Runner's World (UK) - - Race -

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. hard­

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