Ravenscar Half Marathon (Base layers required!)

After the fourth leg of the Odyssey it was time for a change as I’d entered the Ravenscar Half Marathon, an event held annually and hosted by Scarborough and Ryedale Mountain Rescue. I left home about 7.45 am planning to arrive in Ravenscar at 9 am, all went to plan in terms of the journey however there were subtle hints along the way of things to come, rain started to fall and the outside temperature dropped from a pleasant 12 degrees at home to 7 degrees as I parked the car.

Add drizzle, rolling mist and a howling wind the 7 Degrees felt like a minus. I left the car park, walked the few hundred yards to the village hall to collect my number to see other competitors beginning to assemble wearing gloves, hats, coats and running tights. I’d planned on a shorts and vest run.

It was bleak and freezing, I hurried back to the car with number 263 to plan my outfit, shorts were the only bottom half option, vest, t shirt and waterproof golf top provided options for my top half. I was so cold I thought I’d wear it all. I headed back to the village hall to stand by the radiator. By now there was a long queue for numbers and the toilets, I’d had a windy wee against the car park wall.

The start was delayed 20 minutes which gave me time to decide on the vest over t-shirt option and leave my waterproof hanging up by the door of the hall. The start headed downhill through the village and past the Raven Hall Hotel which looked like your average, seen better days, northern seaside hotel. Onto the Cleveland way to follow the cliff tops for 6km, at times a bit too close to the edge for my liking. The Cleveland way runs from Filey Brigg to Helmsley and is 110 miles, one for the future perhaps?

Away from the sea and a steep descent, a few cow pats, a farm, a quick climb then onto the disused railway track which once held the Scarborough to Whitby line becoming redundant in 1965. Passing through Staintondale station the run along here was fast, and with a slight descent, the surface under foot was flat, fine shale. Perfect for picking up a bit of time to set against the hills to come.

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And yes, the hills came, well let us call them ravines, steep ravines, with steps, wooden bridges, boulders, more steps. Trying to climb these at pace really sapped all energy from my legs, eventually after a very hard, slow 4-5 km I was back on the cliff edge to join the path where the course had left it to join the railway line, 6 km left into a gale with one last steep climb up towards the village hall I crossed the line in 2 hours, 7 seconds.  The difference in terrain was highlighted in my split times, the fastest km, 4:29, the slowest 9:37.

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This was my slowest half marathon time, on probably the toughest course, shame I wasn’t 8 seconds quicker to break that 2 hour mark. Into the village hall for a medal, orange squash and flapjack. My waterproof still hung up by the door.

I always look to completing a half within 30-35min after the winner, and despite the 2 hour time, I was in that zone, so not so bad. A lesson learnt in being better prepared for the English weather with more kit in the car in future, but certainly a race I’ll revisit.

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