By 'eck it's gorgeous up north

April 18, 2016

This weekend was another It's Grim up North marathon.  This time, it took place in the beautiful grounds of Temple Newsam in Leeds.


With a 12 noon start and the event taking place about 40 minutes from home, I was allowed the luxury of a lie in!


Once again I was running with my dad but this time we brought our fabulous supporters - my two daughters, Millie and Eva, my step mum, Sandra and my youngest sister, Finty.  Quite the family affair.


The weather was perfect for runners but possibly a tad on the cold side for spectators (especially those waiting for me to drag myself around the course)!


There was a marathon and a half taking place.  The half being 2 laps, the marathon 4.


It was a gorgeous route, probably one of the most scenic races I have done.  Scenic often means "hilly" and there were certainly a couple of corking hills around the course.  The first hill on the first lap made several people revert to walking and we had barely set off!


I don't usually appreciate hills but the second main hill was facing Temple Newsam House and the view towards the house, through the trees and flowers was rather spectacular!


The last of what I class as main hills on the course was a bit of a beast - a long drag up by the side of the golf course.  I managed to get around the first two laps no problems (I was lapped by the winner on lap 2 but this did not dent my motivation - he was fast, I was not) but on lap 3 I had started to struggle - the other runners were now mere specs in the distance.  Halfway around the third lap I started to stop and walk (mainly up hill) and then I would run a bit (mainly downhill!)


As I headed towards the final stretch of my third lap, a mirage in the shape of my dad formed before me.  He was running towards me and I thought he had doubled back to come and help me but he wasn't slowing.  After I shouted at him, he informed me he was actually on his last lap.  This completely confused me as up until then, I was dumb enough to not realise that we had actually been running both up and down this same stretch of track on each loop - no wonder the marshal at this point had started to look so familiar!


I took a slightly different approach on my last lap - I grabbed my phone and decided to take photos of the route - this gave me a valid reason to stop!!


Sadly, some of my photos do not do the fabulous views justice, especially the ones towards the house and in the section which I called "Bluebell Wood".


The last lap was a struggle.  I was extremely tired and had to fight the urge to stop and have a kip under a tree.  I had even given up attempting to run up the hill.  I just walked them, taking in the views.


A friendly lass, called Alice, who was helping to marshal for the day accompanied me/got me around one of the final miles and into Bluebell Wood.  I then only had to conquer the final beastly hill to make it to the finish.  At the top of the hill, a mirage of my dad appeared but this time he was sporting a bright orange beanie hat!  No, I was not hallucinating and he was not lapping me.  Having already finished the race, he came back to help!


I finished the course in 5:02:57 and to my utter surprise, I was far from last!


A further surprise, my dad had actually finished 2nd overall - a cracking result.


Even though the course was tough, I thoroughly enjoyed the day and I will definitely be back next year.


I highly recommend this race - well organised, fab and friendly marshals, a beautiful route and a beer and a beanie hat in my goody bag - what more could a Yorkshire lass want eh?






















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