This kind of event isn’t something I would normally do but with my Equinox 24 hour challenge coming up in less than two months I needed to do a run which is for a long time and beyond the normal marathon distance. This event also took my fancy as it was fairly local, only being in Yorkshire and hosted by my friend Diane. I do like to support her events which always have a small number of runners and are very friendly. She has a range of different Yorkshire events throughout the year of varying distances from 10k up to ultras all coming under the banner of “It’s Grim Up North Running”. Have a look something might suit you:-
The route for this event was an out back affair along the river Ure starting at the village green in the picturesque Yorkshire village of Masham. The course was only 3.3 miles long, runners could run as many laps as they wished, common numbers of laps run were 4 for a half marathon or 8 for a full marathon. Usually I’d have gone for the latter but this time I planned to run for the full 6 hours with the hope of completing 12 laps.
The course started with a lap of the green before following a narrow path between a typical English village cricket ground and the river. It then went through a little wood and over a wooden styal. For the first half dozen laps I breezed over the styal but as the laps continued the styal seemed to get higher and higher. By lap 10 it felt like an 8 foot wall! The course then followed a lane for a short while before running along a dusty path along the edge of a wheat field again next to the river. The wheat field looked very pretty with the almost fully grown wheat and a sprinkling of flowering poppies.
After the field we slid down a sharp bank and into a very pleasant bit of woodland whilst still following the river. The dappled shade was welcomed when the warm sun was out. We popped out of the wood to cross a minor road and into a field with the most thistles I’ve ever seen. Luckily the path through the field was wide enough you could easily avoid the thistles. Each time I was in the field I was greeted by six lovely white horses which I was relieved didn’t want to get too close to us runners. At the far end of the field was the turn round point and we had to do everything in reverse back to the village green.
The course was certainly very lovely, showing off some beautiful Yorkshire countryside. It was very flat so you would have thought it was a fast easy course. This wasn’t the case. Lots of the paths were very narrow meaning you had to slow down to pass other users and runners. It was also very lumpy and awkward under foot. This meant you had to concentrate all the time where to put your feet so you didn’t trip. This can get very tiring both mentally and physically after being on your feet for several hours.
The day started off sunny but cool, this didn’t last very long as it warmed up, making the first 4 hours rather warm before clouding over and cooling off a bit. This warm weather coupled with the awkwardness of the course tired me more than I was expecting so for the last 2 hours my pace dropped and my goal to complete 12 laps went out of reach. This wasn’t too much of a problem I still completed 11 laps which was 36.5 miles in 5 hours 50 minutes so most importantly I complete the time goal.
Thanks Diane for a tough but lovely, friendly event again and a nice medal of the white Yorkshire rose. I’m already looking forward to coming back in November for another Grim up North event.
During the Equinox 24 I hope to run 100 miles so to complete over a third of this distance in a quarter of the time gives me the boost I needed before the event. I still realise I have 4 times as much to do at the Equinox 24 and it is going to be incredibly tough far beyond anything I’ve done before. Still I’m very excited about this challenge as well as the most nervous in a very long time.