Caistor runners take on 62-mile challenge in memory of captain

Two Caistor Running Club members have taken on an ultra challenge in memory of their former club captain who died earlier this year.

Out on the run. Photo Mike Wells
Out on the run. Photo Mike Wells

Moira Westley and Chris Ramsay ran the Hardmoors 60 2021, a 62-mile race on the coast from Guisborough to Filey – and they smashed their projected time as well as their fundraising target.

Club captain David Mannion had entered the race, hoping it would become his qualifier for his dream event, The West Highland Way.

He persuaded Chris to take on the challenge with him, and Moira agreed to do all the recce runs and provide race support on the day.

Moira and Chris at the end of the run. Photo Mike Wells

However, David was facing his own mental health challenge, which sadly got the better of him in February 2021.

Chris decided he would still like to compete in the event, and asked Moira to run alongside him.

Speaking ahead of the event, Moira described it as a: ‘big, big thing’ for her and she knew it would be: ‘an absolute horror’. However, she rose to the challenge and came in as sixth lady and won the F50 section to take the trophy.

Moira said: “It was actually a lot better than anticipated.

Moira with her F50 trophy. Photo Mike Wells

“It was really warm – just the sort of day David liked to run in, so that made us laugh.

“It all went like clockwork and at the end of it we both felt alright –a little tired, but we could walk.

“But we did it for David and that is all that matters.”

Runners have 18 hours to complete the course, but Chris and Moira were hoping for around the 15 to 16-hour mark.

Overall they finished 29th and 30th (out of 101 finishers), and in a time of 14 hours and 51 minutes.

Moira said: “We had some amazing support from our fellow club members who came along to cheer us on.

“They caught up with us at various points of the route – although they missed us in a couple of places as we were faster than they thought.

“It was lots of fun – so much so we are going to enter again next year.”

The other winner of Chris and Moira’s Hardmoors adventure is the charity they are supporting – A Platform to Talk.

This charity provides practical support in the local community for people like David struggling with mental health issues.

Moira said: “It is something that we feel David would have very much supported and approved.

“It is somewhat poignant this community group was established after the death of a fellow runner, Phil Merrison, just 12 months prior to David.”

Phil was a mental health ambassador who worked hard to breakdown the stigma and barriers surrounding mental health, and who was very open about his own experiences and struggles.

The group has a Facebook page where members can share and express their feelings through peer support.

They also hold events such as a walking talking group to bring people together and fundraising allows them to help and support individuals to access professional, affordable and accessible help when and where it is needed.

Chris and Moira set out to raise £500 for the group, but their fundraising page currently stands at £1,680.

Moira said: “We have been blown away by people’s generosity.

“The importance of mental health is being recognised more and more and the money we have raised will go to support people in our own community.

“Thank you all for your support.”

Chris and Moira’s fundraising page will remain open for another couple of weeks.