Friday, 9 April 2010

Osmotherley Phoenix 2009

Osmotherley Phoenix - 33 miles North York Moors Round - 4th July 2009

The Osmotherley Phoenix kicked off as the village clock chimed 9.00am on a clear blue morning in this North Yorkshire Village and the pack of walkers and runners headed north on this route of three races - 17 mile, 26 mile or 33 mile - the last option was mine. The first 12 miles followed the Cleveland Way taking in woods ( where three of us got stung by wasps) and a skyline of the Northern Ridge of the North York Moors with panoramic views across the Vale of York and Teeside (where those without sunblock were already getting red). At the highpoint of the race, at half marathon distance the temperature was already into the 20's and more than one person had opted out of the longer race and I was left plodding along alone. This is why I do it - isolation in the middle of the moors with curlews and yep, Larks ascending made for a spectacular switch-back section down into the heart of the moors and half way round. At this point the Kit check took place and a quick lecture on fell running safety made sense of the heavy burden strapped round our shoulders and middle - I prefer the middle as I can't run with a sack on my back - I'm heavy enough. Miles 16 to 18 were possibly the worst of my running career to date - massive incline and blinding sun and heat in the high 20's made me stagger over the tops and the long run off which should have been a relief was most arduous on heather and broken ground. A runner who joined me at this point started to be sick, could keep nothing down (including my water bottle contents and last of jelly babies!) and we made a said parting at the penultimate checkpoint - me off on the last 10 miles and he into the St Johns Ambulance tent for a long rest and a shortcut back - a few awaited the sweeper bus here. The most southernley sweep of the Phoenix took us through fields and tracks and I was lucky to escape without a sheepdog bite as a pair of currs, loose in Lower Locker Farm caused havoc - the previous year, a few runners were nipped by the self same pair. The final climb to the top of Black Hambleton rewarded us with the spectacluar views once again of the Vale of York before a mad descent into the village of Osmotherley and the village Hall finishing line mercifully came in sight - thanks for putting a complimentary hose pipe up!!!. The Village Show was in full swing - saw the welly wanging competition but unfortunately missed the Ferrett Roulette?. Must get quicker than 7.57 next year ...

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