Report by Philip Morris
Happy New Bounder!
I started running with the Bounders in early October 2012 to see if I would enjoy it, get fit, keep up. A recent health assessment at work had not been kind on my ‘morbidly’ obese frame with its high blood pressure and less than boastful cholesterol level. I decided to take action by tracking down a local park run and in doing so stumbled upon the Bounders website. A quick scan of the training sessions resulted in an e-mail to Ian Young, Running Coach informing him to dread the appearance of a newcomer with terrible fitness. He replied…ok.
On my first night I learned that running as a group was preferable to running on my own. New starters are reassured by the fact that run leaders oversee the train of runners from front to back, identifying points throughout the route to take a breather and loop back for the others, everyone chats to each other, and more importantly the run itself feels like an enjoyable experience, unlike many (if not all) of my own previous ventures out. To summarise – one session and I was hooked.
It didn’t take long to throw myself into the training sessions and quicker groups, not because I could hold my own but to improve and push myself. I dragged along at the back as best I could always being encouraged by the group and over time got better. The toughest session was the first park relays, I finished the final lap dropping to the ground exhausted (not recommended where runners are gathered), happy on reflection that my fitness was progressing. It was also the first time I was coached by Ian Young whose advice then and now increases my fascination into the world of running.
Two months passed when I felt ready to choose a race of my own, I’d participated in relays, fartlek, intervals, hill shuttles, time trials, cross country (ouch!), and longer distances on a Sunday thanks to Dave Anderson and Aiden Hughes. Running on New Years day from Ravenscar in North Yorkshire I entered the Hardmoors 15, a small part of the Hardmoors Ultramarathons race series. Bounder Bruce Smith’s description of his experience of the ‘55’ last year made for absorbing reading and remains a target for the future.
New Years Day arrived, I travelled to Ravenscar in good spirits, weather was bright if a little chilly, but no signs of snow, belting wind or torrential rain like I imagined. The village hall starting point was full runners competing in the 30 miler, setting off an hour earlier than the 15. I had a quick chat with Derren and Sara Sarginson just before he set off for the long haul, and waited my turn to get going; time passed quickly, nerves probably.
On the first mile, which didn’t reveal the ‘whipped’ mud that dominated the Cleveland Way (CW), I kept up with leading pack to a point where I convinced myself I was going to win! (at 14 miles I couldn’t convince myself I would finish). However the established running order was soon revealed when we made our way onto the CW, slippery mud underfoot making for difficult walking let alone running conditions. Thankfully this stretch wasn’t as long as the finishing miles and before long we were on an old railway line which allowed for ‘good’ running to the half way point at Robin Hoods Bay, an ordinarily sleepy village which today was like the Metrocentre on Christmas Eve. I approached at my best mile pace and in flustered enthusiasm was nearly run over by a car looking for the first checkpoint, I refrained from knocking on the window to explain the circumstances…I could hardly breathe.
After the first checkpoint, the route continued up the railway path before dropping down onto a coastal path (CW) toward a self clip, then back into Robin Hood’s Bay for the final check point. In this small loop I accomplished two short erroneous deviations which I later cursed out loud for the extra distance they accumulated (apologies to the lovely couple enjoying the views that overheard). The final section of the race was to make it back to Ravenscar via the CW with a climb to the village to conclude it all.
At 13 miles the mud had stopped me running and reduced me to survival motion, at 14 miles I looked back and saw another competitor closing in, but rather than run straight past he approached shouting words of mighty encouragement in a Yorkshire accent I’ll not forget in a hurry. I thanked him for it afterwards, it rescued my finish.
The doors of Ravenscar Village Hall were pushed open in a time of 2 hours 55 mins (10th). I arrived greeted by a young helper who organised the registrations, ‘Would you like a jacket potato?’ she said, breathlessness was my response. I was elated and proceeded to gorge on crisps, coke, sausage rolls, flapjacks, and of course a jacket potato. I loved the day and would recommend to anyone interested.
Hardmoors 15 was a culmination of the fitness I’d accrued over the last few months and I owe a lot of gratitude to the members of Blackhill Bounders who have coached, encouraged, and welcomed me into the club, spending time with them has transformed my response to fitness. As a consequence I can’t wait for training and competitions throughout 2013.
Happy New Year Bounders