Yorkshire Trod and the final leaderboard of the year

…and that’s the end of the races for the year. Karen’s writeup of the Yorkshire Trod is below.

The final results leaderboard can be found on the 2022 Results page. Congratulations and thanks to everyone who has taken part this year, and thank you to our sponsors who make it possible for us to run the series.

Don’t forget the AGM at Goyt Valley on the 20th November, hope to see you then!

 

 

The Yorkshire Trod- last race of the Runfurther season.

 I ran this race for the first time last year and although I found it tough I really liked the route and journey. There were bits that were quite new to me then especially near the Winterburn valley and Weets (I thought Weets was over near Barnoldswick but it turns out there are two!). Hanging on like grim death to keep up with others that knew the way meant I arrived at the first CP knackered and at the main CP in Grassington so trashed I was not sure I could go out for the final loop. This year I was determined to start more carefully.

By 7pm on Friday evening the flags and banners were up, mint cake delivered, boards and prizes sorted and I was registered with my tracker attached. After a quick chat with Mel the RO and also with Jenny and Ken I was ready for my meal and settling down cosy in the van. We drove to the end of the tarmac above Yarnbury and cooked. Before long the wind became fierce and the rain started and we headed to bed.  Then the local ‘lads’ arrived and turned the car radio to max before setting off a firework. During the night the rain sounded torrential and I prayed that the forecast would still be correct- a mix of cloud and sun, no rain, a bit windy not not cold. (a real wuss). We woke to low cloud and drizzle but by 7am down in the village things were looking a bit more promising. The entry was small this year and Runfurther people made up about half the entry. There were some runners doing the 50km but I don’t think I knew many of them. It was nice to have time for a brief chat with Adam, Phil and Claire before the start. After several trips to the loo I opted to start in my cag but hoped I would not need it for too long. It would be light within half an hour but I started with my torch just in case- I would feel pretty daft tripping over a kerb or tree root in the first mile or so.  We gathered outside and there was a hushed a low key start. Down hill on tarmac made it hard to reign in the pace but the hill up to the school at Threshfield helped. By the time we had crossed the main road and were heading onto the first moors I was suffering. I could not seem to get my breath and had to walk and so lost touch with Martin and Mark. It did allow me to meet and briefly chat to Felicity- a new Runfurther runner so that was good. Without my ‘leaders’ I missed the turn off towards the road above Winterburn but soon realised and put it right. From there I knew the way and made good time up towards Weets. I opened a gap and was catching a runner ahead- ? in a vegan vest. I didn’t race after him but tried to slowly narrow the distance as w ran past the Roman Camp, Street Gate and on to the first manned CP at the Malham Tarn car park.  Stephen was marshalling here but I had no need of water so rushed on with just a cheery Hello. A better line across the grass put me ahead of vegan man for a while but he then pulled slightly ahead of me on the Monks Road to Arncliffe. The limestone rocks poking through the grass and mud were slippery and although my shoes had good grip on mud they were not so great on rock. We arrived at the village hall roughly together and just as Martin was leaving. I stopped long enough to top up water, swig some tea and eat a little. The river meadow path along the Skirfare to Litton was very wet and several small streams had over flowed but I was more comfortable now and had shed my cag too. The stepping stones were drier than most of the field rocks and I crossed unscathed. From Litton the path climbs steeply and this seemed to take some time. I could see a runner ahead but did not know whether the red was Martin’s T shirt or Mark’s race vest. The flag stone path from the ridge felt slippery and I slowed down a bit. The boggy path descending to Buckden was more to my liking. I topped up with water and MFuel at the water container and debated which way I would go up Buckden Pike. The rocky path up the beck is slightly shorter but the rocks would be greasy. The middle option looked OK on the map but had the scope for nav issues. The main path loops out north but at least I would know exactly where I was and could hopefully make better speed on a slightly easier gradient? I opted for the latter and apart from one dreadfully boggy section felt it was likely the best choice for me. It was decidedly cold and very windy up here and not a place to hang about. Standing on tip toe at the trig I just about managed to use the self clip before setting off on a little adventure into the unknown. Mel was convinced that the best route down to Starbotton was the permissive path to the lead mines and then down the ridge so I decided to try it out. It was far less bog than my standard Fellsman route and also kept me off the stony track of Walden Road too but there were slightly more short rises than I expected. As I started down to the mines I met vegan man on his way up- it was the last I saw of him. The clip at the end of the village set me off on the Dales Way field paths to Kettlewell. It was now very warm and I was regretting the T shirt over my base layer.

The little flappy stiles were a pain but fortunately there were not too many walkers on the path. I made a silly error in Kettlewell which took me on a slightly roundabout route to the maypole adding a few hundred metres. Again I stopped to refill water and MFuel and grab a quick bite. Just as I was leaving I passed Fiona and the dog and learnt that Mark was only just ahead of me. I sensibly did not try to fly after him but I did try to up my pace at to keep an eye on the paths ahead. The short section on tarmac should be easy but I struggled to get going again after my mini break. Once I had done the climb and was on the lovely grassy ledge above Swineber Scar things improved. I was running fairly well and spotted Mark ahead. As I neared the distinctive Coniston Pie I knew I was reeling him in and this gave me a boost. Before long we were running together and almost in Grassington. We have run together several times before- never with a pact but just with our pace conveniently coinciding. In the CP Martin was just about to leave and we stopped for a more major refuel, collect stuff from drop bags and in Mark’s case change shoes and socks. I set off ahead but was sure he would work hard to catch me. It was now mid afternoon and the Dales Way was annoyingly busy. The river was quite dramatic after the rain and I used this as a distraction.

At the suspension bridge I had to bite my tongue at the slow pace people were moving and then at the shrieks as I jogged and made the bridge bounce. All the way to Burnsall it was busy and I was pleased there were not so many stiles. Mark did a km on the road here and we met again as I joined Kail Lane. It was good to have company again and I knew it would get us to both move faster than if we were alone as well as having two eyes on any silly nav errors. We made good time along the old lane and up to New Road before making even better time down Trollers Gill. I had remembered it as having more rock so it was a pleasant surprise to find it so grassy. Simon’s Seat was looming and seemed menacingly big but we had further to drop across the next valley yet. The path up through the patchy woods and onto the moor is in a shocking state with some serious erosion from running water. Today it was a stream bed and I was just thankful to be going up it and not down. I was stronger uphill but knew Mark would catch me again on a couple of technical bits after the summit area. We met Paul putting out the self clip and teased him that the string was too short- tired quads did not want to sink that low! Parts of the descent are now flagstone and quite easy running but a few sections were more rocky and stream bed like. It meant we arrived at the permissive path into the woods together. Just as we found the self clip at Howgill Andrew E appeared with the offer of chat, satsumas and even ice cream. Sadly the van at Barden was locked up for the night but the thought was there and it led me to push the pace a bit on this last section of the Dales Way. We marched up to the cattle grid on Barden Moor with some running on the flats and downs. It was still light whereas last year it was just starting to get sketchy without a torch. Andrew left us at the CP and after a short stop for food we pushed on. We were too early for Joe which was a shame but we were up on time! I was now pleased to have my cag back on as a windshield although I then got too hot again as we worked hard. The sunset was beautiful.

The big shooting tracks encouraged us to run  all but the steeper bits so we were soon on Brown Bank and dropping west. It was now dark but fairly easy running to the fell gate above Rylstone.

From a daylight run past Rylstone Cross and the war memorial

Mark had some torch issues and a couple of very brief stops to deal with this gave us a breather. We both knew the paths here well and although they had both rocky and peaty bog sections we moved well. We were now daring to consider how many miles were left and what time we might do. I grabbed a MF jelly and we set off along the wall to reach the next section of shooting track. Chatting made the time fly and it wasn’t long before we arrived at the big stone shooting house. Mel apparently favours an earlier trod descent but I was sticking with what I knew even if it was slightly further (actually about 1km further). The grassy paths heading north and down to Thorpe were good but the last section on the old cobbled lane was dreadful and we both feared a fall. A short tarmac section led to the final fields before the drop to the suspension bridge. Here we met Steve and Charlotte starting their final loop- heck, it was going to be a run through the night for them. They had until 7am and it could be tight. We on the other hand turned west and knew it was less than 4km to the finish. We were wary of tree roots by the river but mostly it was easy running to Sedber Lane. We stomped up this as fast as we could at this stage and with 1km to go believed we might even get in before 9pm. We even ran the first half of Main Street despite the hill and finished with almost 3 minutes to spare. 13 hours 57 mins and a few seconds. I had beaten last year’s time by over 40 minutes and so was chuffed. Mark had, as usual, been good company. Several cups of tea and pie with beans filled the hole in my stomach. Martin appeared behind us- he had run more miles on the Dales Way and then had to back track to get back on route. Credit to him for not giving up in despair. A tricky spot of contortion gymnastics in the toilets let me wash the mud off my legs so that I could sleep in our bed in the van. Bob had already taken down the flags and banners plus taken them back to the van (what a star).  A short downhill walk and I fell into bed. I fancied a pint but was too tired to contemplate the pubs.

We were so lucky with the weather window. We awoke on Sunday to low cloud and drizzle which soon turned to rain. Only much later that evening did I realise that by running faster than last year I had managed to keep just 42 points ahead of Claire. She gained the 1000 for a great win today but I was able to bin my Fellsman 687 and replace it with 892 from today. It was a shame as she is a better runner and has always beaten me when we run head to head but I couldn’t help being a tiny bit pleased too. (it won’t happen next year if Claire and Vic both enter 4 races)