I travelled up with Lucas and Kathryn, setting off at 5:00 am for an 8.00 am start which was delayed by about 15 mins. he wind and rain were relentless apart from the occasional sheltered sections. There were just short of 500 entered but not sure how many actually started. Lucas made a fast start whilst I knew I had to go steady as my fitness wasn’t up to scratch and not fully recovered from my Spine Race. There was no let up in the weather which was predominantly head on or side on until just before dark when the skies cleared a little, which led to the temperature dropping. I found the going very tough indeed and seemed to lack strength to run at my normal pace. I walked and jogged in intervals where I could. The wind made it feel like driving with the hand brake on and dangerous in places where there were tricky descents with some sections were extremely sticky and slippery with all the rain making it muddy.
About 20 miles in I saw Kathryn who told me Lucas had retired and I did consider it myself as I was struggling and also had cramps. I decided to plod on and after 31 miles, I was relieved when I got to Osmotherley Village Hall check point where I had a 30 minute stop to have noodles and rice pudding and fill up my water. There was still 22 miles to go, but fortunately the going was easier in places allowing me to make better pace, but not the pace I would normally be capable of.
From Kildale I seemed to be constantly being passed by other runners. Normally I find my space and can hold it. I reached White Horse check point just after dark (bottom of Sutton Bank) where Angela had come to meet me and she had brought a flask of hot chocolate which was very welcome, although I have to say I was so tired and demoralised I was tempted to jump in the car! Having come this far I decided to finish the job. It seemed a long 9 miles but I dug deep into my reserves to eventually finish in 13.31.05 (nearly 2 hours slower than last year).
I was convinced I was nearly last due to the number of runners who had passed me but looking at the results, I was 120th out of 287 finishers so not just as bad as I thought. When I finished, they told Angela that at already 114 had dropped out, Lucas being one of them but not because of the weather but knee and cramp problems.
After finishing it took me a while to come round. I had some food, a shower and changed then we set off home. As we came over the top of Sutton Bank, probably near two hours after I finished, there were stillrunners crossing the road with 8 miles to go, which makes you realise just how spread out we all were. I am always determined but yesterday’s race certainly tested me and my waterproofs!
So to be frank I messed up somewhat.
Firstly I have had a knee issue which I was rather hoping would not hamper my progress.
Secondly, we all knew the weather was going to be awful - very windy and wet, so kit choice was tricky. I opted for loads of layers including leggings and over trousers. I set off at a reasonable pace but simply got so hot it was impossible not to take clothing off. So the heavy waterproof leggings were popped in my backpack, I felt liberated and quick once again. The trouble was that I got utterly soaked to the skin, leggings, undies, merino wool base layer, the lot - then I was so cold that my teeth were chattering out of control. My form disappeared and my knee was getting worse. I knew at that point that it was utterly foolish to carry on. I could not have even walked those extra 34 miles.
So I pulled out which was hard because I smashed the ‘Beast from The East’ weather last year. I have to say though that heavy wind and rain was tougher than freezing cold as per last year.
I got changed which took ages then went for fish and chips, followed by supporting John. It was a lovely change to be honest.
All in all not a good day, the take from would have to be this:
Wear shorts and light tops, pack all your dry gear up for later when the pace drops and the miles add up, It’s the only way to keep warm and dry.