Sunday 9th July 2017
This event has a long history. The 40 mile route links up ancient bronze age tumuli that are dotted across the North Yorkshire Moors between Osmotherley and Ravenscar. It is said to be an old coffin trail hence the name. “Lyke” meaning corpse and “Wake” meaning the act of watching over a corpse overnight. A race started on this route back in 1964, 9 years after the walking route was established. Formerly the Lyke Wake Race the more recent incarnation, the Lyke Wake Challenge, is now organised by Quakers Running Club from Darlington. The challenge is a handicap so predicted or previous times must be submitted with your entry. You are then allocated a start time that you cannot subsequently change without good reason. However, the organisers do say that they will keep checkpoints open for as long as it takes people to get through.
It was a warm day from the off but it only got warmer as the breeze dropped during the afternoon. I took the advice I had read about going on the low route around the 3 Sisters. This made a lovely change looking up at them from below rather than slogging over them as I have become accustomed to in the Hardmoors events. It also conserved some energy for later on. It might have conserved more if I’d have paced it a little better. It’s too tempting to run quickly when you’re feeling fresh.
I began to feel this early spurt after the big climb up from Clay Bank to Urra Moor (the highest point of the NYMs) where you pick up a long stretch of dismantled railway line that snakes along to the Lion Inn at Blakey Ridge. There was a well needed checkpoint here with very helpful marshals who refilled my water bottles and gave me some rice pudding with tinned peaches in.
After this were a couple of stretches of road before the dreaded bog section. I’d heard horror stories about this section. Luckily the good weather meant that the peat was quite bouncy. This is not to say that I kept me feet dry but looking at it, it could have been a whole lot worse.
The navigation was pretty easy from here. It was virtually straight across at every road crossing and because the weather was so good you could see the route laid out before you and landmarks were easy to spot. I could see the radar at Fylingdales from miles away and then once over that moor the mast at Ravenscar came into view.
This may have come a bit too soon after the Hardmoors 110 for me to have had a really good go at but it was a very enjoyable and satisfying day. I’d definitely do it again.
I finished in 8 hours 44 minutes in 38th position.