Most people enjoy the Yorkshire Wolds Way as a pleasant stroll. Not so 3 local lads who recently set a fastest time of an incredible 16 hours and 37 minutes. Steve Braund, Robin Harris and Nick Riggs met this incredible challenge back on April 18th 2011.
Here Steve takes up the story of their achievement.
We started at Hessle at 5am. The first section to Ferriby along the Humber was easy to navigate with the light chalk surface and it was soon light enough to see easily. Our strategy was to walk up the hills from the beginning, so at Ferriby we had our first of many walks. This worked well and we soon established a pace of 5 miles per hour including our short breaks for drinks and walking up the hills.
The early morning light revealed breathtaking scenery and an ambience rarely experienced. Dog walkers were surprised to see us making our way to Filey!
By 9:30 we were enjoying a welcome food and coffee break at Lonsborough. There then followed a long section away from roads that necessitated carrying more drink than normal. This section also included the steep descents and ascents around Millington Pastures. In the warm, sunny conditions the miles soon passed and we arrived in Huggate just before noon. Our support crew was prepared with bacon, eggs, black pudding and cakes! This was our longest stop, but after 20 minutes we were heading towards Fridaythorpe and more big hills!
The next break was in the charming village of Thixendale. The steep climb leaving the village was no surprise as we knew this area well. Once on the top of the hill there follows a long shallow incline until passing the abandoned village of Wharram Percy.
Another couple of long climbs follow before descending into a valley and arriving at Wintringham. This is a little frustrating as the path takes a long route around the back of the village, adding extra time before we met our support team near the church. At this point we had run over 50 miles and were still feeling good. Our average speed was still around 5 miles per hour so we were starting to think of finishing before midnight.
From Wintringham the path goes up hill through a wood and includes one of the extremely steep climbs – more of a scramble than a walk even! The views from the top are impressive with visibility of 10 -20 miles. At last the sea came into view with only one more marathon distance to go!
Sherburn was another place to meet our support crew. Starting to run again after even a very short stop was hard now but after 50 – 100 meters we were back into our rhythm. Although our pace had dropped a little, we were still maintaining around 5 miles per hour. Things were looking good – at least finishing now looked probable.
By the time we reached Staxton Wold the sun was getting low and the wind started to feel cold so only a short pause to drink and we were on our way. More hills and steep ascents slowed our pace a little, and running became more difficult as it grew darker. However, by this stage we only had 10 miles to go and nothing was going to stop us finishing. Descending into Muston it was completely dark and we were pleased to pick up torches from our support team. Only one more section to go – a few fields to carefully find our way across in the dark, and then the lights of Filey were in front of us.
As we turned onto the footpath in Filey our pace picked up as we found new reserves of energy. The people of Filey were unsure what to make of three runners in the dark and we were soon passing St Oswald’s church and passing along the cliff top towards the marker at the end of the Wolds Way. Our support team were there with car headlights illuminating the marker stone. As we ran past the cars and to the marker we almost sprinted – to collapse exhausted on the stone! A few photographs were taken before we stumbled into the waiting cars and the end of a very long run. 79 miles and almost 17000 feet of ascent. The sense of achievement overcame the tiredness and aches. What a day!