Although it was raining most of the drive over to the start, the sun was shining by the time I parked my car. Save a short bit of mist coming down when the (theoretical) gun went off, the rest of the day was juuuust right. Not too warm or cold, clear air, a bit of breeze, and the sun peeking out through the clouds now and then. I even <gasp> ran in shorts...in the UK...in the summer! Still had arm warmers on though, can't be totally perfect...
A forest track started us off out of town, and then we took off into heather-covered moorland that to my amazement was blooming already. I always love running through the moors and the purple heather made it extra special. After 5 miles or so I started recognizing some landmarks, which was strange given that I had barely ever been to this area. Then I connected the dots and realized that I had done the Pathfinder 15 Challenge near here the previous October.
The now familiar route took us along a nice runnable moor track and down to the waterfall at Hob Hole. (Note to self: come back sometime to all these beautiful places to really get to enjoy them rather than quickly run by!) We then diverted onto a new route (for me), up and over a few more moors, where the steep climbs began to get a little tiring. However, I was happy to be sticking to my pace of about 5 mph and hoped I could sustain it all the way to the finish.
After the last stocked checkpoint in Kildale (where I forgot to fill up on water and regretted it for a few thirsty miles), we climbed up to Captain Cook's Monument. I regretted then leaving the camera at home, but saved time by not having to drag it out and take photos :)
|Photo gleefully borrowed from Wikipedia|
I knew it was all downhill from here, and pushed hard for the last 4 miles, first down through a forest and then along a disused railway track. The even footing let me make up some time I had lost on the slow uphills earlier in the moors. I finished the 23.5 mile route in 4 hours 50 minutes which was close enough to 5 mph that I was quite happy.
2011 Results are now here I was suprised and pleased to come in 17th out of 103 long course participants!