Saturday, 23 February 2013

Hardmoors Osmotherly Marathon 2013 (not)

Hardmoors 26.2 Osmotherley Marathon-  27.5 miles, 4000ft ascent

Well not the Hardmoors marathon really as I was marshalling. I would have dearly loved to have run the race and for that matter possibly one of the best road races in England, the Keswick/Buttermere round, a 34K  on the same day. (and lets face it i rarely do road so it must be good). However ,with some luck on the injury side of things and a fair wind I’ll be I’m doing all the Hardmoors Ultra series this year and I’ll be relying on the volunteers for them so I thought it only right I do my time so to speak. Mind, not that I haven’t before; I’ve helped marshal loads of races and even been a stand in Race Director for the Hardmoors 55. But as I said I thought it only right to help Marshal this one.

26.2 (well actually 27.5 but nobody was charged for the extra). Oh and this was taken on the course the day before ) 

That said, I did still want to run the course at some point if I could and I’d originally said I’d help mark the course the day before with Jon and Garry. I’d told Jon to put me where it was tough to get to and I’ll mountain bike or hike to the point. I’d done the same to marshal the North east marathon club Kielder marathon a couple of years ago. As it happened Jon had decided to start marking the course with Steve W on the Wednesday and I had the day off. He’d told me where my marshal point was but I really wasn’t sure so this would be an ideal way to suss it out and get some lovely moors miles in.

It didn’t quite work out like that.

Steve and Jon 

The snow and winds hit halfway into our run and the freezing temperature was soon many degrees below in with the wind-chill. After 21 miles and getting blown off the tops we called it a day completely missing the out and back section that was my marshal point!  

Me on a lower section (Scarth Moor)  you can't really tell what a blizzard and cutting wind it was. 

If that weather had hit on the Sunday the race would have been cancelled so we were a bit lucky there.

So back on the Saturday to do the rest and a few more besides (Jon ,Garry & Dave C were out till very late making sure it was all marked) .

The out and back is about 6-7 miles starts coming off the heights of Carlton Bank down the twisting turning rocky path , up  and down Green bank  and up Kirkby bank. This is where I was stationed, in a saddle if you like between Kirkby and Clay banks (wainstones). Once at the far end (clay bank) where  David H & his better half were marshalling  the runners come all the way back (past me again at mile 14 & 19 appprox) ) but taking the low path.(imagine two parallel lines up ,outward over the tops and back on the low track.) You’d think this low track was easier but I had more folk saying how tough it was due to the snow melt and deep mud than anything else. So even the easy route was tough!

I got to the Village Hall start early on the sunday and chatted with Dave & Mel and loads of other runners. I do wonder about my memory though. So many runners seem to know me and I’m quite offer at a loss to place them ! The registration went well and well over 180 runners for the 10 K, Half and Marathon. Pretty good I think for a tough race in its first year.  Kelly Jackson was in attendance as well and she’s become a godsend with the results at these races, not to mention her local knowledge in the 110M and 60M

On the midweek runs the question of the fastest runner came up.  Jon reckoned that 3:45 would be the fastest possible and we all more or less agreed. Truth is we didn’t expect anyone to break 4 hours. With this in mind I was able to see them all of and then drove the half hour journey to the nearest bit of road I could find. Got parked up about I guess half a mile away and picked up my rucksack. Although there was meant to be no refreshments at my point I’d popped to Tesco and bought three two litre bottles of coke and another three 2l of water along with a load of flapjacks and Biscuits. Heck it was heavy and as I was in the saddle between two good hills I hadn’t quite realised how long it would take me to get up there.  Anyway I tried to pick a place I could see the runners coming of Kirby bank and the returning runners could also see me.

My point. The runners come down that ridge behind . 

Just about as soon as I’d put my pack down I couldn’t believe my eyes and a runner was flying down the bank! The winner won in 3:34 . Heck i can't do that on a flat road marathon never mind a rocky trail marathon with 4000ft of tough climbing ! Some amazing folk out there.

View from Kirby bank. I'm about where you see the snow drift against the wall bend round twards the woods. This is the bank the runners come down towards me.

2nd runner through Daves checkpoint at the furthest out point of the out and back. 

From that moment I hardly had any time (and there was me thinking I’d be a bit bored when waiting for the slower runners to pass!)   

Anyway to cut a long story short, (I know it’s not but this is for my records not your enjoyment so shut it:-) ) it all went very well with lots of happy smiling and exhausted runners coming past and very few DNF’s. The coke and water that wasn’t meant to be there was drank to the last drop and my coffee I’d brought in a flask to boot!  Something we will have to think about next year.  
Hell we were lucky with the weather as well. Cold but with beautiful sunshine. 
Race T 

By all accounts the 10k and half went just as well (with my friend Mel taking third lady prize in the half ) which bodes well for the other 4 in the series which are :

Sunday 17th February
Sunday 14th April
Sunday 16th June
Sunday 11th August
Saturday 9th November
Race Medal

Hopefully I’ll get to run one of them but I’m not really a counter of Marathons so I’ll probably help out again and make do with running it the previous day if possible.It's also nice to have another 15 races around the beautiful North York moors and not to far form home. :-)


  1. Nice of you to lug that stuff up for the runners :-)

  2. Nice one, Flip. Further proof that hill / ultra marshalls are the greatest and a reminder that I ought to find a race to volunteer for.