Lyke Wake Race 2014

This is where it all began. [Insert essay here] [work in progress]
The memory of those earlier events is so strong that an almost Tolkien-ish atmosphere envelopes them. Kate and I made our way to the start by the Lyke Wake stone for 5am in plenty of time for our 5:20 start. We had hoped we could start a touch earlier but the Marshall was adamant and bang on time 15 or so runners set of along the road to Coalmire. The morning was clear and bright and shewed the promise of a warm day ahead but for the moment the running was easy and the temperature ideal.
The first climb if the day, up onto Cringle Moor? revealed the range of hills ahead silhouetted against the dawn and across the plains towards Middlesborough a deep golden mist settled,  with Roseberry Topping clearly visible.
The rocky descent to Lordstones brought the first refreshment stop-water and biscuits- before we took the path that contours around Carlton Bank. This was the first time I’d used this and it really is an enjoyable alternative to going over the top. Similarly with the Jet Miners Track which skirts the Wainstones. Both tracks look as if they could be hard going in wet weather but today all was firm.
The second checkpoint at Clay Bank soon passed and the main work of the day began with the climb onto Urra Moor and the eerie procession of boundary stones that leads you to the disused railway at Blowworth Crossing.
There now follows 6 miles of flat gravel track as the railway winds it’s way around Farndale Head. Long and monotonous but in many ways the key to a decent time.
By the time we reached The Lion Inn at Blakey we were beginning to feel the heat. The promised food was simply rice pudding and canned fruit, as well as biscuits. No salty snacks. Perhaps that’s all the top runners need?
I took a bit of time to get moving again but soon Rosedale head was cornered and we said a quick Hi to Fat Betty before leaving the road to head across the notorious bogs.
The springs were ankle deep for a good hundred yards but the groughs that followed were mostly dry and caused little problem and were quite bouncy to walk on. Shunner Howe soon arrived but around this time I started suffering with cramp in my glutes and calves ‘ quite rectitude at one point. Although there were no salty snacks available one of the checkpoint staff managed to find me some and almost immediately I felt the tension ease.
As we trundled across Wheeldale Moor Kate started to have tummy problems and had to dig deep for energy whilst jet system sorted itself out. I’d stopped running at this point and had settled into a quick walk.
The numbering sequence of the runners began with the early morning starters and continued until the 150’s for the 10:10 gang. As we arrived at the Wheeldale checkpoint there were more entrants around from various stages of the field and there was quite a carnival feel. Down to the stepping stones and up to Simon Howe and on to Ellerbeck Bridge. I was really starting to feel the heat now and I was very uncomfortable with my own state. I drank plenty but ate little. Kate had picked up by now and was pulling ahead so as I began to trudge up to Lilla Cross I suggested she went ahead. I didn’t think I could make 12 hours but thought there was a chance Kate could. At Lilla I felt wiped and wondered what I could do to improve matters when crossing the brow I started to feel the breeze from the coast, and I could see the finish. I kept up a 4mph pace until the top of Jugger Howe but started cramping on the descent. Again I wondered what I could do with the long steep climb ahead. Then I remembered the gels I had packed and quickly quaffed one. It had an immediate effect and I managed the climb comfortably and soon arrived at the checkpoint…