Hardmoors 55 – 22/03/14

Position, 59th, 170 finishers. 10h 53m 30s
Total Distance: 86.9km (approx. 54 miles)
Total Ascent: approx. 2700m (approx. 8860ft)

In reality
… I completed it which in the context of my 3 aims (completion, completion under 10hours, completion under 10hours within the top 5%) is the least satisfactory but when compared to my past attempts (2012 Did Not Finish, 2013 Did Not Start) is a great success.

The Hardmoors 55 route - North to South
The Hardmoors 55 route – North to South

The day started with an overnight in Helmsley and 6am coach to Guisborough for the 9am start. The weather was always predicted to be unsettled and indeed proved to be so with hail, rain, heavy cloud and warm sun in mixed and changing durations. This informed my choice of running wear (though everything I wore was part of a mandatory kit list), leggings, merino top and waterproof jacket.

Toeing the line I did my usual hang-back and with the off kept my pace low though this was also a product of tiredness. Acutely aware of my reasons for dropping out in 2012 (too fast: in 4-5th at mile 22, major drop-off in pace between 22-42 miles and pulling out at 42 miles) I maintained a pace I thought I could maintain and achieve a sub-10hour time (10min 55secs per mile pace).

During chats with other runners it was estimated at points I was running a 9 minute mile, so that at Kildale (after 12 miles) I was running at 8mins 50secs while by Osmotherley (32 miles) my pace was at 10 and half minutes per mile. From this point onwards, for the last 22 miles, my pace slowed to an average of just over 14 minutes. All told this gave a race pace average of just under 12 minutes per mile.

To put this within perspective of of my other 2 aims to finish under 10 hours I needed to average a 10:55 min/mile pace and to finish in the top 5% (170 finishers so the top 9), I needed to average a 10:10 min/mile. In this race I was neither a racer or even a runner just a finisher.

Descending from Roseberry Topping
Descending from Roseberry Topping

It was in the last 22 miles that I started to hit a serious energy low – you aren’t eating enough to keep up the pace which amusingly makes you less hungry! I found I was getting sick of my jellies and realise that I need variety in my race food. From the drop-bag point at Helmsley I found my self needing food that was more than just a sugary cube or gel. I found myself wolfing down rice pudding, sausage rolls and caramel slices. Yes, it sat on my stomach taking longer to digest but it was ultimately more palatable.

Night had fallen by the time I came in to the Town Hall at Helmsley, to be applauded by those already there and my girlfriend with our sleeping daughter. Legs tired and heart weary I am ultimately glad I’ve managed to finish.

Well done though to ALL those who started, tried and/or finished…

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