with two people going for it). Resulted in me cancelling the hotel. Thought I’d be better saving my money. Add to that the dog sitter was poorly and it obviously wasn’t meant to be.
The race? didn’t even know if I’d be doing that until a few days before. However we managed to work out logistics to allow us to still run if we left straight afterwards so Saturday morning found us in the car heading towards Goathland.
It was a gorgeous, sunny, frosty morning – pretty good running conditions as far as I was concerned. I hadn’t planned what to wear, so threw on some running gear, hoped it would be suitable, packed a bag for afterwards and set off.
Hardmoors Goathland 10k. Take the 10k as a rough estimate rather than an accurate distance. We knew enough people who’d done various Hardmoors series races to know that the distance would be more than a 10k. These are also pretty small races, very low key and seemed nice and friendly.
Arriving in Goathland we got parked and made our way to the Village Hall to see who else had arrived. There is also a half and full marathon on the same day, starting at different times and different times for registration, but as the numbers are small this wasn’t an issue. The atmosphere was really nice with everyone chatting whilst waiting. Several dogs also were running which I love to see.
10.30am found us walked out of the village hall to the start line. Less than 50 were doing the 10k so it really was a small group! A bit disconcerting and I was hoping to not be at the back (although Hardmoors always have several sweepers running so you’ll never really be at the back, and certainly not on your own). My husband and I had decided to run together for this race – and just enjoy rather than racing for once. I felt I really needed it to clear my head after all of the rubbish that had been going on.
The start is a short, fast, downhill section of road and then onto a track steadily heading downhill. I just tried to find some kind of rhythm and settle in to the run but I was happy to get off the road as I much prefer trail running. A left turn through a gate (with a club mate as marshal and photographer!) and we began an undulating section including some steps, which were definitely a sign of things to come, following the beck. I loved this section even though it was rough – trees, water, mud – perfect running!
Mallyan Spout….. Not many 10ks include scrambling over the rocks at the bottom of a waterfall! This is probably where I was at my most uncomfortable – worried about slipping, ending up in the water etc etc ! It did mean that I forgot to look up at the waterfall, which is beautiful, but I made it to the other side without incident. Another left turn and we went straight up the hill! This was steps all the way up and steep and all the way up I was cursing not doing more hill / step training. It was hard. The steps were all very very muddy and just keeping upright was fairly difficult, but make it to the top we did. The photo was taken just at the top, where it had started to level out a little bit, but no where near enough to start running. A very mean place to have a photographer!
We then headed away from Goathland again moving from grass to heather and mud. The going became harder here, trying to follow sheep tracks that were littered with rocks hidden in the heather.
The route is marked by occasional yellow tape / flags, but you have to keep your wits about you to make sure you don’t go off track too far – once or twice I was too busy looking at my feet and when I did eventually look up I had to alter my course to get back on track. A fast, slippy, difficult decent found us flying into the first check point laughing at each other and having a thoroughly good time. The offerings at the check point are the best I’ve ever known (water, coke, sweets, food……) and it is also the first race I’ve stopped for a drink and a chat!
Shortly after the first checkpoint was where the 10k route split from the other distances and we headed across the moor. I’d thought the going might be better up here, but it wasn’t. We were running a few steps and then getting stuck in more mud, running a few steps, walking again and repeat. Lots of times I was up to my ankles in bogs and my husband sank to his knee once! This was hard work but enjoyable at the same time.
Photos courtesy of Sports Sunday – the first time I’ve ever bought race photo’s but I loved these.
Another marshal point and the final left turn to head back across the moor to Goathland. Finally heading down so the mud and heather turned into firmer grass which meant we could finally push on and run the majority of the time. It is a fast finish back on tarmac through the village and the clock is stopped when you enter the village hall and your number taken.
Total distance – 7.66 miles
Finishing time – 01:41:06
Bling: Tshirt and medal
Will I be back? Definitely! This was fun, we laughed the majority of the way round and are already looking at other 10ks in the Hardmoors series and it has confirmed my love of trail running.