Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

August 16, 2011

22nd Hanging Stone Leap, 24 Miles, 13 Aug 2011

After a hiatus from marathons to do some adventure racing this summer, I was happy to finally fit another long LDWA run into my schedule.  The Hanging Stone Leap didn't disappoint, with a route across the North Yorkshire Moors taking in some of the best views of the area.

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
 Back on the Cleveland Way, we then had to do a short out and back to the Hanging Stone, where I took a second to stand on top of the graffitied stone and peer over the edge.  Our last major climb (short but steep) took us up to Roseberry Topping, where the views where outstanding in all directions.  Ships out on the harbor were clearly visible, and the stone outcropping begged for a picnic lunch and a long rest stop.  I contented myself with a few Jelly Babies and a much welcomed refill of water, as I had been rationing my last few sips for miles.  Thanks to the volunteers who carried up the water jug to the checkpoint! 

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!

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