Thursday, September 24, 2015

Hardmoors 60 race report – 19 September 2015

Hardmoors 60 race report – 19 September 2015
A beautiful day welcomed runners to the start of the Hardmoors 60 on Saturday 19th September. The race is 62 miles long with 3,500 metres of ascent and mainly follows the route of the second half of the Cleveland Way. It starts in Guisborough and goes up to Saltburn before running down the coast of the North York Moors National Park to end in Filey. There are no particularly high points on the route but many smaller hills, including lots of alternating cliff tops and bays, so lots of steps up and steps down.
The camaraderie in the Hardmoors ultras is great. Runners help each other out with route finding, food and drink; the marshalls are really upbeat and helpful; and the support teams that some runners have are also often kind. I didn’t use a support team in the race but, as I’m vegan and have a dodgy heart that can play up if my blood sugar drops, race organizer Jon Steele had kindly arranged to have my food and sports drink transported to each of the checkpoints. I was strong over the first part of the course but struggled badly from about mile 30 to mile 42 because of dehydration that triggered cramp. This affected quite a few people on the day: although 20C is not that warm by most standards, it was warm enough to have an impact on a long day of running.
However, I was able to turn things around fairly well and finished just before dark in 11 hours 27 minutes in 11th place out of 195. It was my first race since May 2014 because of plantar fasciitis, so I was pleased to finish with my foot intact. Hopefully I’ve also – finally! – learnt two lessons on how to deal with hydration on warm days in ultras in the future: drink enough that you need to go to the toilet during the course of the run; and wear a wet cap to keep your head cool. Still, the result was good enough to put a smile on my face during the hard winter runs to come.
Neil Ford

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