In typical Hardmoors fashion I loaded the camper with wife and dog and set off to stay a little way from the town of Osmotherly in a place called Boroughbridge. Much of this was due to Osmotherly being such a
small town that parking is very difficult and the very kind offer of a lift via facebook from another member of the Hardmoors family that I had never met. True to his word he picked me up at 7-30 am accompanied by his friend whom was running the half marathon. The talk soon got down to running and James transpired to be a sub 20 min park runner. This worried me somewhat but I thought better of it knowing that this was his 3rd ultra event and that the Yorkshire moors is an unforgiving place for speed merchants! However I was giving him 20 years on me and the worry I had was that he would be finished packed up and gone home by the time I hit mile 20 and thus leaving me a very difficult phone call to Nikki to collect me in the camper.
All checked in nice and quickly thanks to the wonderful smooth Hardmoors team and a chance to catch up with a few of my fellow sufferers I know from previous events whom have become like family thanks’ to the wonderful internet and Facebook allowing us to keep each other up to date with our achievements / failures. It was great to see Emily again whom I had began running the tour de Helvellyn (TDH) with when I sadly badly turned my ankle leaving her and a fellow marathon friend Jason to continue alone.
That brings me to the Injury list- Firstly when running the TDH I had a nightmare when my ankle rolled over nothing more than a stone at 5 miles resulting in me having to limp back to the start. The swelling was quite immense and despite the ice and Arnica cream the cure took at least a week before I could run again. Judging by the photos at the time that was pretty good progress. Just as I got back to fitness and a training exercise of running the Anglesey mara followed the next day by the Four Villages half marathon disaster struck again. Whilst out on the fabulous striders torchlight night runs I literally stepped off a style and with a loud crack had gone over on my other ankle!!.
With Jason helping me back to my car I could only think that Paris and London marathons would be in jeopardy. This time the ankle appeared worse and unable to walk on it I wondered if my skiing holiday the following week could take place. I therefore went with the game plan of xray to make sure nothing was broken, Rest Ice Compression and no exercise. I done this for a complete 10 days which hurt and I felt put any future running in serious doubt. The day I went skiing I managed a 3 mile run and the ankle was painful. On returning from skiing I got back on the road with some painkillers, ice after runs and general training with the help of some long club runs and some hill work on Monday nights as well as the odd run with my neighbour and club member Jan.
This led me to the start line of the Osmotherly marathon wondering if I had it in me to succeed and to actually get around. I contemplated dropping to the half but knew if I done the half and felt well then I would regret not doing the full. The half on its own is 18 miles and the 10 k came in at 8 miles in typical Hardmoors fashion.
Following the briefing we set off on our way and on this occasion I had a secret weapon. This was a new pair of Inov8 ultra trail shoes. These I was promised would offer me comfort and grip and considering there was a fair bit of snow around on the hills and much of the run over big paving slabs I lived in hope. Following the start I felt fairly comfortable as we hit one small of many many climbs that would appear. The route this year had been changed slightly with one reason in mind and that being the race director wanted to make it harder than the last few years. This meant that the race would basically go uphill and then uphill some more. In total there was just short of 5000ft of climb over the mileage with over 5000ft of decent according to my garmin.
The route remained beautiful throughout with the normal stunning scenery that just makes me want to go back for some more and more and more. I was very lucky on this occasion to run with a local chap that I had met several times before who was able to give me a guided tour of every single beauty spot on the course. That type of resource you can’t buy and I felt really privileged especially with all the local knowledge shown to me by him.
At approximately 15 miles climbing up probably the biggest hill of the day, my lift came past me. He was about 6ft 2 so his long legs helped him pull away from me on the climbs and that was the last I was to see of James until the end. As we passed every friendly encouraging marshal the miles got eaten up. I could feel my ankle and knew it was injured but it was nothing more than uncomfortable. As we cut through the very last path to find the Village hall and finish appear I felt shear elation that I was back running not just a marathon again but a Hardmoors marathon amongst friends.
Luckily for me James was just 14 mins ahead of me and my time of 7 hours was quite pleasing as I knew this would mean I could have a lift home.
Till next time, keep plodding.
For more information visit the race website.