I ran the Three Tops Fell Race once before in 2006 and a quick look at my time indicated that 70 minutes or thereabouts would be a half decent performance.
Driving through Nunthorpe the sky was very busy with swathes of smoky low cloud but also gaps of blue sky. There had just been a heavy shower but it was drying up and as I drove along the Bypass I could see the North York Moors and the triangular crag of Roseberry Topping still covered in low white cloud. There was quite a big field assembling at Guisborough Rugby Club and the race started a little late. I got up into the forest near the front but stumbled and fell in a heap like a drunk on a Saturday night.
If you see a runner go down, it's fell running etiquette to ask if the fallen athlete is 'OK?' as you step over him, and two runners asked after me as they passed and I picked myself up and continued up through the slippy needle covered woodland slope, hands on knees.
There were plenty of orange vested Wetherby runners in the top 10 and as we came out of the wood onto the moors I was around 13th.
A York Acorn runner was just behind and every so often his dark shadow crept up on the ground immediately in front of me. The stone paths were very slippy and at least one Durham runner went down clutching his ankle. I asked after him as I passed, and he assured me he was 'fine'.
The low cloud formed a white mist which would have made for some great photos had I had my (proper) camera. Just before the ascent up to Roseberry, I thought my watch had come off, so I stopped and retraced my steps for 20 or 30 seconds before I realised it was caught up in my bumbag.
Two runners including York Acorn passed by as I fannied and dithered around the thick sedge grass. Roseberry was reached and I took it easy coming down, losing a place to a NYM, but I soon caught and passed him before being passed myself on the next climb by a man with a pointy hat (see picture below).
I tracked him to the next checkpoint, back along the trees and then up the last long drag on wet peaty tracks to the final checkpoint. As the landscape opened up I saw a group of seven about 40 seconds up ahead and it would have been nice to catch them , but today that was only in my dreams. I lost pointy-hat through the trees as the route took us down through the last leg of the Guisborough Woods Fell race, only to see him around 5 seconds in front at the bottom. However, by this time two other guys were haring after me and I had enough energy to horse down the last track full-pelt to land in 75 minutes and around 16th.
Didn't wait around for tea and medals and even though this was quite a bit slower than last time, I felt I had a better run and guess the wet conditions added around 2 or 3 minutes for most folk. I haven't seen the results yet but Sanderson of NFR probably won.
(photos already on Dave Aspins site. Results in few days at Esk Valley site)