As the elite, club runners and fun runners stretched and imagineered their personal battle at the start line, I was, let's say 'taking in the view' elsewhere. As I passed the start line, organiser Dave Parry shouted 'you're 27 seconds down already'... It's a fell race, though, so it's about the placings not the time; right? at least that's what I thought as I made may way up Claybank past some of the backmarkers.
I did the Claybank West (5.5 miles, 1000ft of ascent on the edge of the North York Moors) 4 years ago and really enjoyed it. Its all on trail with easy gradients with only a little scrambling at one point.
I had my work cut out as I tried to claw back the lost time. There was a moderate breeze and some drizzle which together with the ponded water on the sandstone flags made for a Bon Jovi experience (slippery when wet-I know, show me the tumbleweeds). It didn't take much working out that the best route was the intermittent grassy track next to the flagstones and toward the end I passed a York Acorn and then a Wetherby runner. However, the next lad from NYM and whom I was gaining on was a little too far in front. Despite my best efforts to reel him in on the woodland track near the end, I finished just behind him at around 36.40 and 11th, also a little behind Minister (DFR) and well behind Steve Baldwin (Scarborough) who I beat earlier in the season at Mulgrave. It was still a good enough run though for a crate of Guinness at the prize-giving which was, as ever, very generous and puts many a road race to shame. Speke of Dark Peak won from a embattled Will Horsley(NFR). Caroline Pollared won the womens event from New Marske ladies Gordon and Neesam.