Hardmoors Saltburn Trail Marathon Race Report

Hardmoors Saltburn Trail Marathon - Highcliff Nab

Unusually for a Hardmoors event I woke up to bright sunshine rather than the usual grey skies and torrential rain.

I made my way to Saltburn Leisure centre where the race was due to start and got myself signed on and ready for the 9am start.

I was using this race as part of my training for the Hardmoors 60 and St Oswalds Way Ultra so having done a fast 25 mile run the evening before my legs weren’t feeling particularly fresh.

I decided just to take it easy and use it as an opportunity to get another long run rather than trying to race so I took off at a fairly easy pace and settled into a top 10 position in the first few miles.

By the time we had reached Skelton Beck I was slowly working my way up towards the front but just outside the Saltburn Valley Woodlands Centre I took the first of many wrong turns and lost a bit of time before realising I was wrong.

It wasn’t long before we reached Saltburn and turned right along the coast on the Cleveland Way which we followed for about 5 miles through Skinningrove along the cliftop paths. This was fairly easy running with the exception of a few short and steep climbs.

My legs were feeling the effects of the previous weeks training so I decided to just take it easy for the rest of the race as I had another high mileage week planned the following week and didn’t want to overdo it.

The next stretch to Slapeworth didn’t have the usual Hardmoors feeling as it went through a lot of villages and public footpaths rather than the usual open moorland I’ve become accustomed to in these races.

It felt strange lining up at a pelican crossing next to a young mother and her kids waiting to cross the road. Liek I said, not your usual Hardmoors.

It was only when we started the climb on Airy Hill Lane did it start to feel like a Hardmoors again but by this time I was feeling pretty tired and was having to push hard to keep my legs going.

We dropped down to the road crossing at Slapeworth and in Spa Wood I made my most costly of my 4 mistakes of the day.

Somehow I managed to turn left up the banking rather than carrying straight on and losing 6/7 minutes in the process, not to mention putting some additional elevation in my legs.

By the time I rejoined the course I had been passed by a couple of other runners so I set off after them and not long afterwards made my 3rd wrong turn of the day.

Instead of turning right to Guisborough Woods I went straight on, only realising my mistake when I got shouted back. More lost time, this really wasn’t proving to be my day!

I eventually caught up the runners in front as we headed along the Cleveland Way towards Guisborough Woods and the biggest climb of the day up to Highcliffe Nab.



It was such a hot day and the climb up to Highcliff Nab finished me off I think but I didn’t want to lose anymore places so after being given a big push to get me going again at the top myself and another gut set off at a pretty rapid pace. Just 10 miles to go!

I pushed hard towards the A171 crossing, doing my best to keep with the other runner and through the moors we started to catch a couple more runners. Looked like I could be on for a decent position afterall.

The last push towards the finish was a real killer and my legs just didn’t want to go anymore so I had to have a lot of walking breaks.

Eventually I could sense the end was in sight and I got a new lease of life in my legs so I picked up the pace all the way to the finish.

Eventually finishing in 7th position which considering it was supposed to be an easy training run wasn’t too bad.

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