Goathland TOUGH Marathon

Its taken me 3 weeks to put pen to paper on this one – definitely Type 2 fun!

This was the 6th event of the Hardmoors 2020 marathon series – with Saltburn, Wainstones, White Horse, Farndale and Fryupdale already completed I had this event and Roseberry left to go. It does feel now like it has turned into a bit of a barrage of events with limited time in between to do the proper structured training and longer training runs which I enjoy so I’ll be glad to get them all done even if it means a couple of sober Christmas parties!

The weather forecast was pretty good and dry as we left home early to drive across to Goathland. Mr T was dropping me off and heading to parkrun so it was a swift deposit in the car park for me to make the short stroll to the village hall. Luckily we were allowed to wait and leave our bags indoors now so I settled into a chair to get myself race ready. The briefing was held inside too, Jon advised us about the last minute changes to the route as a car rally was taking place in Cropton Forest – hopefully positive for me as it re-routed a horrible muddy section I’d not enjoyed previously – and before I knew it we were heading to the start line. I met Chris outside the hall who I’d ran most of the last couple of races with and we headed over to the start together.

The route begins unusually with a descent initially down the road and then down a track to Beck Hole. We settled into a steady pace chatting as we ran and avoided the people falling over around us! At Beck Hole we picked up the track alongside the river we would follow for a couple of km. This section is the same for all three routes – the 10k, the half marathon and the marathon so I have run it three times before and its a track which always fools me – I think of it as being flat but its actually very undulating!! We trotted along, up and down, past the Mallayan Spout waterfall, over the beck, back over the beck and then up the steep steps away from the river.

I was going pretty well here and felt okay – my ankle had been bothering me a bit recently but some work by physio Pippa on Wednesday seemed to have helped. We climbed a short distance on the road and then turned left at the Lyke Wake Walk sign to climb up Howl Moor towards Simon Howe. I was dreading this bit – every time I’ve run it it has been a horrendous muddy mess but actually today it didn’t seem too bad on the way up and in fact it was my quickest run up.

Rather than turning right at the stone we would continue straight on and descend the other side. Things changed here as I cautiously slipped and slid the couple of km down to the next checkpoint. Chris was far more confident here and left me behind here.

At the checkpoint we did almost a U turn for a few hundred metres before we headed off to the left following the railway line to our left as we gradually climbed up onto Northdate Scar. The views across the railway were very impressive at this point, took my mind off the bogs! After a couple of km we entered the woods, ran on the flat for a section hopping over fallen trees before descending very steeply at Needle Eye Point onto the forest track which would take us back onto the main route.

This was still the same as the half marathon route as I dropped under the railway at Newton Dale Halt and then turned left to follow a horrendously muddy path alongside the beck before crossing and beginning the climb up to Hudsons Cross – no sign of a cross but a cascading waterfall at the junction of Yewtree Scar and Huggits Scar. At the top of the climb the marathon route headed to the right whereas the half marathon heads left.

I crossed a flat plain – luckily the cows were well away on the left – and then dropped gently down Levisham Bottoms before a flat section across to Skelton Tower. I caught Chris up here as he was chatting to Dan marshalling at the tower. The tower was built around 1830 by Reverend Robert Skelton, a former rector of Levisham, as a shooting lodge.

We left the tower and Dan we behind and continued across Corn Hill Point named as this area was ploughed and used for growing crops during the Napoleonic wars, before climbing and then descending a totally pointless section before dropping to the next checkpoint and a really short section of road.

At 20km in I was starting to tire a bit here. The next section was tough, a 3km run alongside the railway line (although it wasn’t visible) on a boggy track. All those I was running with at this point seemed to cover this much easier that me so I trotted on alone to the end point at Farwath.

Here a U turn saw me pick up the Sleights Road track which I’d follow for a couple of km to the edge of Levisham. This was previously a main road but is now a stony track.

I reached the end of the track and turned left onto the road, crossing a bridge before beginning to climb steeply up. Although it was steep I was enjoying the little section of tarmac which was over all too quick as the yellow tape ‘pointed’ me on a track to the right midway up the hill. This zigzagged up through the woods and was quite congested with runners and hikers. At the top of the climb we turned to the right and looped through the woods almost circling the village before reaching the next checkpoint. I ran this section with another lady which gave me a bit of motivation.

At the checkpoint the rain started so I stopped to jacket up. Michael, another Cavill athlete, spotted my badge, introduced himself and sorted my bottles whilst I was putting the jacket on. I did say thanks but never thought to introduce myself back! Onwards 4km took us on a moorland track section of the Tabular Hills walk with the Hole of Horcum to our left, the railway to our left and a rainbow ahead! As the path reached the road we once again U turned to head down towards the railway. The initial section was fine across the moor but then tough as we descended steeply through muddy woods on tired legs. I cautiously made my way down, crossed the bridge and climbed to the forest track and back to Needle Point.

From here it was a retrace of the route back to Simon Howe. I struggled even more with the muddy track as I was tired and the light was starting to drop. I was relieved to reach Adrians checkpoint and turn to begin the climb up to Simon Howe taking my head torch out of my bag as I climbed.

The descent from here back to Goathland is just short of 3km on a rutted muddy moorland path with the final km through the village on the road. I popped on my torch as i descended and tried to keep up with Peter Kidd who overtook me. Even with the torch I struggled to see well – note to self to run with glasses in the dark – so picked my way cautiously down very relieved to see the medical team car parked outside the Mallayan Spout hotel. I continued on and reached the hall where I was greeted by Mr T who I got the impression had been stood in the cold waiting for me for ages!

The link to my route is here, another 29 mile ‘marathon’ completed. This was my slowest pace and probably toughest marathon to date, a combination of the miles covered this year, the actual conditions, the lack of any road running on the route and telling myself before the event I would find it hard because of the conditions!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s