PICKERING runners endured a day of navigational nightmares at two offroad events.
Both the Commondale Clart and the Osmotherley Hardmoors – both held in fine conditions - involved checkpoint confusion, with lost runners missing taped markings and adding extra miles over tough moorland terrain.
This year the ‘The Clart’, which was the second fixture of the Pickering Running Club’s league, lived up to its descriptive dialect with runners wading through bogs and deep mud.
First home for PRC was everimproving Russ Grayson, who finished in 47 minutes exactly for an impressive 34th position overall.
Battling it out over the five-mile course were Mike Wilson and Paul Smith, who came 41st and 42nd in 48 minutes 20 seconds and 48-30 respectively.
Unable to catch up with his teammates was experienced off-roader Nick Cousins, who had a slow start but streaked home in 49-01.
Simon Tyrrell pulled out all the stops to finish in 57.01 – a strong showing on energy-sapping terrain.
The first Pickering lady home was a jubilant Sue Slack, who like many of the runners took a wrong turn after the first checkpoint. She timed 59-57.
Shirley Tyrrell and Serena Partridge were head-to-head for most of the race, clocking 63-40 and 63-45 respectively.
Also battling it out were Pickering age-category rivals Philly Hare and Sally Brown. Hare fell waist deep into a bog but she enjoyed the fast downhill finish and came in at 69-50 – five seconds ahead of Brown.
While half the Pickering pack enjoyed the mud and bogs, others were lining up at the Hardmoors’ Osmotherley 26.2 series race.
Runners can run a marathon, half marathon or 10km distance over three separate marked routes.
PRC’s only marathon runner on the day was Simon Ridley, who clocked an impressive five hours 10 minutes 05 seconds – and more training miles ahead of his first official ultra distance race later this year.
While Ridley ploughed on through the marathon, five club members tackled the half-marathon with varying degrees of navigational success.
First home for the team was Mike Todd, who put in a storming performance to finish in 1-39-25 but missed a vital checkpoint and followed a slightly shortened route (12.5 miles).
Also following a different route was Steve Watson, who made a wrong turn only to rejoin the race mid-way though the pack. Fighting his way to the front again, Watson made a fearless break home to finish a superb seventh in 2-01-50. The six runners in front had all missed a vital checkpoint.
Avoiding the extra miles was Richard Todd, who followed the official 13.3- mile trail and made it back in 2-19-32.
Also following the correct route was Cath Watson, who put in a fine display to clock 2-24-40 – beating team-mate Bob Horsman who got hopelessly lost and covered 17 miles.