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Hardmoors 110

I wanted to run a 100 miler at the start of summer time, mostly in preparation for another crack at Tooting Bec later in the year. Yet another failed ballot attempt at the West Highland Way race meant I had to look at other options. When it comes to actually picking races I really need to look for ones that I am able to take my kids to, and that they can support me throughout. It's part of the reason I enjoy these long races so that they can experience it, and see people digging deep when they really don't want to. It is a much better way to spend my running tokens rather than away somewhere without them. When I looked about for other races Hardmoors seemed an obvious choice. Early enough in the year, loads of off road and most importantly no "ballot" required. The entry process was simple, fill in a form, they reviewed it and I was in after meeting the criteria. Doubled up with a weekend down in Yorkshire with the family it seemed perfect.

Training went well, I had the usual few set backs with some missed runs and some time off due to being unwell but come race weekend I was in a good place, lets felt great and I was good to go. In the lead up I seen it was planned for heat, so I went for 6 sauna sessions (all that I could manage) to try and cope with the heat better. These were all 30 minutes long, and by the last one I was coping well with that amount of time. Up until race day I had done more climbing than I had ever done by this point in the year. A good bit too, so I was confident I'd feel good on the hills like I had been in training.

Race weekend

We travelled down on the Thursday before the race. I didn't want to be stuck in traffic for hours with a screaming child the day before the race when ideally I should have been sitting with my feet up and getting my final plan details sorted. We stayed in a nice wee B & B in Filey which was perfect. It was about a 5 minute walk to the race start which we did the day before race day and then walked about 2 miles of the course so I didn't get lost before a ball had even been kicked. It seemed pretty straight forward to begin with. I did have a gpx file onto my trusty Suunto 9, but I was going with the idea that this was only as good as the person who ran it, so if they went the wrong way, so would I. But all seemed simple enough when I looked at the overview of it. The race info pack was also full of directions, which confused me a bit as I didn't know the areas, but for anyone familiar with the area I think these would be bang on and they were detailed enough. Bob travelled down on the Friday evening and met us at the B & B to go over the race plan, nutrition and all that stuff.

Pre race planning

The rest of the evening was spent filling bottles with tailwind - how Friday nights should be spent, and making some minor adjustments to where they would meet me according to the race instructions. A few beetroot juices later and I was good to go!

Race Start

The registration was held in a sea cadet hallway about a 2 minute walk from the start. We were there and registered early, got my photo and tracker attached, and had enough time to wander about and watch some of the 200 mile runners come through our start line. Sadly for the organisers, the toilets were out of order which caused problems for some, but they had kindly let us know this the night before. Not ideal for pre race nerves but these things happen. Soon enough the briefing was over and it was the count down to the start. The first 400m or so was rapidly downhill, and I really didn't want to be off at a 6 minute mile so I held back from the first line, and then settled into the pace I had planned. The route starts fairly flat along some cliff tops like this...

so it was a decent start, with nothing to cause any trouble and easy enough to settle into a nice comfy pace. There were quite a few sets of stairs over the first few miles (more on these later) which did slow the average pace right down, but to be honest I enjoyed breaking it up even that early. One chap went off in front and I settled into a group of 3 which were going at my target pace. Well maybe a little faster but nothing that should have bothered me, it was way slower than 8 minute miles which was ideal.

This continued on fairly uneventfully for the next hour or two with me dropping then getting dropped by the same few runners over a few miles. The path along the cliff top was awesome, with big drops down to one side and seemingly endless fields on the other side. The weather was dry and warm, perhaps a little too warm, but it wasn't bothering me in the slightest. The route dropped down to Scarborough and although it was a cracking day, the early start meant there were no crowds and I didn't need to people dodge. I ran most of this section with a chap who would eventually finish second in the race, and it was good to tick off a few miles sharing stories about the different races we had done.

Not long after Scarborough I caught the race leader, and shared a few miles yo-yoing between first and second. I really enjoyed this section of the route. It was pretty rolling, no major climbs and only a few set o