Hardmoors Trail Marathon – Saltburn-By-The-Sea
It’s all Davina’s fault!
Sitting near her on the Blaydon bus I allowed myself to be charmed into entering the Hardmoors Trail Marathon(s). Thanks to me falling for her persuasive words, instead of sitting in front of the telly with a glass (or 3) of wine in my hand, I was slogging up and down steep, muddy hills in the teeming rain. The first one, Rosedale, was tough (see Iain’s report) but was only a precursor to this one!
Starting at Saltburn-by-the-sea Leisure Centre, the first couple of miles was a pleasant run through a large public garden before making our way down to the harbour and climbing up a large number of steps onto the cliff path (Cleveland Way). For the next 4 miles we followed this path, up and down (mainly up) before turning inland and heading back in the direction we set out from. It was during this section that Brad Clough came flying past on route to his superb 3rd place in the half marathon.
As I reach the decision point (half or full), the heavens opened and the sensible option was to cut short and do the half. So naturally we both went for the full and headed off towards the Guisborough forest. The only thing worse than running in the rain is running through woods in the rain. The underfoot conditions were getting slippery by now. A check-point was reached and the trail turned back on itself onto what was described as a ‘long, and very steep climb to the high point’ (Highcliffe Nab). Davina later said that she thought that rock climbing was going to be necessary – it was that steep.
From there the route headed off towards the moors and the mist came down to make it more ‘atmospheric’ It was soon after this, on a drop down from the moors that the ‘mud slide’ was encountered. Difficult to describe this without seeing it but, to give an idea, I stopped running only to find myself sliding down the hill through the mud and, on deciding that it would be safer to walk through a large puddle rather than risk slipping over, found it to be nigh on knee deep.
Soon back to civilisation and the comfort of the Leisure Centre and the first of many cups of tea. I decided that the gentlemanly thing to do would be to go back out on the course and cheer Davina on but, as it was raining even heavier by now, I didn’t!
We both finished tired, muddy and looking like drowned rats but with a smile on our faces – it was great fun! Will I do it again? Only an idiot would return .......so roll on next year.