Report by Stoo Gordon
Report by Stoo Gordon
|The Race||Cross Bay Challenge, Morecambe|
|Overall Score (out of a possible 35)||24|
|Organisation||4 – Lack of clean running water at finish|
|Value for Money||3 – £29 + £10 for t-shirt (optional)|
|Club Support & Social||5 – Thanks to Nigel Cook|
|In Short||Great experience, Very Scenic, Great Fun|
|In Full The first time Nigel Cook mentioned the Morecambe Bay, Cross Bay Challenge, I immediately thought of the cockle pickers that got caught by the tide and thought, that could be tricky. I then read several reviews from people like Nigel, who had previously, ran this race. All said the same thing, that it was fun, friendly and scenic. Not a mention of Scary anywhere. So the Gordon posse set off on Sunday morning (passing the Matalan crew just setting off on their jaunt) on the 2 hr drive to join the 400 people on the Beach at Hest Bank.Now if you went the way Nigel did, being on his own, you had to travel to Flookburgh to leave your car at the finish and get one of the buses at 09:30, back to the start (45min). Which meant a lot of hanging around at the start, as the race began at 12:30. That aside I was looking forward to giving this a go and was glad Nigel was there for company and a bit of guidance along with the experienced guides on quad bikes of course.
The weather was really quite good : breezy with plenty sunshine. The views from the start were stunning and as far as the eye could see, was the Bay stretching out in front of us. You could see the opposite side of the Bay and to be honest it didn’t look that far, not 13.1Miles. But then you don’t go directly across do you? When you look at the route you go a long way inland first, before you cross. There is a reason for that. It’s to cross the River Kent.
We set off after a small briefing, reminding us to stay within the marked zones or you might end up in the quicksand. Gulp! The initial few miles were on very wet, wrinkled sand, not the most comfortable conditions, but that was soon forgotten when we approached the first water crossing. The racing part of the challenge ground to a halt. Splash!, in we go, woohoo what a laugh and actually quite heavy on the legs trying to wade across about 30-40ft wide thigh deep lukewarm water.
That was the first of many water crossings of varying depths, most notably the bit where we crossed the River Kent. Now by this time I was quite used to getting wet but this was different. The under currents in this crossing would have swept a small child out to the Irish sea in no time! Not being much bigger than said small child, I somehow managed to make it to the other side. There is a marshal posted here (probably to let the coastguard know if you fell over) so that was alright, I felt it was safe. It was slow going but strangely enjoyable and cooling as the sun was now beating down constantly. Another crossing achieved we plodded on with soggy sand filled shoes. At this point I remembered Nigel telling me to run in my oldest running shoes as I was not going to be taking them or my socks home.
(Those of you who know my bright yellow, self cleaning, trail shoes, will be happy to know they are safe and well. One of my 3 pair of Asics had to go.) There was a point about ¾ of the way through that we came across a huge expanse of flat sand with nothing to see except sand in the distance. But if you look to your right at this point, It is then your eyes are treated to the magnificent view of the lush green coastline. Stunning hills in the background, a feast for sore eyes. It was around here Nigel spotted the finishing Marquee like a mirage in the distance. It took a long time in getting any closer. Final water station at 10 Miles then onto the finish in just under 2hr 30m.
Water stations were at 4M, 7M, and 10M. Finish line facilities included Sports massage for a small donation to Cancer Care, other merchandise including your t-shirt could be purchased here and there were a variety of refreshments on sale. Portaloo toilets are available at the end but no showers or running water.
The Gordon Posse went back to the start point to watch the tide cover our tracks, and of course to have fish and chips.
It was a really good day out. I Would certainly recommend this to anyone thinking of doing it. I personally am looking forward to doing it again.