Hardmoors 60

By Paul Stafford
September 28, 2016

Latest post from Matty Brennan, who has just completed the Hardmoors 60 – a 60 mile race from the Hardmoors Race Series, on the coast from Guisborough to Filey…

This is probably a race that, all things considered, I shouldn’t have started.

After pulling out of the Lakeland 50, I took myself to the doc, and was diagnosed with a sports hernia. That would explain the lower abdominal pain then. And possibly the small lump beside my left hip bone.

So after easing my way back into training, and updating my TrainAsONE goal to the Hardmoors 60, I decided that I would give it a shot. I survived the 20 mile Stretton Skyline fell race, getting 20 minute pb with manageable pain from the hernia so my plan was not to go out hard, but to run comfortable. And not charge down hills with my usual abandon, as that made my stomach pain worse. I was also planning to manage the pain with Ibuprofen, which had the added bonus of making me more aware of keeping hydrated.

The main checkpoints of the Hardmoors 60 were about 10 miles apart, which made my planning life easier – 6 bottles of Mountain Fuel Xtreme, some jelly babies, (3 bags of approx 20 each), a Clif bar, another bar with dark chocolate and a mars bar. I was also going to rely heavily on checkpoint food, as Hardmoors always provides some good snap. My MF I had pre-measured into 4 zip-seal bags, powder in one bottle ready to fill at CP1 and a bottle ready to go. I also drank a bottle on the bus from Filey, and pegged down my first set of Ibubrofen at 7am.

Everything went smoothly, straight through kit check, a quick catch-up with Kirk Hardwick, Lee Firman, Dave Troman, Richard from Clowne RR and it was time for Jon’s classic pre-race briefing. I also needed a wee. Managed to get that sorted just before the start, found Kirk and Dave, then we were off.

My plan was to run easy and stay around 132-140bpm the whole way, and both Kirk and Dave were going for the slow start approach which meant I’d have someone to talk to for a bit and run with so I didn’t get carried away. My fallback plan was to stop and take photos whenever I felt I was getting too far “in the zone”.

Start to CP1 – Highcliff Nab. Easy start, mid-pack with Kirk and Dave. Took it pretty easy, didn’t notice Ste Lord shooting off at a sprint, which I’m pretty sure he maintained until the finish. Kirk and I somehow found ourselves in the top few with Jerome McCulla, Lee Firman. I started walking prety early on the climb up to the Nab, a brief Hi to Jason Milward up the top, took a photo:


Highcliff Nab to Saltburn Valley Gardens: Theres a nice, protracted downhill until the first road crossing and everyone else pulled away from me here as I was on a mission to take it easy on the downs. Nice little hill climb.

Continued on to the top of the hill, looked like Lee and Jerome had pulled away from Kirk. Nice downhill from here to Skelton Green, where I was caught by Gary Thwaites and Christopher Bell, who were moving along nicely. We stuck together until we arrived at Saltburn Valley Gardens Cp

There was watermelon at the checkpoint. It was amazing. Filled up bottle #2 of Mountain Fuel, had a very brief introduction to Emma Hardwick, Kirk’s wife and support crew, and carried on.

Saltburn to Runswick Bay: Kirk, Christopher and Gary caught me up fairly sharply, and we formed a foursome that stayed together for a few miles. We hit the coast, with a stack of supporters at Saltburn, and headed out along the coastal path.

I was doing my best to let the other guys lead out, but every now and again I would find myself up the front, so I’d stop and take a photo.


Gary, Kirk and Christopher dropped back a little after this point, then there was a nice long climb providing some good views behind.

Trotted down here past Emma, who told me that Kirk was suffering from Man-Flu – he wasn’t far back at this point though. Christopher caught me up just afterwards and we ran into the CP (down a very steep road!) together.

I ate a lot at Runswick, and had a quick chat to Paul Hamer. Bottle #3 of Mountain Fuel filled, with half a bottle of water as it was getting warm. Off to the beach, with Chris not far behind (also was informed I was in 4th. Made a mental note to slow down.)

Runswick to Saltwick:

Beach! Ran along a bit.

Then realised I had no idea where I was going. Out came the map and directions, and off I went up the narrow gully. Just up here, my foot slipped a little on a rock, and jarred my stomach in a fairly painful reminder that, as good as I was feeling, all was not well, so I took it pretty steady on the climb up. Christopher caught me again in fairly short order, and off we trotted.

Don’t remember much of this bit, was nice running though!


Along here, and somewhere before Whitby, Christopher fell back a little. There was some really nice running along here, and I started to get into a bit of a groove.

And then I kept on trotting, along the footpath around the bay. Lee Firman made a random appearance from the left – he’d stayed on the beach a little too long. Had a good catch-up with Lee as we trotted up the hill, past the golf course and then elbowed our way together through Whitby.

Nice place, but far too many people in such a small area.

Up the 199 steps, the crowds thinned out…

We carried on a further mile or so, and hit Saltwick CP.

They had watermelon. I think I ate too much of it. And flapjack. Swirled some salted peanuts around my mouth and spat them out, then carried on feeling a little full and bloated. I think Lee must have been starting to feel it a little as he dropped back. (And approx half way! Yay!) I filled up mountain Fuel #4.
Saltwick to Robin Hood’s Bay:

I don’t recall much of this. There were some cliffs, some fields. There was a family hilariously avoiding a paddock of interested cows. I patted it on my way past. They applauded. I moved on.

Or it may have been after Robin Hood Bay. Or after Ravenscar. Definitely before Scarborough though.

Either way, I was trotting along feeling quite happy with everything.

The Robin Hood checkpoint had an orange. I had that orange, and it was amazing!

Robin Hood Bay to Ravenscar:

There was a bit of climb in this section, but it’s only a few miles to the next big CP, Ravenscar. It was quite nice along here, and then a fairly long walk/jog up to the top of the hill where the checkpoint was waiting.

The very efficient people there filled up Mountain Fuel number 5, I snacked and had some rice pudding (hate the stuff, unless I’m running. Love it when I’m running.). And off I jogged.

Ravenscar to Scarborough.

Said Hi to Gary Thwaites, who was on his way into the CP as I was exiting. I was also expecting a flying Dave Troman, who said he was going hit the second half hard. So I trotted off, making sure I didn’t work myself too hard and keeping my HR down around 136ish. Once I was off the road and back on the Way, I hit the groove and went with it a bit. Before I knew it, I saw Scarborough:

Well. Happy days, just a half marathon to go! Down the hill and onto the seafront, I got a move on along the paved path. There were some pretty cool waves and some strangely coloured sheds.


But mostly it was paved road which, well, started to hurt. And the CP was still ages away, around the sticky-out bit and around the next bay.

The next bay, I was not so fussed on. Loads of dodgy people, arcades, and about 7 police cars, all with the common theme of “Let’s Kick Anti-Social Behaviour”. Don’t think I’ll be taking the kids there…

But then I reached the CP and all was good. Rinsed and spat some more peanuts, ate some stuff (can’t remember what!) and grabbed a couple of jelly babies. I was then directed away up the hill as the normal path was dangerous, as the waves were up over it.

Scarborough to Filey.

Up the hill along some footpaths following the green signs of happiness, then on to the Cleveland Way once more. Some more fields, some up, some down, and a nice view, then onwards, towards a caravan park, and along the coast to my last glimpse of cliffs.

I ran along those, until nearly the end. Then along towards Filey, past the abandoned(?) red tent, then down some steps (starting to hurt down them now), along the promenade, up a small hill and into the finish.

At last.

Ended up being 3rd male, in 10:13 behind Ste Lord (9:09) and Jerome McCulla (9:44). Gary Thwaites was next back in 10:31.

An amazing day out, brilliant course, fantastic marshals and great company along the way made it a really enjoyable day. Bring on the HM30!

Big thanks to Mountain Fuel for the nutrition, and TrainAsONE for the continued support of their online training tool.

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