Report by Vaughn Swale
On January 4th 2015 I downloaded the entry form, filled it in & with a 20 pound note I posted it to the Swaledale Outdoor Club Richmond , North Yorkshire, England. My entry arrived – but the race was already full. Because I was willing to come so far they made a space for me & because my surname was Swale.
Once confirmed I set about training for the run. On the race profile I could see very steep climbs & descents. For the race I had to carry; first-aid kit, food & drink, gloves , hat , rain jacket, & leggings, whistle, map & compass, all crammed into my camel pack.
Our first stop was 3 days in London & a run in Regent park to loosen my legs from the long flight. We then took the train to Darlington & a hire car to Richmond. I ran with the Swaledale Road Runners on their Thursday night club outing. We did a 40 minute jog around town.
The race day dawned cloudy & cool. After check-in we gathered in a field with the other 500 runners/walkers for a race briefing. I was given a special welcome as I had travelled so far. A bell was rung & off we went. My friend Jacqui Kearney who lives in Richmond did the run with me as my guide
50 metres later we were all walking up a very steep hill. This was the pattern for the day with steep climbs & descents, stoney roads & tracks, farmland with dead rabbits (everywhere it seemed) & their burrows kept you “on the hop”!
We passed through small villages with great names like “Cringley-Bottom”. At halfway there was water cordial, fruit cake, sandwiches & fudge. Jacqui’s husband Micheal took Penny to a viewing area 1 hour off road walk to the half-way point where we stopped for a chat while Jacqui ate her sandwiches.
On & on we went, the countryside changed from green pastures to barren land much like the Desert Road, to tree lined streams. Finally Cringley-Bottom & only 3 miles to go! Most of this was down hill, oh! my poor quads! 1 mile to go & we ran down a 2 metre wide track with stones everywhere-very tough when you are tired!
Back on to the road into a village called Reeth, past the corner pub & up a rise to the finish line inside the town hall. Time to tuck into the spread of baked beans, mushy peas, mashed potatoes, mince, giant plate sized cornish pasties, fruit salad & cream rice.
OMG! I had done it! 5 hours & 5 minutes, 169th out of 452 finishers. For my effort I got a certificate, a cloth race badge & a hand-made pottery mug commemorating the event. I was also mentioned on the website.
Time for a well earned beer at the corner pub & to watch the others finish.
P.S. After the race we were told of the broken legs, & the heart attack casualties! The shattered quads were all mine!