Lyke Wake Challenge 2018

As my wife, Emily, is an ultra runner, I’ve been watching from the sidelines for the past few years, so I decided to step up and try a longer run. As I was relaxing with a nice pint after doing the Monday night run with the Darlington SRG I decided to enter the Lyke Wake Challenge – a 42 mile trail run starting at Osmotherley near Thirsk. The route passes through the Cleveland hills, then North Yorks Moors and ending up at Ravenscar on the Yorkshire coast. I managed to twist my wife’s arm into joining me along with my sister-in-law, Helen.

Building up to the race day the weather was terribly hot. I’m not the best at dealing with the heat and usually get too hot even when running in the winter months. This was going to be a problem. On race day our start time was 6am and the temperature was already up to 18c with higher temperatures forecast.

We started off in good spirits and made good progress through the Cleveland Hills. We made it to the Clay Bank checkpoint in good time and had a quick drink and snack before heading up Clay Bank and onto the dreaded flat section. This is an old train track bed and feels never ending. This continues all the way to the Lion Inn where we were met by several familiar faces who were marshalling. This was the half way checkpoint and we spent a bit of time eating, sorting out kit and applying more sunscreen before setting off on the second half. By this time the temperature was in the high 20s with no cloud cover – too hot!!

With the heat and lack of rain the ground was really hard even at the (always waterlogged) peat bogs. I was wearing Inov8 Roclites which are better suited to muddy/softer ground and my feet started giving me problems at around 18 miles.  I was suffering badly and struggled to run on the really hard surfaces for long periods of time. After slowly plodding on, we made it to the next checkpoint at Hamer where we were met with more familiar faces.  A quick water top up and couple of paracetamol and I was back out. The ground here was a bit softer so I managed to get a decent bit of running in at this point, although still not as fast as I would have liked.

Flyingdales radar station appeared on the horizon but it seemed to take forever to get to it. We eventually got to the checkpoint at Eller Beck and had a quick turnaround – I just wanted it to be over by this point. I had walked the Lyke Wake several years ago so I knew that this was about 10 miles from the finish. 10 miles! It may as well have been 100! My feet were shot. On the plus side I had plenty of energy and my knees were good (I have had problems with them on long runs before).

We set off from the checkpoint, and at this point there is a large peat bog section. It was really dried up but was still quite spongy in places. I managed to get a decent stretch of running in before we hit the rocky path. Once here I found it virtually impossible to run more that a 100 meters or so at a time. My feet were hanging off. Emily and Helen kept plodding on but I would keep dropping back before a quick run to catch up.

The mast at Ravenscar came into view on the horizon, the finish was in sight! Keeping up with the run/walk, I slowly got to the mast. As we neared the coast there were lush green fields. The ground here was soft for the first time in 40 miles and so managed to get a nice run into Ravenscar and down the hill to the finish.

The run took over 2 hours more than we were aiming for. My choice of footwear severely let me down, but my legs felt fairly good afterwards. Next year I hope to get my time down by a few hours.

I don’t consider myself a fast or strong runner. But over the past few years running alongside runners of various abilities in the Darlington Up & Running SRG I have found more confidence in my running and made some good friends.

Lyke Wake Challenge returns July 2019.

Scott Beaumont – Darlington SRG

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