The Rosedale and Hamsterley Marathons



Starting at Rosedale 


This is in Yorkshire and is a part of the Hardmoors race series.  You can do individual marathons within it or of course the whole series.  Describing it as a marathon isn’t strictly accurate.  Three of us got 27.5 miles and apparently that’s normal for them.  The majority is off road, so it’s a trail shoe job.  I use Cascadias by Brooks for all trails.  On saying that if its very firm like Kielder Ill use road shoes.

Davina Lonsdale, Dave Bradley and I ran this one.  It’s a long journey and therefore early start to the day.  Once parked up you go to the village hall to collect numbers.  At the hall we saw Tony Holland who had a stall of his company’s running gear.  Unfortunately the numbers getting registered and collecting numbers meant we couldn’t stand and chat.

Apparently it’s the easiest of the Hardmoors series, Id guess it will be basing it on times.  I found it easier than some off roads I have done but far more difficult that say Kielder marathon and the road ones I have done.  The terrain is a mix of crumbly large stoned paths over the moors, mainly uphill; some very good and firm, flat railway line type wide trails, together with running through peat bogs.  Alas for me very little of gods own tar macadam to keep me going.  This is very well marked route, I did have spells of being by myself, but it was fairly obvious where to go.  I nearly took a wrong turn at a checkpoint but as I could always see it, I wouldn’t have actually got lost.  The weather was damp to start with but warmed up later on.  At the checkpoints, these were well stocked with water, all had the usual jelly babies etc, the “half way” point had fruit, nuts, jaffa cakes and chia flap jack bars.  However the main talking point was at one of the later checkpoints where jam sandwiches and hot dogs were on offer.  I had a huge jam sandwich and I think it took me 3 miles to eat it.

For a fairly severe off road route the kit list wasn’t excessive.  So I could put it all into my smaller waist bag than my back pack.  You had to take a map and compass.  (Knew my 1980 s map reading skills would come in handy one day).  I always carry a jacket; it clips around me and folds up with a belt/whistle so it’s really handy.  No lights or long pants were on the list so they didn’t go.

At the end you run into the village hall, and give your number.  At that point there is sandwiches, cake, tea, coffee etc for everyone.  The medal and t shirt was quite good too. All in all for £ 20 it was excellent value, very well marshalled and well signed.  It was good and Ill certainly do it again.

Funniest moment was Davina explaining that at the top of the hills she was speaking with Adele (who was no doubt in Singapore at the time).


Hamsterley Marathon


A much “flatter” route than Rosedale.  A bit more like Kielder underfoot too.  So much so that Id opted for racing flats.  In fitting with that great decision the 3rd placed runner (Phil Smith from Ashington) had done exactly the same.  I have done this one a few times with NEMC, so this time it was actually put on by Sedgefield Harriers in aid of the club fund for a running track.  They incorporated a one and a two lap version, the marathon being three laps.

The knitting club was out in full voice.  Davina, Adele, Julie were added vocally by Susanne.  I hadn’t carried any ear plugs, so opted for a leg it away from them strategy.  Susanne was second lady (a week after running 69 miles in a day with “the wall”); the ladies were also 4th, 5th and 6th ladies.  All in the marathon.  There were also many club runners doing the shorter distances on the day.  Michael Butters was doing the marathon distance in preparation for his next Ultra.

Water stations were more than ok; we had two per lap so that’s 6.  I didn’t bother to carry a separate bottle for this.  The jelly babies were a variety Id never tried before, but they were great.  I think I lost a lot of time eating these!

T shirt at the end was good too.  Well organised and marshalled event by Sedgefield Harriers, about £ 20 for the marathon.  Again great value and closer to home too.  The café at the end is handy.  But I have never met such miserable employees in a place.  Would have been a great idea to replace them for the day! 

Interesting one for the Grand Prix next year (11 or 18 mile option, off road but good underfoot, inexpensive, supports a running club, good facilities on site, value for money etc).

Ah yes last thing the photographer took 6 photos of the ladies and none of the chairman.  Again a wise move!