Imagine my surprise as I was heading to this race only to be stopped by two stern looking German WW2 Officers in full combat gear?! …Yes, complete with machine guns.
Luckily some US allies were knocking about smoking in a tent near Levisham Station and Anglo/US supremacy was soon restored. Yes it was “World War 2 weekend” and the enthusiasts were all dressed up, complete with authentic WW2 military jeeps and such like. Worth taking the family if you fancy distracting them when you take on the frenzy that is the Saltergate Gallows fell race.
Race on then. A charge up a fairly tame tarmac lane soon gave way to open moorland. Fast running on firm grassland with only a rather large highland cattle blocking the initially rapid progress. After the usual testing bursts from the other candidates I soon established the lead and ran with a group of 5 or 8 who were working hard but not flat out. The grassland and moors continued for some time before giving way to a technical descent on greasy, muddy stairs. A 50-odd foot steep drop into a ravine to the right made the situation more precarious and injected a level of caution to the proceedings.
Minutes later and after a few stiles, the route returned to the open tracks typical seen on our Round Hill route and three of our group got away. Damn! Tried to “bridge” to the group but wasted too much energy in doing so. This left the old legs full of lactic acid as we were then forced to climb some rather steep steps into a wood….not great timing by me really.
I was left to fight for fourth or fifth spot with a young Steve Cram, who proved to run as well as the real Crammy once did. (Yes I have run “against” Steve Cram in the Northern Relays one year – well actually he just ran past me at a rate of knots and all I really ever saw was a blur and his name in the printed programme – it could have been anyone).
The race goes on to visit the Hole of Horcum on the edge of the A169 road to Whitby. Quite a beautiful area, not that I saw much of it with my eyes seemingly bleeding as I tore after the youthful Cram look-a-like…… The run in from the Hole of Horcum was a flat, runnable track. Very boring and soul destroying when there are three miles of it and you don’t want to waste the previous eight miles of eyeballs out, hard work by conceding positions (particularly if you might be first Veteran, Old git).
I finished fifth and was delighted with the MV40 prize of three bottles of wine. Not that I’ll see any of them but allegedly it’s the takling part that counts and there may be less grief when I buy some decent beers in to help her digest the wine….
Now have I told you about when I bumped into Big Brendan Foster…..
Results from Esk Valley Fell Club here.