Friday, 24 February 2012

Ultra no 7 Wadi Bih Run (Oman)

I arrived in Abhu Dhabi airport after an eight hour flight from Manchester, trying in vain to get some sleep on the flight to no avail! I missed a nights sleep and hoped to catch up with some 40 winks before arriving in Abhu Dhabi but I was too wired! I was to meet Shirley, last time I had seen her was 5 weeks before and now her flight from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia was delayed by over an hour. We where picked up at the airport and taken to  Hotel, our home for a night and then for 4 nights after returning back from the race. (all this luxury, and we would be leaving it for a night to sleep in a tent!

The next morning we packed the car with camping gear (Tent, Thermarests, 2 x 4 season sleeping bags, jetboil, etc etc) and embarked on a 180 mile journey through the United Arab Emirates and across the border to Oman. Shirley drove!! safest idea really! (they all drive on the wrong side of the road ;0) )
Several hours of motorway driving later we turned off inland and saw the beautiful Sandy mountains of Oman.

We eventually arrived in Dibba, Dibba was beautiful with golden sands, rich blue sea and mountains quivering in the haze of the sun. After passing through border control we arrived close to  the 'Golden Tullip' Hotel and the race start. We where pretty early, so we had a walk over to a hive of activity where the race organisers  where setting up the registration table, we chatted for a bit and met the Race Director, John Young.  We pitched the tent and set the thermarests up ready for an early night. The solo runners start was 0430.We pitched the tent a good distance away from the race start on the beach close to the sea. Some runners where stopping at the Golden Tulip, we had tried to book a night but by then all the rooms had gone (I was secretly quite pleased, I liked the idea of camping on the beach, even if it meant carting  extra weight all the way from the U.K ) On the evening there was to be a barbecue and with over 200 relay teams competing (5 runners to each team) and 40 plus Solo runners there would be quite an atmosphere.

We drove out to a local store and bought some supplies including some gas for the jetboil so we could make a cup of tea at least, by the time we got back the beach was full of tents and  vehicles everywhere you looked. The area was buzzing with excitement. We sorted our running kit out and placed it strategically on the car seats (easier to find in the early hours of the morning ) and prepared 2 drop bags each. (Solo Runners are allowed 2 drop bags for the race, One for the 12 & 33 mile checkpoint and one for half way, 22.5 miles) Our drop bags were filled with crisps, gels, water and a can of Coke each. We would also leave our headtorch and any other items we didn't need anymore  in them as they would be then returned to the start after the race had finished)  After an age of faffing about we registered and received our Wadi Bih mug, T-shirt and race numbers (solo runners race numbers were coloured black while relay teams numbers were red).

With all the admin sorted we went about filling our bellies on barbecued chicken Kebabs, boiled rice (cooked to perfection by me and the jetboil ;0)). We chatted to a real nice guy (only to find out later he was  John Gregory  the originator of the race. He introduced us to a great bunch of people and I got chatting about ultra-running to a relay runner who was racing the next day in a red cat suit which in his words resembled more of a grandad thermal underwear suit thingy with a hood, he was Heinz Tomato soup, the rest of the team would be Heinz Salad cream, Heinz Baked get the picture..

We retired to bed at about 2200hrs as the Solo  runners would start the race at 0430, this would mean a 0330 rise, to change, faff about some more and eat, drop our drop bags off and wait for the start. Shirley was pretty cold while  outside and I had noticed alot of competitors wearing jumpers etc while I was lovely and warm in a T-Shirt! mind you when I had left the U.K it was -7. We found the tent in a swamp of other vehicles and tents and guessed we weren't going to have a quiet night. I had brought 4 season sleeping bags as I had been told numerous times how cold it gets on a night and I sleep really cold! Well we stayed warm, but we probably slept in total 2 hours each as the nearby tents all seemed to have party's going on until 1 in the morning, and there is always someone, usually a man, who likes to hear the sound of his own voice. I wasn't sure of the punishment for GBH or manslaughter in Oman, so decided to keep my fists to myself . (The noise would of been from Relay runners all excited about the race after a few drinks and not such an early rise to contend with as us they would of been making the best of the evening, and the race is as much about the BBQ and the social aspect as actually running and probably more so for some people, its all about fun , and that's the reason we do it! do we as ultrarunners??? is pain fun??mm?? )

We gathered at the start line and a few group pictures were taken. Everyone looked fit and healthy and pretty tanned, apart from me with my Lilly white legs!! after a race brief, which in tradition goes in one ear and goes out of the other, I found myself nervous and pretty apprehensive, unsure what the course would bring and without any acclimatisation  to heat being my biggest worry, I knew Id get around but what time?? 7hrs-10hrs??

0440 and we were off, I ran alongside Shirley and tried to control my breathing and adjust my mind into running mode not crawling back to bed mode. The first few miles where through the local neighbourhood streets, eventually I got into the stride of things (no pun intended) and began to increase my speed. Over 2 miles or so passing over a dozen people not intentionally just running at a pace I felt comfortable. The Road started to become more of a dirt trail and the odd couple of climbs began to appear. I felt pretty strong and was sticking to my 500ml of water/ 1 gel per hour formula. the terrain underfoot became much more rugged and the Wadi began to make its first appearance, imitating a canyon but  in a much smaller scale, it had become much lighter and I could see how beautiful the Wadi was.  12 miles in and  I had arrived at the  first checkpoint. I ditched my headtorch into my drop bag, grabbed my Oakley's and some more gels and filled up with water from the race marshalls supply. The Oakley's proved to be a godsend later keeping all the dust kicked up by all the 4 wheel drives from going into my eyes.

My pace seemed to slow down yet I was still putting the same effort in, I looked behind and then realised why, I had been climbing uphill steadily for awhile, the gradual ascent seemed to go on for miles until I turned a corner and there in front of me was quite a long steep  dirt track up to I guess the1000m summit of the mountain and the 22.5 mile turning point. I could just make out a 4 wheel drive climbing up the track. Eventually I reached the start of the climb and made the transition from running to walking. As I climbed another solo runner walked by me at speed disappearing round one of many of the switchbacks. I was putting effort in but without running there was no way I could match that speed and running up this, at close to half way point with a further 22.5 miles to go would be bloody foolish, well for me it would!! I consoled myself with the thought of descending this at speed. The top of the climb appeared, no checkpoint, I continued on for a while and 3 solo-runners who where on the return leg flew by me, and then a couple more. At last the Checkpoint was in view, my pace quickened and minutes later I was delving into my dropbag for crisps and gels, I filled my water bottles up and helped myself to a can of coke followed by a can of Mountain Dew! As well as admiring the views I had the welcome sight of a donkey that was receiving huge amounts of attention  from Relay support teams.

I set off on the return journey happy in the knowledge there was less than a marathon to cover and a decent amount of downhill (my favourite) I reached the hill and this time the road was packed with 4 wheel drives and relay runners. I took the hill at speed and after the first switchback I ran into Shirley who was doing brilliantly (Shirley had had an ankle operation in October and had been out of action for several months, the longest run since September she had run was 10k and with great pain to her ankle, for her to have got to this point of the race in the time she had was inspirational) We kissed and took photos of each other, said our goodbyes and I continued to fly down the steep descent.

As I passed Relay runners who were running up the hill, there faces steeped with pain while gasping for air they still managed to give me words of encouragement and 'well done's' In my mind it was them that deserved the praise with the pace they were running up a pretty steep climb. 4 wheel drives passed by, beeping there horns and cheering as they passed me, I reached the bottom of the hill and running was a little bit harder then it had been on the descent, I was drenched in sweat and started to feel like I was overheating, a short period of flat followed and then back to descending. As I let gravity have its way and pull me down  the descents while dodging the odd vehicle I started to feel pretty rough, a strong desire to walk came over me. The temperature had increased to what felt like 30 degrees to me (Just a cool day to the locals) to me after minus figures it felt like a sauna! I started to slow and a couple of Solo runners passed me, then I started to walk until the next descent appeared again, using gravityI began to run again, this system of walking and running seemed to last me to the 32 mile stage where I had managed to pass the runner who had earlier strode up the hill as if it wasn't there. Another can of Mountain Dew a refill of the water bottles and I was off, feeling like death warmed up and spaced out. I knew it was the heat, my nutrition had been bang on, and my pace had been good, deliberately leaving plenty in the legs for the final few miles. It wasn't the distance, I was a veteran of half a dozen 100 mile races and at least a dozen 50 milers. It wasn't the climb, compared to some races I had run in over the last couple of years the climb was pretty small. So by elimination and how I felt it had to be the temperature. My pulse was sky high and I felt as sick as a dog with nothing left in my legs. Quitting wasn't an option, I only had 12 miles to go, if I walked every step I would still arrive several hours  before the cut off time was reached.

I seemed to be playing a leapfrog game with a fellow solo runner, I wasn't intentionally trying to pass him but he would stop to walk and I would run by him, then I would walk for a bit and vice versa (eventually he kept his pace and I slowed down, half a mile before the finish he vanished out of sight and I had no intention of trying to catch him up.) Still relay runners were passing by me and shouting words of encouragement. The same 4 wheel drives would pass by me over and over again cheering and waving giving me a huge boost and bringing a smile to my face each time!,

I ran out of water and by some grace of God, a man jumped out of his jeep and gave me a bottle of water, I thanked him and polished the water off and he proceeded to give me an ice cold bottle of Gatorade, it was like nectar, instantly giving me a boost and taking my temperature down several notches. This guy was a saviour and a true Gentleman!! I carried the empty Gatorade bottle for a mile or so and decided to get rid of it at the next opportunity. There it was in front of me, a relay  changeover point, several Team vehicles cluttered the road while anxious looking relay runners waited for the baton to be passed to them. In my delirious state :0) I passed my bottle over to a relay runner to disperse of, only did it occur to me several hours after the race that the runner was just about to receive the baton and I had passed him some rubbish which I imagined would of left him running round in circles trying to ditch the bottle before being passed the baton seconds later...

After coming into Dibba I was a mile or so away from the finish, still taking walking breaks and when running or should I say shuffling my legs screamed out to me in pain. (looking back dehydration had caused this not the climbs or distance, my body had adopted well to the onslaught I had placed on my legs over the last few months)  The famous 'Pink Ladies' (Relay Team ) offered me kind  words of encouragement as they went past me. Minutes later I was cutting through the deep sand seconds away from the finish and then it was    over I heard my name mentioned on the microphone.."Jonathan Steele, Solo Runner!!" I was given a bottle of water and a handful of ice by one of the race staff, still dazed and slightly delirious I headed through the many seated people and past    the   buffet until I got to the  bar and asked for a can of coke, I found a wall to sit down  on the floor and rest my back against, the Coke was finished in under a minute, I tried to drink the water but to me it tasted foul, I must of sat there for 20 or so minutes feeling very rough and tired. I dragged myself to my feet and noticed a shower on the beach, I stripped to my waist and stood under the heavenly cold water for awhile.

I finished the race in 16th place in a time of 8hrs 28mins. Shirley did incredibly well and finished the race even with a dodgy ankle and no distance training for 6 months. On returning back to the Hotel on the same night I weighed myself an discovered I had lost over 5kg of body weight even after drinking 5 litres of water and taking electrolytes throughout the race.This was what had made me feel so weak and rough as well as the pains in my legs and the high pulse rate

The race was fantastic, the course, the scenery, the camaraderie,   the relay teams were fantastic and offered so much support. What I saw of Oman was beautiful and the whole event had a party feel to it. I hope I can return to this event sometime and with a few days of acclimatisation do the course some justice.
Our adventure didn't stop at the race but continued on our journey back to the hotel...but that's another story......

The break with Shirley in Abhu Dhabi was fantastic and what a city!! We both limped around the city with incredibly sore legs for a few days after...

Sunday, 19 February 2012


Sorry, I hoped to have updated this by now, but  with it getting closer to the Hardmoors 55 I have been swamped with emails by competitors plus usual race admin so I hope to have this wrote up soon or ill have a backlog of about 3

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Wadi Bih Update

Just got back from the United Arab Emirates, so I will write up a full report up soon.
I finished the 45 mile race in 16th place in 8hrs 27 minutes.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Ultra no.6 Rombalds Stride..

Ok Ive already wrote the majority of this race report before, then the laptop crashed! so you can guess what happened :0( Yes it got lost, reminds me of certain Ultra's.

Ultra no. 6 was the Rombalds Stride, a 23 mile 3000 ft ldwa/Scout Challenge walk (or to quite a few of us,  a run) The Rombalds Stride is a circular route, starting and  finishing at the St Oswalds Junior School in Guiseley West Yorkshire. The route leaves Guiseley and heads over Airedale Valley before climbing up to Rombalds Moor to Ilkley and over the 'Otley Chevin' before arriving back at Guiseley.

I set off nice and early, and for once I only had just over 20 miles to drive to the race start. My plan was to arrive there an hour before the race would commence so I could put in at least 3 of the extra miles I would need to round the run off to being an Ultra. Last year when I had run the event for the first time I had clocked the route with my Garmin as being 22 not 23 miles, so I wasnt taking any chances, 3 miles before, 2 after.
I arrived at the school bang on 0800 went to register, a 2 minute job, the next minute I was chatting to  David Jelley,after a 10 minute chat I registered and headed  over to the other side of the hall to put my bag down, sort some of my kit out and prepare to start running within the next 5 mins. I heard my name, I looked up it was Henry Morris, so we had a good catch up and along came Nick Ham then Mark Dalton  eventually Sarah Booth and Andy Norman joined us and that was the end of the extra 3 miles before the race start, saying that I wouldn't of missed chatting to such a great bunch of people for the world!!

Considering I had got to the race early, when the bell was rung to start everyone off, I wasn't  ready, still messing around with my watch and chatting to a 'now I cant see him for dust' Henry. I joined in and everyone seemed to be running at a pace I would of reserved for a 10k, I hung in for awhile but couldn't quite control my breathing. Within 10 or so minutes sweat was pouring from my forehead and it must of been minus one!! I think I remember passing the Woolpack pub?? and we all came to a standstill while we cued for the stile, I just had time to sort my breathing out. I stalked Nick Ham for a while and caught up with him on the summit of?? (Its all a bit of a blur) and asked him to take a picture of me for the blog (Thanks Nick)

We ran and chatted for a couple of minutes  until we came to a downhill section, I took the opportunity to make some lost time up and flew past a couple of runners who were cautiously descending. Followed by another climb back up onto the moor and a trek along some flagstones, I could see why they had been placed  there, not so much for erosion but to stop you drowning in a quagmire!  one false step and you would be up to your knees in mud and icy water. The Flagstones made fast work of this section.

Ahead of me I could see Henry, I caught him up and said 'Hi' (I'm a pretty unsociable creature when I run, I exchange pleasantries and that is all, I like to either switch off or take in the surroundings, I don't like the pressure of conversation. plus I have trouble multi-tasking, running while breathing and talking  I'm a man for pity's sake!! ;0) ) I kept a strong pace up in case he had decided to go after me and eventually a decent descent came up, I let loose believing he would be closing up on me any second, I had put some space between us (ok I'm a bit competitive, I have set goals before the race in my head, finish time, who to hunt down and pass etc etc, just happened to be Nick and Henry :0) sorry guys, let the cat out of the bag now, they will be hunting ME down in future!!) The next section was fairly flat for a mile or so. In 2011, I had flown down this bit with pretty fresh legs, my legs where far from fresh now, and couldn't match anything like the same speed. Eventually the next ascent arrived, the 'Cow and Calf' Crags, I was several metres away from a french guy in front of me, he seemed to let me pass and then followed me (whatever you do,if you are ever behind me, don't rely on my navigating skills :0) )  Everything was going well, and now there was 3 of us running together and of course we missed the right path and took the lower path which resulted with us losing higher ground and having to then climb back up to the correct path, losing valuable time and tiring out the old quads. Back on track I took a sneaky look back and saw Henry coming up pretty close, so I put a bit of a spurt on and relished the next descent.

After a while of 'on a wing and a prayer' route finding through farmers fields and streets of Menston I took the long road descent down to the foot of the 'Chevin' A pretty steep 600ft climb up to the next checkpoint. Last year I had overtaken quite a few runners on this climb (strange really as must people overtake me on climbs, but I guess they had probably gone out too fast at the start and their quads where trashed at this point?) I caught a couple of runners up on the climb but didn't pass them this year. On reaching the summit and the checkpoint it had started to snow and on the descent back to the finish with the snow  blowing straight into my face started to cause visibility  problems. I could of flown down much faster then I did to the finish but lack of visibility and knowing I had  an extra 5 more miles to run after the Rombalds Stride made me hold back. I entered the finish in 3hrs 47mins (LDWA time) 3hrs 44mins (Garmin's time) 1 minute quicker than  in 2011 (LDWA time)

In hindsight, 2011 I was half a stone lighter and running on fresher legs, this year the ground under foot was frozen and much quicker to cover then the mud of 2011, so swings and roundabouts!!

The Rombalds Stride is a great run, good checkpoints,  beautiful scenery and possibly 90% off road, with just the right amount of climb. Next year when I'm not trying to run myself into the ground Ill come back and give this course the justice it deserves 3hrs 30?

As for the extra 5 miles? They were hell, I started by walking up the road with Henry back to his car, he went  off in his nice warm vehicle (Henry finished the Rombalds a couple of minutes after me) I carried on by running round and round and round Guiseley (Wasn't going back up the Chevin !!!) as the snow came down thicker and thicker........ Later back in the School I overheard a conversation, it went something in the way of  

"How did you do?" 

"Okay but I was struggling, my legs where heavy, I did a 30 miler a fortnight ago, and its still in my legs"       

"Good greif! are you mad? doing a 30 miler a couple of weeks before this? Im surprised you got round"

Next Ultra   WADI BIH  Oman  (From minus figures to plus 30 figures)

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Ultra no 5 Yorkshire Ultra

Ultra no 5 saw a return to the beautiful North Yorkshire coastline and parts of the Cleveland way. The route was an out and back Starting at Whitby Abbey it followed the Cleveland Way heading southwards until the outskirts of  Robin Hood's Bay where the route left the Cleveland Way, climbed upwards and joined the cycle track into Robin Hood's Bay and followed the same track into Ravenscar. The route just before entering Ravenscsar climbed up to the mast (anyone who has done the Lyke Wake will remember this mast pretty well) cuts off inland and does a large circular route around Sneaton High Moor Plantation before following the same route back to Whitby.

I had mixed feelings about the course. The coast is beautiful, but the circular section didn't seem to have much imagination (ok I'm a Race Director, so I ought to keep my trap shut, Glass houses, stones and all that!!! But I'm writing this blog as a runner not as a RD, and these are my opinions, I'm sure this may be more interesting to you? then if I skirted around it?? Plus this is nothing more than Ive had a hundred times over ) I think the thing for me was if you call it the 'Yorkshire Ultra' that is a bold statement!!! You are representing Yorkshire!! You are representing, the Yorkshire Dales, parts of the Pennines, Bronte Country, the Cleveland Hills, the list goes on.... So you have to make every inch of that Ultra beautiful!! The vast majority of that extra loop wasn't. It felt like someone had just looked at a map and thought, there we go that will do and had never been there on foot. Okay less ranting, well sorry a little bit more to come...

Registration opened at 0630. Brief at 0730 race start at 0800. Myself and David Cremmins travelled down the night before and stopped at one of his friends empty self catering houses. In the morning we got up about 0600 to head for registration at 0645, leaving some time before the race started  to have a chat with any familiar faces and have a catch up with Ross Moreland and Lucy Colquhoun who were travelling down from Glasgow for the race. (Later on I found out they couldn't make the race) David suggested we should leave the car and walk up to the start, myself feeling pretty lazy didn't want to face the mile back after the 50 miles, plus I like the ability to be able to get back into my car and switch the heating on after a race at this time of year if the finish hall is cold  (my temp drops so quickly when I finish a long run, and within minutes I am usually shivering) So I drove up, arrived at the car park which was full of runners sat in their cars, I thought, strange? then I realised the race HQ/registration/finish etc was a small tent!! bloody lucky we drove up or we would be stood hanging around outside in winter conditions for well over an hour!!! and when I would of finished, I would of been snookered!! So used to indoor registrations and finishes, somewhere to change and chat to people (I expected this with a £45 entry!!) I registered and was told the brief would be outside the tent at 0730. I went back to the car with David and thought sod that! I'm staying in my car until 0750!! so we did and watched everyone else leave their cars and head off for the brief ( the brief would of gone in one ear and out the other with me, ) I felt like a naughty schoolboy skiving assembly, I imagined them doing a roll call, 'Steele' 'Steele' 'STEELE!!!' 'Has anyone seen Steele'  'Please sir hes sat in his car with David listening to loud music, chewing gum with his heating on, and he said if I told you I'd get a good kicking'   Anyway I don't think anyone noticed, we jumped (ok strong word we crawled out of the warm car) with ten minutes to go and made our way to the race start. I looked around, only one person I recognised, Dave Thompson from Durham, a regular at the Hardmoors Races and Yorkshire LDWA events. We exchanged pleasantries and we were off. The route along the coast is beautiful and race day was no exception, although cold the sun was shining and the sea was bright blue, we set off at a steady pace and gradually overtook quite a few runners. The route was pretty muddy and a lot of people were struggling with the downhills, I am strong on descents and flew by quite a few runners only for them to catch me up on the ascents. Just before Robin Hoods Bay we left the Cleveland Way and with a pretty slippy ascent joined the Cycle Track, faster going but less fun. First checkpoint was reached at Robin Hoods Bay, no coke :0( just water. We left Robin Hoods Bay once again on the Cycle track and headed for Ravenscar, just before Ravenscar we left the track and headed up to the mast, the views across to Robin Hoods Bay are outstanding. We continued inland to the next checkpoint and the turnaround for David and all the Marathon runners. There isn't a huge amount I can say about the next few hours, I believe I have deliberately forgot them lol. After a run through woods alongside a pretty beck the route turns northwards cuts through some farmers fields and joins a path of sorts (more like a trench found in the 'Somme' After a few days of rain the mud was if possible worse than last week, no wind but still bloody hard, I found myself slipping and sliding, falling and swearing while people passed me by running!! after a while the lactic acid build up in my legs from the extra weight of the clay like mud attached to the bottom of my salomons was almost unbearable and when I came across areas which were quite runnable my legs wouldnt respond ( the fact is I am currently 15 stone, carrying 3-5 stone more weight than the average runner on the course, so I tend to sink more with each step, I have very strong quads and quite a lot of muscle mass there, from years of weight training. Even though I havent trained my legs in the last 4 plus years apart from running my body still holds onto it, this isn't good for ultrarunning, extra weight to carry and more oxgen needed when the quads are worked hard eg Ascents, running through mud!!, only benefit being descending, its a lot easier with strong quads.) The 3rd checkpoint was reached, a man in an old Vaude tent, I stocked up on water, still no coke!! or orange juice!! just water, I grabbed a handfull of sweets and pressed on. I could of had a tea, but making it would of taken too much time. After another long slog and half a dozen people passing me the route began to get a bit more interesting, cutting through fields, passing farms, streams and eventually midge hall. Twice I called two runners back who headed off in the wrong direction. The course was signed (So I didn't need to subject myself to the recce the week before, the one bloody time I do a recce, the course is signed!!!!) Still people were going wrong. After a nice break from the mud it was back onto the return route, back to the last checkpoint, the checkpoint marshall had run out of water and with 40 odd runners left to go through, there could be problems. Descending the mud was easier then ascending it and soon I was back alongside the beck. I climbed a stile on route cautiously as last week my foot got caught on wire that seemed to go higher then the stile and I had fallen quite hard on the ground with my foot still caught high. This time I had gone over the stile on the outward leg (no pun intended) fine, return journey my bloody size 13's got caught again, after hitting the deck I jumped up shouted obscene language at it then kicked it, told it I was going to return with wire cutters and some matches, and ran off embarrased when a lady runner came into view, near enough to hear the whole conversation I had with the stile!!. At Checkpoint 5 (which had also been checkpoint 3) I had a coffee and a mouthfull of Haribo sweets, checked the time, no chance of a 10 hour finish, on a very dry  summer day or a very hard frost then I believe a 9 hour finish would of been within grasp but the mud destroyed any chance of that! I headed back over to the Mast on a reasonable moorland path and on reaching the mast took the descent down to the cyclepath at speed, again the view over to both Robin Hoods Bay and the Ravenscar Hotel was breathtaking. Back on the Cyclepath with a gentle descent I managed to travel at a steady pace, with one runner 20 feet or so in front of me. Darkness fell, it was time to put on a headtorch but that meant stopping and I didn't want to, neither did the man in front, so for what seemed an eternity  we ran in the dark eventually reaching Robin Hoods Bay checkpoint, I drank more coffee, more haribo sweets, got my headtorch out and set off for the final 5-6 miles, these 5-6 miles of the race where the best for me, not due to them being the last few miles but the terrain, my kind of terrain, technical descents (well for the North York Moors) and narrow paths, the pace was easy to pick up  (if only all the route had been like this) over the last few miles I passed over half a dozen runners enjoying every second of it. I reached the Whitby Abbey and followed the road round to the finish, seconds later I was outside the registration tent and had finished my Ultra no 5 (only 45 to go!!) Within minutes my temperature dropped and I made my way back to the car to get warm.