Right, now I've got that out of my system. I can tell you about the race. As you might be able to tell from my subtle comments above, this was my first ultra marathon. I entered it on a bit of a whim, following a suggestion from +Mike Wells. He had been suggesting I run an ultra for a while and thought it would be a good one for my first. After all, it was only a 'baby ultra' at 30 miles!
As soon as I had entered and started receiving the race communications, I knew I had chosen the right race for my first ultra. The emails from (race organiser) Kerry, were informative, fun and friendly. I just knew this was going to be a great event.
I must admit to not taking my preparations for this race too seriously. Other than the Worksop Half one week before, none of my runs following the Berlin Marathon had been much above 6 miles. I was assured, again by Mike, that I would be fine and that the ultra would be 'easier' than the marathon. Certainly the promise of a feed station every 5 miles with cake and tea suggested a more leisurely pace!
On the lead up to the race, I was fairly relaxed about the challenge. However, as race day neared and I spoke to more people about it (mostly non-runners), I started to grow a bit more apprehensive and not so blasé about the challenge ahead. I also didn't realise how early ultra's started. I would need to get up at 4am to give myself enough time to drive to Huddersfield and get registered in time for the 8am start. This was sounding like a tough day already!
|Tracy, Mike, Andrew and Catherine at race HQ|
Just before 8am Kerry gave the race briefing and were then led into the village for the race start. A final few words from Kerry and the horn sounded and we were off. Prior to the race I'd been promised that we would be walking the hills. Well, the race started up a fairly steep incline which everyone shot up like a rocket! I think it was the 'Pavlovic' response us runners have to the sound of a bell/horn/gun and the pent-up enthusiasm associated with the start of a race. Before long though everyone had settled into their own groups and natural pace. The early part of the race was bright if blustery and it felt great to be moving at last. The views, even really early on in the race, were spectacular and, I hoped, a sign of what was to come.
Any thoughts that this might have been easy had been dispelled quite early on in the race (quite how I thought running 30 miles was going to be easy, I am now not quite sure!). It was evident that this race was going to be 'Yorkshire Tough'. The weather can play a huge part in any race and certainly during an ultra, where you are out for longer and often in a more exposed landscape. In the early part of the race we saw a bit of rain but it always moved over quite quickly, largely down to the fairly strong winds. The upside was that we dried out quickly and were treated to lots of rainbows!