Saturday, 11 July 2009

Osmotherley Pheonix - July 4th - 33 miles

Osmotherley sits on the west hand edge of the North York Moors and much of this route uses the Cleveland Way - a 109/179km mile path from Helmsley circumnavigating the North York Moors National Park and following the coastline through Scarborough down to Filey.

Osmotherley's trademark appearance is a picture postcard scene of a market cross and stone table on the small village green at the t-junction of its 2 main roads.

One of the highlights of the villages year is the holding of the Osmotherley Summer Games and this 33 ultra run (along with 26 mile and 17 mile options) is part of the programme of events.

Its an undulating route with 35ooft of climbing (the steepest at XXX and the longest after 26 miles) mostly off road on soft tracks and well defined man made paths. This makes for easy navigation and gentle running around most of the route.

We started in bright sunshine with more concern over what factor suncream we would need than how many warm and waterproof clothes we should take. (At last a race in warm, sunny weather !!)
The route winds gently uphill from the village hall, meets the Cleveland way as it snakes through Arncliffe Wood and out onto Scarth Wood Moor. ( Great idea to have the first checkpoint as a 'bucket drop' throwing your numbers into a bucket as you pass along a single track path - makes for hardly any congestion before the field spreads out )
The moorland path provides a great view of the local villages nestled amongst the green rolling hills of Yorkshire and this trend of wide undulating paths, single track through forests and flagstone paths across open moorland was the feature of the first half of the event.
We left the Cleveland way at Round Hill and crossed the valley towards the Cleveland Hills. A mighty climb met us at we came out of chop gate and followed a low level path along the valley skirting Arden Great Moor. Apart from this one climb it felt a fast and easily runnable course, throw in the great weather ( even the breeze across the top of the exposed moors was warm !!) and everything was good - up to now!!
As we came out of New Hall we met 5km's of continual climb up to a disused Quarry. It did not look torturous, but after 26 miles it seemed to creep up and drain all your energy as it just kept on rising into the distance - definitely the hardest part of the route.
We then rejoined the Cleveland Way as we crossed Arden Great Moor and back to Osmotherley. There was one more 'kick in the tail' on this route - a very short but very steep climb over Middlestye Bank just before you entered the village.
I thought this was a great route (think back to the Wye Valley ultra which is the same distance) and as short runs go definitely one of my favourites.

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