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Sunday 31st July – Castle Bolton Trail Race


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Report from Howard Jeffrey: For the last few years I have done the Leeds Grammar triathlon on the weekend of the ‘James Herriot Trail race’ at Castle Bolton but the organisers have given up to concentrate on other events. That meant of course that I could venture again 14K across the high moors in North Yorkshire. I was with Jacque so arrived a bit later than usual so was unable to warm up but I remembered the route was flat for the first half mile or so before turning up quite a steep hill. I lined up at the start with Phil Robinson and Tom Hannah and took the flat bit steady as the sun was out and it was quite warm. We turned off the tarmac onto the stony path that led up to the low part of the moor, where the sheep do graze. It was a tough, rutted and stony slope for about a quarter of a mile and it had some folks walking already. I remembered this bit so I had paced myself up to the brow. What I had not remembered was the false summit and it went on up for another half mile or so. Off the grassland and onto a stony track beyond the wall, surely it levels off there. No it does not, it carries on going up and up and into quite a strong fresh breeze which kept things deceptively cool. The sun was hot and I kept getting the hot prickles. Thankfully there were two scheduled water stations along the route and they had added a third which was necessary. We were still heading upwards when I looked at my watch at 18 minutes! At I guess about the 4K point the route turned downhill and you could let yourself freefall for about 2K. I descended with the brakes on though as the track was lumpy with a loose stony surface and a grass mound running in the middle with grass to the side. After that you hit the bottom of a hill steeper than the first and I was the only one attempting (glad I couldn’t see myself) to ‘run’ up it. I was just about able to keep pace with those who chose to walk but I had wanted to keep the rhythm going. Maybe half to three quarters of a kilometre and you get to the top. A similar descent to the one previously described brings you back to the lower slopes of the moor. You get a fabulous view across the valley and a glimpse of the castle in the distance where the finish line is. It is probably about 2 miles as the crow flies but they cynically turn you away back towards the hill and it seems to take forever to get back on the trail towards it. Eventually there is a nice stretch of reasonable track to the finish and I feel good enough to overhaul a seasoned fell runner in my age group which put me third I think. The race was won by Carl Bell of Keswick AC in 53.10, first lady was Michelle Nolan of RZH in 62.12. I was 57th in 71.02, Phil 151st in 85.20 and Tom 205th in 93.59. 257 finished Photo’s show runners snaking up the first hill and me and Phil at the finish, Tom not captured.

  1. #1 by Antonio Cardinale on August 3, 2016 - 9:23 pm

    I agree with you Howard , that on steep hill is best to carry on running although walking on it would be just the same if not not faster , because yes to keep the rhythm going but also it is good for the morale , I did the Beamsley Beacon at the Addingham Gala , I ran very slow to the very top all the way to Beamsley , although I was still the very last to the finish line , but I felt good because I did not walk . Howard your 71.02 is an excellent result considering as well the hills makes you slower . Also Phil R. ran strongly in 85.20 that is fast and Tom H. is running well with a solid consistency 93.59 is a fine result .

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