Harrogate woman who conquered brutal 268-mile race talks about ordeal

An incredible Harrogate nurse and runner who demolished the record in Britain's most brutal race over a 420km course has been talking about how she did it.

Thursday, 26th January 2017, 10:20 am
Updated Thursday, 26th January 2017, 10:22 am
Carol Morgan of Nidd Valley Runners Club.

Modestly-spoken fortysomething Carol Morgan, who is a member of Harrogate's Nidd Valley Runners Club, said the non-stop winter race over the length of the Pennines had been exhausting but enjoyable.But this hardy fell runner tried to play down her amazing performance in four days of running by saying the conditions suited her.She said: "Records on a race like this are such an arbitrary thing as the weather is such a huge influential factor, in winter especially. "I think Beth Pascall could have broken it a few years ago if the course had not been diverted, but unluckily for her it was. "Warm and wet weather like it was this year suited my running, I kinda like the bogs!"I can't say it felt unpleasant to break the record but my overriding motivation will always be to be out in the hills enjoying myself."Carol, who is an advanced practitioner in emergency medicine at Leeds General Infirmary, completed the gruelling course along the length of the Pennine Way national trail all the way to the Scottish Borders to take the women’s title and the event record for the Montane Spine Race.Carol was running every day from Sunday to Thursday, pausing only for occasional bits of sleep, in what is one of the toughest ultra distance races in Europe.By the time she arrived at Kirk Yetholm in a total time of 109hrs 54mins, she had broken the female record for the exhausting 268-mile course.

he scale of Carol’s achievement can be judged by the fact she finished nearly two days faster than the existing record.When she finished, her nearest competitor was still back at Hadrian’s Wall!One of the biggest problems during the race was remaining positive at all times and not thinking about how hard it was.Carol said: "Weirdly, it became easier as the days went on. I got into this rhythm of chanting internally left, right, left, right, relentless northern progress to myself when it got tough."The dark hours were probably the easiest as it was claggy and I had to concentrate on where I was going and didn't have a chance to think about anything negative. "The views were stunning during the day and throughout it all the company was good, thanks to Paul."I was tired at the end but I was still unable to sleep. I'm still eating much more than normal since the race."

Factfile: Nidd Valley Runners Club

Nidd Valley Runners Club, the smaller of harrogate’s two great running clubs (Harrogate Harriers being the other) was formed in 1984 during the running boom of the early 1980’s when the emergence of the London Marathon captured people’s imaginations. The club’s colours of gold and black were originally taken from those of Harrogate Town FC where the club was based in it’s early days.