Unusually for a Hardmoors event I woke up to bright sunshine rather than the usual grey skies and torrential rain.

I made my way to Saltburn Leisure centre where the race was due to start and got myself signed on and ready for the 9am start.

I was using this race as part of my training for the Hardmoors 60 and St Oswalds Way Ultra so having done a fast 25 mile run the evening before my legs weren’t feeling particularly fresh.

I decided just to take it easy and use it as an opportunity to get another long run rather than trying to race so I took off at a fairly easy pace and settled into a top 10 position in the first few miles.

By the time we had reached Skelton Beck I was slowly working my way up towards the front but just outside the Saltburn Valley Woodlands Centre I took the first of many wrong turns and lost a bit of time before realising I was wrong.

It wasn’t long before we reached Saltburn and turned right along the coast on the Cleveland Way which we followed for about 5 miles through Skinningrove along the cliftop paths. This was fairly easy running with the exception of a few short and steep climbs.

My legs were feeling the effects of the previous weeks training so I decided to just take it easy for the rest of the race as I had another high mileage week planned the following week and didn’t want to overdo it.

The next stretch to Slapeworth didn’t have the usual Hardmoors feeling as it went through a lot of villages and public footpaths rather than the usual open moorland I’ve become accustomed to in these races.

It felt strange lining up at a pelican crossing next to a young mother and her kids waiting to cross the road. Liek I said, not your usual Hardmoors.

It was only when we started the climb on Airy Hill Lane did it start to feel like a Hardmoors again but by this time I was feeling pretty tired and was having to push hard to keep my legs going.

We dropped down to the road crossing at Slapeworth and in Spa Wood I made my most costly of my 4 mistakes of the day.

Somehow I managed to turn left up the banking rather than carrying straight on and losing 6/7 minutes in the process, not to mention putting some additional elevation in my legs.

By the time I rejoined the course I had been passed by a couple of other runners so I set off after them and not long afterwards made my 3rd wrong turn of the day.

Instead of turning right to Guisborough Woods I went straight on, only realising my mistake when I got shouted back. More lost time, this really wasn’t proving to be my day!

I eventually caught up the runners in front as we headed along the Cleveland Way towards Guisborough Woods and the biggest climb of the day up to Highcliffe Nab.

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It was such a hot day and the climb up to Highcliff Nab finished me off I think but I didn’t want to lose anymore places so after being given a big push to get me going again at the top myself and another gut set off at a pretty rapid pace. Just 10 miles to go!

I pushed hard towards the A171 crossing, doing my best to keep with the other runner and through the moors we started to catch a couple more runners. Looked like I could be on for a decent position afterall.

The last push towards the finish was a real killer and my legs just didn’t want to go anymore so I had to have a lot of walking breaks.

Eventually I could sense the end was in sight and I got a new lease of life in my legs so I picked up the pace all the way to the finish.

Eventually finishing in 7th position which considering it was supposed to be an easy training run wasn’t too bad.

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