Race director Jon Steele guides you on this Yorkshire coast ultra marathon that will kick off your year of running in hardcore style.
START Runners begin in the parish of Fylingdales, which sits above Robin Hood’s Bay. You follow part of the old railway line between Scarborough and Whitby. Closed in 1965, it was converted into a cycle/walking path called the Cinder Trail.
MILE 6 This former train route is an ideal running surface, as it takes you through the North York Moors National Park. But here this section of the trail ends – although you will pick it up again further on – with a flight of wooden steps to descend.
MILE 7 Over a viaduct spanning the River Esk, you head along a cobbled street in Whitby before scaling the daunting ‘199 Steps’. These take you to the ruins of Whitby Abbey, which is said to have partly inspired Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula (A).
MILE 10 Enjoy the views over the North Sea as you head south along the Cleveland Way, the walkers’ route that skirts the clifftop. Look out for the former fog-signal station that warned vessels of the rocky coastline.
MILE 13 The undulating coastal path will take you past the lighthouse before going back through Robin Hood’s Bay (B). This village grew up around the fishing industry but today its quaint charm is a draw for tourists.
MILE 18 Leaving the trail briefly, you head through Ravenscar, which has been dubbed ‘the town that never was’. Grand plans were drawn up in the 19th century to transform the village into a flourishing seaside resort, but the scheme was scuppered when the developers went bankrupt.
MILE 21 Here you go through Hayburn Wyke, a beautiful hidden cove. Surrounded by woodland, you will also pass a waterfall that tumbles onto the beach below.
MILE 26 You’re back on the cliffs, with climbs and steps to negotiate as the path hugs the coastline. You will pass the youth hostel at Boggle Hole, a renovated former mill perched above a smuggler’s cove.
FINISH There’s a steep climb to mar the end of the race. Once over the line, you’ll be given your medal and T-shirt, and offered refreshments.
INSIDE STORY Jon Steele says: ‘When we started this race in 2011 it had a real party atmosphere because we staged it on New Year’s Day, and we still do. We found that although lots of people want to celebrate the New Year with drinks and friends, plenty of others enjoy marking it with a tough run. We’ve tweaked the course over the years – it’s now 31 miles. About half the race is on a smooth path, while the rest is on the undulating coastal path, so the route’s pretty varied. There are three big climbs and steep steps to tackle, too, especially up to Whitby Abbey. We have very generous cut-off finishing times because we want everyone involved to complete this ultra (or the 15-mile race run at the same time), whether they’re fast or not.’
Run it The 2017 race is on January 1. hardmoors110.org.uk