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Hardmoors 55 Ultra Trail race

22/03/2014

Last Saturday 22nd March saw the 5th edition of the Hardmoors 55 Ultra trail race. Seb Pflanz, who was participating for the first time, was DRC's sole representative at the event... Seb reported as follows...

The 54 mile route takes competitors from Guisborough in Teesside to Helmsley, following part of the Cleveland Way in the North York Moors National Park. Along the route, which is predominantly on well marked trails and high level tracks, competitors visit the distinctive Roseberry Topping, Round Hill, the highest point in the North York Moors, Wainstones, Carlton Moor, the pretty village of Osmotherly and then turning south along the stunning eastern escarpment to Sutton Bank and along to White Horse. After a punishing climb up the steep steps – not what you need with 45 miles in your legs – the remainder of the route is predominantly downhill through farmland to the finish in Helmsley.

Conditions were good for running, the wind was less than the forecast 45 mph gusts, and apart from a heavy snow/hail shower early afternoon runners were treated to plenty of sunshine and superb visibility; the “most beautiful view in England” (as described by Turner) between Sutton Bank and White Horse certainly lived up to its name in a stunning sunset.The race was won by Belgian Bert Goos in a new course record of 8 hrs 9 mins, followed by Dan Anderson and Matty Brennan; the female winner was Charmaine Horsfall in 8 hrs 59 mins, again setting a new course record, followed by Shelli Gordon and Joanna Rae.

Seb started his race cautiously, since he knew little of the route and had not managed as many long training runs as intended. His pacing paid off and he felt well in the latter stages of the race, completing the route in 10 hrs 51 mins in 58th place overall and 8th in the MV50 class. In all 170 of the 199 who started completed the race, the last coming in just before 1 am on Sunday, in 15 hrs 43 mins.

Having participated in the Highland Fling – a race with almost identical stats (53 miles, 2,700 m climb) – on 5 occasions Seb can certainly recommend the Hardmoors 55 for anyone looking for a different route over a similar distance. The Hardmoors series has much in common with the West Highland Way series, but has been in existence for a much shorter time and is, at present, at least, less well known. The “Signature Event”, the Hardmoors 110, has been run since 2008, following the entire Cleveland Way (it is actually 113 miles long); the 55, 60 and 30 have been added since. Race series organiser Jon Steele has added the ultimate ultra this year – the Hardmoors 160, which starts with the Tabular Hills route from Scarborough to Helmsley before joining the Cleveland Way, aptly named the “Ring of Steele”. Seb is hoping to complete the Hardmoors Grand Slam this year, which consists of the 30 on New Year’s day (which he ran with Craig Malcolmson), the 55, the 110 on May 24th and finally the 60 on September 20th.

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