Blue Runnings

Race Reviews, GPX files and more from North-East England

Loftus Poultry Run

on 28 December 2015

I’ve been making an effort not to spend my entire paycheck on race entries, can you tell by my suddenly rather gapped entries?! Out of practice with this blogging malarky…late for this one too! C+, must do better.

My last race of the year was the Loftus Poultry Run, a first for me but one I’ve heard of before – I have lived in Marske and Stockton before I started running and it has a degree of notoriety! Hills, hills, hills… 5 up, 3 down. In keeping with its name, all the category prizes are exactly that – chickens, geese and turkeys, all ready to cook for Christmas dinner! A large proportion of runners go in festive fancy dress for the end of the year so it was time to drag out the tinsel and join them. I think the closest I’ve come to a fancy-dress run is the Mo-Run, and the most I’ve worn for that is a viking hat and big furry moustache and beard, or my tutu skirt and headress for the GNR – I don’t tend to go for a full outfit for fear of getting too hot or rubbing in places I don’t want to think about! (Once chaffed, twice very shy indeed!!!) How do we get round it? Hat, gloves, stockings, tail, ears – we go as the Cat in the Hat with a tinsel twist 🙂

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‘Twas a bright and sunny day in Loftus, but it was also blowing a gale with many-mph winds so my poor hat tinsel started dewinding from my hat past about 400 yards, and by the end of the race was devoid of stars and wrapped round my neck like green sparkly barbed wire with only tiny barbs.

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I had a lovely pootle round Loftus with one of the Bounder chaps, we went up and up and up the country lanes going oooo and aaaah at the views of the cliffs. The North-East is home to many fab beaches, further North of us they are wonderful quiet sandy stretches with dunes and castles, further South around Saltburn and Whitby they are fronted by large cliffs which rise up along the coast and plunge down to the sand along their sides. Most impressive. A break from the hills was not a break for the legs – we crossed a field of some sort of crops, don’t ask what, I couldn’t tell you if it was kale, cabbage, broccoli or something else entirely, but what was clear was that whatever the cliffs might be, Loftus is built on clay… Slippery, wet, slidey, not-passing-anyone, stay-in-the-tractor-trails clay.

We managed to stay upright and jogging along and made it to the roads again – our reward was moooore hills so off up we went again. This time our reward at the top was views of the cliffs further South towards Whitby (not close enough to see Whitby itself – will have to save that for another trip!) and out across the sea. We were talking about the views to one of the other Bounders after the race and she hadn’t spotted a thing! Head down in the wind and round the whole course without seeing any of the coastal scenery! Much rather slow down and be a nosey nelly 😉

We’d been well warned that the Poultry Run was 5 miles up and 3 miles down, so hitting mile 4 at the top of the road hill we knew we had to go up a bit more before we would come down again, end our loop and shoot down the hill at lightning speed back to the start/finish line again. That was the plan anyway. What had failed to be mentioned was that where we’d crossed a lovely clay covered muddy field on a relative flat to reach the road, we’d have to cross another one to get back to our starting lanes. This one was not flat. This was almost as steep as the road between miles 3 and 4, and slippery as buggery to boot! Some of the Bounders had said road shoes would be fine except for one or two short stretches but I was very glad I had not heeded this and had gone for my XC pink canoes. I was able to grip fine and continue up at a gentle jog, but my friend was in roadies and had to slow to a walk to avoid sliding right back down again!

We finally made it to the apex of the Poultry Run, looking forward to an easier 3 miles back down to basecamp, except we hadn’t taken into account the wind, which being behind us up to this point had been more of a hat & tinsel nuisance than a real hindrance. We were running straight into it for much of the way down, a few sheltered little corners where we could get a breather but there were other stretches were you had to run into it so hard it was like running uphill but more upright! We were very glad to reach the housing estates and finally come round the corner to the finish line!

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The wind had very kindly blown one of my gloves out of my hand and into a puddle when I was sorting water bottles out around mile 2 so I finished rather grubbier than I had started! And sadly completely lacking in hat tinsel. I do think I can moderately safely say I probably had the least hat trouble in the race though! That bad boy never moved. My ears were clipped on to my glasses, and my hat was safety pinned onto both my (fake) ears and my hairband at the back! It was NOT budging 🙂 No abandoned hats in the hedgerows for me, no-sir-ee!

All competitors got a long-sleeved cotton shirt complete with compulsory poultry picture for taking part, sadly they were out of smalls by the time I finished and the medium looks like I’ve been raiding P’s wardrobe, but it’s fine for lounging around the house 🙂 It’s not yellowish, it is white, but for some reason my lighting decided to be weird despite the fact I’ve taken photos in this room many times before…

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I did enjoy this one, even with the wind. I’d flagged it to a friend of mine from my old workplace who lives in the area and hasn’t got back into running for a while, so he mad-cram-trained for it and left me and G behind at the start, but it was good to have a hello/goodbye/lovely to see you again catch-up at the beginning and end. Maybe next year I’ll be able to keep up with him! Or at least trip him up and slow him down, maybe tinsel round the knees would do it.

It was my first Bounders road-trip; they’d organised a coach as there were enough people going, and they weren’t kidding about the coach trips…they had the shots out on the way down for a race starting at 11am! We did have a lovely carvery meal afterwards before back on the coach to head back to Consett. There was some very enthusiastic singing and calls for toilet stops from the back half of the coach the whole way home! Personally I was so full of carvery dinner (eyes evidentally still bigger than stomach even after all the running) that I just wanted to crawl into bed and go to sleep! Some more training needed to keep up with some of the Bounders evidentally!

See you next year?!

You can download the GPX data for this course from my Dropbox account by following the link below:

GPX data on Dropbox

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