Driving up to Chop Gate on Sunday morning was a mix of beautiful blue skies followed by mist and dropping temperatures. It was only 6.30am so plenty of time for the Sun God to do its thing.
A number of you had the pleasure of parking in the farmer's field next to Chop Gate Village Hall last year. What an experience that was. I'm not sure what was harder, the race or extracting your car from a field that had been subject to several days of North Yorkshire's liquid gold. How different this year was.
The familiar faces of the Hardmoors regulars were all in evidence at registration as we picked our numbers up. 8am soon came round and off we went, a mad 100m dash to the stile and the steep ascent of Trennet Bank, a sure fire way to warm up those quads and calf muscles.
We had Middleton and Bouderba representing the club. Come what may I was as confident as I could be that both of us would get round.
The last few months has cast me into a different view of the Hardmoors world. I've been happy to complete up until this year but a bit of weight loss and a bit more training later and competing has started to feature. There's still a number of good quality runners in these events, those with years of experience of the hills and just as important, a sound ability to navigate the courses and look after themselves.
We got to the top of Trennet Bank and I was tucked safely in the lead group amongst an overall field of 117. A nice bit of flat and downhill followed as we made our way to the first checkpoint at Scugdale before picking up the Cleveland Way for a short spell heading towards Scarth Nick. 10K came and went and I was still very much in the lead pack of 5.
Checkpoint 2 at Square Corner marked the 16K point and we picked up the Cleveland Way again, heading off through Osmotherley and the lung busting climbs out of the village back onto the territory that those of you who took part in the recent Swainby Sweep will be familiar with. Namely the lovely steep steps down to Limekiln Lane where you go as quick as you dare!
It was just before then that I picked up a friend. A little four legged friend. A sheepdog trotting along the path decided to adopt me and with no owner in sight I had some company. The lead pack of 4 had long since disappeared, their ascending skills far stronger than mine and I'd lost them for good. Still in 5th place though, me and Shep trotting along in each other's company.
A mile later, Shep's owner turned up on a quad bike and I'd lost my mate as quick as I'd found him. Back we went through Scugdale again and then the real race started. The 3 Sisters. Sheer beauty but sheer purgatory. The Sun was out in force, the views were just outstanding. Shirley who organises these races said to me later, if heaven was a place on earth then this was it.
Still in 5th place at 30K but the Sisters were taking their toll and I started to lose a few places as the climbs and descents did their business. The final checkpoint at Clay Bank car park offered a much needed opportunity to restock my depleted liquid stores and get some lovely full fat coke onboard for the last big climb ahead. The behind me, we headed off across Urra Moor and then the last descent back into Chop Gate.
What a day, 5600 ft of ascent across 17 climbs and 44K. I wasn't sure what my finishing place was until the results came out. I'd slipped to 12th place but only 15 minutes separated me from 6th place. More than happy with that.
610 miles in the bag for the 1000 mile club (you get your own running number at that point), happy with that as well until you realise that Dee has about a gazillion miles and yes, as predicted, she finished as well and chalked up yet another trail marathon.
It's now Tuesday morning, Taddy 10K is less than 12 hours away and my quads aren't happy! My friend the foam roller is coming out again once I've written this. It won't get me ready for tonight but I wouldn't have missed Sunday for the world. A day out breathing in God's medicine otherwise known as fresh air is a beautiful thing. I love my Hardmoors days and I love the Moors. We live in the best place.
Good luck to everyone running in Taddy this evening. Remember this one is a 7.30pm start so no mad dash home from work hopefully.
Our trophies have just arrived for the awards night at Spark on the 20th May. They look amazing and are ready to meet their new owners. Make sure the date is in your diary.
Check out our new updated club shop page for details of how to order our official club t-shirts and vests. You can order direct from our supplier, Sprinters (who have also supplied the Awards night trophies) and all shirts cost £14 plus post and packing. The link to the shop is below, just click on the button at the bottom of the page and it will take you straight to Sprinters website.
If you fancy another 10K this weekend then it looks like entries are still open for the Fountains 10K near Ripon.
Later in the month there's a fabulous looking event near York. I say near York, it could be anywhere near York. It's The Drop. Take a look and figure out how well you know York before entering!
Last but not least, here's the parkrun roundup from the weekend. Our Postal parkrunners were on a real tour of the UK. We'd got these boys heading North to watch a 10 goal thriller in Scotland, diverting to Penrith on the way. They clearly made a good impression as we had an email from the local Event Director afterwards. Shively, Raddall and Ellwood will be wondering what they did. Don't worry chaps, the Penrith team have told me it was nice to welcome you and you'll be welcome back anytime. That was from Peter Fawkes who tells me he was a member of the York Postal Race Walking team in the 70s.
As you will see, an abundance of examples of events competing for longest parkrun name in the world.
Ancholme Valley Way parkrun
2nd Dom Carter 18.02
4th Jim Carter 18.58
7th Andy Heather 20.50
11th Jon Davies 21.36
50th Alex Davis 25.38
Ashbourne Recreation Ground parkrun
93rd Di Campbell 29.42
Conyngham Hall parkrun
9th Danny Clayton 22.47
45th Amanda Clark 26.48
Flatts Lane parkrun
21st Karen Travis 34.03
141st Dave Johnson 28.40
177th Amy Johnson 30.40
Lytham Hall parkrun
24th Jamie Butler 23.34
43rd Robert Butler 25.33
New Earswick parkrun
3rd Ben Briffaud 20.47
30th Bill Shively 21.35
86th Andy Ellwood 24.49
125th Phil Raddall 26.39
Tamar Trails parkrun
4th Patrick Hough 21.32
Woodhouse Moor parkrun
2nd Jordan Howe 16.32
143rd Simon Middleton 24.07
144th Harriet Sleight 24.07
216th Kev Armstrong 26.08
312th Jackie MItchell 28.28
Well done as always fellow Postal Harriers. Look forward to seeing our massed ranks again this evening. Taddy here we come!