Laura’s Hardmoors 40 (not 40) Race Report

Well, where to start? Nik (my trusty crew) drove me down to Beverley that morning. I was excited, nervous, scared, all emotions… the morning build up is like Christmas day morning… you know it’s going to be a good day…but not without its dramas.

We arrived at the Rugby Club to find Rodger and Toby there helping out. I got my number, I got my tracker and had one last wee. We all know that feeling… the do I don’t I need a wee lol then without realising it, it was my group – time to run. 3, 2, 1 and off I went! All you could hear was the array of Garmins beeping as they started – musical harmony to a runner’s ear.

So off I went, with a pace in mind, telling myself, “Not too fast Laura.” The first 10 miles was flat… but you’ve still got some distance after that so I stuck to my guns, refusing to get pushed along by the speedies.

The first 5 to 7 miles were interesting and I felt like I had gone back to World War 2: all of a sudden, there were loud bangs! I let out this scream…and quickly realised it was hunters shooting birds just off the path we were running on – this did make me move a little quicker!

Soon I was at the back of the pack. I kept up with a lady who was running a minute, walking a minute. I didn’t let being at the back bother me: that’s my comfort zone – no awards for this snail…. lol.

My parents were meeting with me at the 11 mile checkpoint with Nik, but something strange happened. Without any intention, I was a lot quicker than anticipated, and completely missed them…. yeah that’s right – I beat the car! Nik was there though to hand me my full fat coke and other bits out of the van.

So off I went and carried on, meeting Nik along along way. I made friends with a lady and we got chatting. Then we heard all this commotion: cows were going crazy in a field and we got diverted around. One of the other runners had been kicked by a cow and had to be taken to hospital. My heart broke for that runner: you know the hard work that goes into training for these runs.  Anyway, we carried on and ended up in a field filled with young cows… I thought “Brilliant!” and, what was more, they were surrounding my exit. It was like they could sense the tension as I trotted across the field. Like a scene off brave heart, they formed a line and started running over to me. “Oh pants,” I thought. I slowed down and walked along the fence and they came right up to me and just stopped. They just let me carry on walking through. Thank god for that, because being attacked by a cow does sound like something that would happen to me – that would’ve been just my luck.

So off I went, once again meeting Nik along the way with my drinks and snacks. Once upon a time I really enjoyed scotch eggs on long runs so I thought I’d have one…I bit straight into it and nope….not today and spat it all out.

I continued, check point to check point, up and down hills, and then something strange was happening. The snail was overtaking people. That’s right: me, the snail, overtaking. My tactic of keeping it slow and steady was working.

At CP 5 I sat down and had a lovely cuppa tea – just what I needed. And then came the long stretch: the longest one from checkpoint to checkpoint. It was really tough. It felt like the miles took ages. I made up some songs to pass the time and kept having pep talks with my legs. Then, like the sun rising on a summer’s day, I came running over the brow of a hill and saw this shape coming towards me. It was the Golden Eagle himself…Sean. It picked me right back up after that long stint alone. It gave me that last push I needed to get to the last checkpoint, where Sean would join me to run the last 7 miles.

By the time I reached last checkpoint, I was 41 miles in. Sean and Nik were there waiting for me. Rodger was there and Toby jumped up and gave me the best welcome. I felt strong, I felt good, I knew I had this now. Another can of Coke down and off I went. Running down the hill and into Malton was great. Sean kept me going: we started running/walking to keep me going and I was still overtaking people. The last 2 miles were the toughest. It was through the town and road. My calves were tired and ankles killing now, I just wanted a cup of tea. Then I heard cheers, “Come on Laura, you can do it!” The end was in sight. I passed Nik and Rodger to the finish line. At the top of a set of stairs (one last sick joke from John I think) boom…. I had done it! 13 hrs and 12 mins for 47.8miles. I was overjoyed. Couldn’t believe how well I had done. And best of all…. Nik had been to the chippy and got me gravy and chips…. now that’s how a race is done.

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