A tough second day of running through the Yorkshire Dales
Runners on the SILVA Northern Traverse have now completed their second day of running as they head into the night for a second time.
Today, many runners crossed the Yorkshire Dales section of the route.
After leaving Shap, runners must cross the M6, which marks the end of the Lake District and the beginning of the Yorkshire Dales. The route has less climbing than the Lakes of the previous day, but there are still small climbs to contend with. The runners then pass through Kirkby Stephen, where they have the option to sleep or press on over Nine Standards Rigg, crossing the border from Cumbria to Yorkshire. The terrain here is notoriously boggy, but runners are rewarded with gorgeous views of Swaledale. The lead mines provide some dramatic scenery before the route enters a flatter section, where runners will be relieved to see Richmond Castle in the distance. Richmond, at 183km into the race, is another support point where runners can shower, eat and catch some sleep – all with the support from the event team.
There was still some snow lingering on Nine Standards Rigg © No Limits Photography
Moods were still good in Shap
The first SILVA Northern Traverse runner, Kim Collison, came through at 22:17 Saturday night. He had a slick operation going on, grabbing some food while he filled up his water before heading out into the night. Second runner, Rory Harris was half an hour behind him. Lisa Watson was the first lady through the support point in Shap, coming in at 00:48am.
Kim passes through Shap late on Saturday evening © No Limits Photography
Throughout Saturday night and into Sunday morning, waves of SILVA Northern Traverse runners came into the support point in Shap – a steady buzz of excited runners keen to share their adventures.
Despite a tough section of night running, the atmosphere was generally positive in the Shap support point on the Sunday morning.
We spoke to Keira-Louise Baxter, who had stopped for a short sleep at Patterdale. She was feeling good ahead of the next section. “I’m glad I’ve got the rocky terrain out of the way. It was really beautiful this morning – we got the sunrise coming down Kidsty Pike, which was absolutely gorgeous.”
She said: “I’m looking forward to the next bit. I’m hoping that getting that extra bit of sleep is going to have paid off and actually put me in a better stead.”
Rupert Chesmore, a seasoned ultra-runner, had made the decision to run through the night.
“It’s hard,” he said. “It’s not just the climbing. It’s the surface. There’s lots of rocks and stone, it’s hard to negotiate.”
Karen Nash crossing the moors © No Limits Photography
Runners were more spread out in Kirkby Stephen
At the support point in Kirkby Stephen, the event team were well-prepared for the runners, with a host of food options to enjoy, including chips, cawl, soup, cake and crisps. There were also tents up so that runners could enjoy some well-deserved rest.
There was a mixture of moods at the support point. Many runners were exhausted after their journey of 128km, but people were generally enjoying themselves, in spite of the pain. Many people were particularly looking forward to a lie down before tackling the climb up Nine Standards Rigg. Friendships were already forming with people gravitating towards those with a similar pace to them.
Resting, eating and getting sorted out at the Kirkby Stephen support point © No Limits Photography
We managed to catch a few of the runners as they came into the support point.
Alex Loach was looking tired, but in good spirits, as he came running up the road. “It’s tough!” he said. “I’m enjoying it. There’s no water on the course. I tried to get a bit of sleep in Patterdale unsuccessfully, so I left at 2 in the morning.”
Julian Wareham and David Jones were keen to make the most of the daylight. David said “We’ll get across Nine Standards in daylight and then across to Keld”.
Jean-Michel Travers on the other hand was looking forward to a longer break. “I need sleep,” he said. “This is the definitely the next stop for me.”
Beverley Clifford is running the race with her brother, and the two are planning to stick together the whole way. She said: “I’m feeling good, apart from my feet.” The pair spent some valuable time recharging at the support point.
Julie Gardiner was one of the volunteers on the event team working in Kirkby Stephen. “People are coming in nice, manageable numbers,” she said.
Julie decided to volunteer having done many stage races in her time. “I felt I could give something to the role of volunteer because I’ve been on the other side of it.” She said: “It’s a learning curve for a lot of runners, and they do learn a lot about themselves.”
The breathtaking views of Swaledale are a route highlight © No Limits Photography
Fierce competition as top 3 ladies converge in Richmond
Further along in Richmond, front lady, Lisa Watson, took her first sleeping stop of the race. She arrived with Pete Watson (her brother-in-law), James Leavesley and James Parson who she’d spent most of the day running alongside. The party came to the support point at 16:10, where they wolfed down some curry and chips before heading for a few hours’ sleep.
Lisa was still asleep when second lady, Elaine Bisson, came into the support point at 18:45. Elaine was greeted at the support point by her husband and children who had come out to cheer her on. Elaine was looking forward to a sleep in Richmond, having had only a short sleep at Kirkby Stephen so far.
Hot on Elaine’s heels was Anna Troup, holder of the woman’s fastest known time on the Pennine Way. Anna looked like she was going strong as she strode into the support point. “It’s been a really great time,” she said. “It looks like the weather’s coming in now though, there’s a bit of wind.”
Anna hadn’t stopped to sleep at all so far. “We’ve only done one night, so it’s not so bad. We’re just excited about chips!”
Her running partner, Richard Staite said: “It’s a bit painful really, but that’s to be expected.”
Upon seeing her competition had caught up with her, Lisa Watson shot like a rocket when she woke up around quarter past 7pm, keen to maintain her impressive lead.
The weather was cold but sunny © No Limits Photography
Unfortunately, after an excellent performance, Anna Troup and Richard Staite dropped out of the race at Richmond. They are certainly not the first to retire from this challenging event. However, Elaine may still give Lisa a run for her money, as she headed out of Richmond just after 9pm.
The atmosphere was very different in Richmond to Kirkby Stephen, with even more runners opting to have a nap, and some people having their feet seen to by medics. Many runners had banked on getting a good sleep in Richmond, but found that when they lay down to rest they were unable to fall asleep. However, lots of runners were delighted to receive Traverse Mail here, where encouraging messages sent from friends and family, via the GPS Tracking page, were printed out to lift participants’ spirits.
The summit cairns of Nine Standards mark the crossing from Cumbria to Yorkshire © No Limits Photography
Kim Collison continues to maintain his impressive lead
While most runners were still in Shap, Kim was already a long way through the Yorkshire Dales. He didn’t stop for long in Kirkby Stephen, arriving in the early hours of the morning, over an hour before the second fastest runner. Members of the event team described him as seeming very focussed. He flew through the Dales, stopping in Richmond for a mere 20 minutes before going for the flat section through the Vale of York.
Kim is still smiling as he keeps up an excellent pace © No Limits Photography
Medical student, Anna Curragh, a member of the event team, watched Kim fly through the support point in Richmond. “He looked like he hasn’t even run. He was in good form and raring to go,” she said.
Kim is yet to stop for a sleep and told a member of the event team that he wasn’t planning to get any rest on his journey.
As of Sunday evening, he is still well ahead of any other participant, having made good progress through the Vale of York and North York Moors. If all goes well, he looks set to arrive in Robin Hood’s Bay Monday morning well ahead of the current race record.
It’s been a very tough day for our participants and the weather is set to be very cold and wet through the night. There have been a few people retiring, but still plenty of runners soldiering on on their incredible journey towards the east coast and Robin Hood’s Bay!
You can track their progress here.
It’s been a challenging day across the Yorkshire Dales © No Limits Photography