The race of the summer we’d all been waiting for (except Hana, see below!) has now been and gone for another year, but judging by the smiles and laughter on everyone’s faces back at the clubhouse (except Hana, see below!) it was worth every second of mud, sweat and torrential downpours. Our greatest thanks go to all the marshals who stood in the mud and rain making sure we didn’t get lost or fall down a hole designed for a white rabbit, cheering us on the whole way – and probably wishing the likes of me would hurry up so they could get back into the dry!
The unseasonable weather turned the race from ‘challenging’ to a real test of agility and balance as well as speed. A pair of flippers would probably have been handy! As well as streams to wade, logs to climb, stiles to cross and slippery steps to stumble up, there were a smattering of tree roots and deeply rutted fields to negotiate for good measure too. All this is seems, was no match for the TRC ladies Izzy, Sam and Tabby, who won the team prize for the 2nd year running! And (although no prizes were awarded for this), we’re proud to have a 2nd ladies’ team in 4th position that comprised, Helen, Holly and Claire.
Izzy, still on fine form, did us proud once again, crossing the line a full minute ahead of Lucy Hodgson from Newquay to be first lady home and 17th overall (watch out men, she’s right on your tail!). Sam (who really doesn’t like racing) was 1st lady in her category and our rising young star Tabby took 3rd in hers.
Not to be overlooked, Pete, who’s having an incredible season, was 1st home for the club, 1st in his category and 7th overall in a time of just 0:46:58. Close behind was Gary, also 1st in his category, 16th overall and just 6 seconds ahead of Izzy in 0:50:07! Helen, Alison and Nick also scooped age category prizes, putting the icing on an already glorious mud pie!
Looking through the results list shows just how well the race is received across the county, with runners coming from as close to home as Newquay and St Austell and as far afield as Bude and Liskeard. Thanks for coming guys, we hope to see you again next year for more fun and most definitely more mud! (Though maybe not if Hana has anything to do with it, see below!)
Meet your max 2012 or should it be called the DIRTY max?
Now I am a girl who really doesn’t derive a lot of pleasure from MUD, except for a short period of time when I was about 5 years old and would love to make mud pies. I must add that I did progress quite rapidly to real food stuffs to cook with and gave up mud.
So entering the Max was something I never intended doing. Until Diane happened to mention that the one running goodie I have wanted to see at the end of a race….running gloves, was going to be the memento for this event. NO choice then, race had to be entered…….Julie too.
I had hoped for some nice dry weather prior to this race, so I could avoid the hazard of slipping on gloopy sticky mud and filling my multi terrain shoes with the stuff, but on the morning of the race, the gods had other ideas. The heavens opened and didn’t close for business.
My supervisor at work had allowed me to finish work early so there was no going back now, I had to quickly get changed and head for Truro for the 7:15pm start. Now my mother always said, less haste more speed, well I should have followed her advice. Things were about to get nasty.
I thought I’d quickly get into my running gear as changing facilities at the Rugby club are to say it politely “Skank” , then I’d quickly use the work’s toilets (for the same reason). I had placed my mobile phone into the pocket of my TRC windproof top and forgotten to zip up the pocket…..I turned to flush the loo, water was flowing fast and yes, you are ahead of me….one touch screen mobile phone was heading down the loo. Sh-t I thought, sleeve rolled up, hand down the u Bend and one phone retrieved. One dead phone and still one race to be run. I was not a happy bunny. Was this a bad omen?
So as I arrived at the Rugby Club club house some 30 minutes later, to be met by a sea of faces all enquiring if I was looking forward to running this event. I simply growled. I handed over my cake donation to Steph, pinned on Race No 15 and watched the rain through what little window wasn’t misted up. Wedding ring removed and placed somewhere safe as I didn’t want to lose this in any mud. Glasses removed as, although I am very short sighted, I cannot see anything through rain soaked glasses so running blind was the only option. I’m not smiling, just growling even more. I state, “I will not be smiling for any photo’s tonight”
After a blast on the mega phone it was time for the race briefing then off to the start line we all slide. It’s in the lane that runs alongside the rugby field and it means a slight uphill to begin with before heading out towards Pencalenick School and into their grounds. It’s stopped raining and I’m too late to go back and grab my glasses. We are off and it isn’t long before we leave the safety of tarmac under our feet and the soft slippery off road terrain takes over.
I would like to point out that I am now running by Braille, My short sightedness means I have no idea what lies beneath or ahead of my feet, which would be fine if I had bare foot running shoes, but I don’t. I have no idea what the surface of the path holds in store for me and I am just praying that I don’t trip over or fall down a hole. This is going to be fun (I use this word lightly), good job that I had decided before the race started that I wasn’t going to race it, I was just going to complete it and try not to get injured.
So, the path gets slippy, then muddy. We are heading downhill and I’m still upright, which is a miracle. There are runners behind me and if one of them slides they could take me out in the process. I’m getting disorientated, another side effect of being without my glasses. I haven’t covered this area before so have no idea of what lies in store for me or the other runners. Before I know it, we are in a thick wooded area, the path ahead is blocked by a queue of runners and it sounds like water is close by. I can hear the sound of what appears to be people being put through the commando’s test, where you have to swim through a pipe filled with water. I’m starting to panic. Anyway I reach the point that has caused the gridlock, I have to scramble over a mound which is where I become very pathetic and announce “I need a hand over this”. Some kind male runner ahead of me assists and I plunge down into muddy water, the depth of which will without doubt cover my shoes and more. And yes it does. I’m up to my thighs in the wretched stuff, but I lose balance and I’m now sat in what can only be described as a deep stream, not a water filled path. I am up to my waist in cold mud and water and I can’t stand up. I’m squealing and male runner who assisted me over the mound helps again pulling me to my feet. The days of chivalry haven’t disappeared after all. “What the hell am I doing here” I shout. “I’m menopausal and approaching 50, I could have easily gone and bought a pair of gloves in a shop in the dry”. No one answers, they aren’t bothered about some silly old croc, they’re concentrating on the job in hand.
I’m now running in soggy, water and mud filled knickers and shorts. A disgusting feeling which again I have only experienced as a 5yr old, when I slipped into a river with my welly’s on and then walked the mile home. More woodland paths are run upon, and then the delights of a very large log, has to be negotiated. This was mentioned in the pre race briefing, but I heard rope and pull, not slippery slope and jump. The Pathetic female in me raises her head once again. I am not smiling, I just state, “how the hell am I going to get down this slope”. Two girls overtake me lowering themselves down into a sitting position and slide gracefully down the slope of their bottoms. Oh my god, this means there is nothing left but to follow in the same fashion. Dodgy hip is holding so far, but I now have to climb this huge log. For those with wood burners, it wouldn’t fit, but it would feed your burner for about a year. Someone has kindly cut a couple steps into the side, but this old croc is making heavy weather of this obstacle. I’m stood on top of it and I need to jump down. “Husband who plays golf”, always helps me in these sorts of situations, by offering me his hand to break the jump/fall, so what am I to do today? A male race marshal is stood there, so I tell him I need to hold his hand. As I’m still in growling mode, he does as he is told; I’m in “Don’t mess with Hana” mode! No idea who it was helping me, as no glasses on. Thank you though. Oh how I hate mud. Fingernails broken, and full of mud. [I think it was Jeremy at that point Hana!!]
On I plod, always conscious that I have runners behind me, but I can’t pick up too much speed due to tree roots and other ankle snatching items. I have picked up a thorn in my finger, but can’t stop to remove it. We are at St Clements village, and now we head off along the path towards Malpas. I know what lies ahead, STEPS, the dreaded STEPS that everyone talks about, but at least I can take a sort of breather walking up these.
So I walk up the steps and then onto a shaded muddy path. It’s a bit like cross country skiing here, but I’m still upright. We now go across fields and I have no idea where I am, but I hear Catherine behind me shouting go on Hana…..I’m walking so I need encouragement to start running again. Off I plod, and I’m now behind Richard. He kindly states that I can pass him if I want. I don’t think I do, so stay behind him for a while, and then I decide it’s time to make a bit of an effort. A couple of the TRC runners who I normally beat have already gone past me, I need to man up and get this job finished. I’m cold, soggy, not motivated at all and in need of a hot shower and clean clothes.
Can I hear people cheering? Is that the gate out onto the short stretch of Tarmac that leads to the field and the uphill section to the finish line? Is that John with a camera? I’m not going to smile for him; I’ll just utter some words of abuse instead.
I’m in the last 100m of this race, I have no idea where the finish line is, until someone says “you can stop running now Hana”. Thank god this mud fest has come to an end, now where are my GLOVES?
So all in all:
- Car parking facilities. The Marshals seem to have it all under control. I was being dropped off by “husband who plays golf” so didn’t use the car park.
- Registration….very warm in the race HQ and as I was going to arrive with not much time to spare, Julie had already grabbed my race number for me.
- Toilets and showers. I will not comment on these other than saying “SKANK”.
Wet wipes did for me until I arrived home, and this is the only race where I have had to use a nail brush to remove all the dirt from under my nails. I’m such a wimp.
- Cakes. Fantastic…all “homemade” and supplied by the trusty TRC members. Julie’s carrot cake didn’t last long! Big thanks to Steph’s son for manning the stall, he did a brilliant job. [Did he actually break into a smile though I wonder?!]
- Goodie bag…….well not so much of a bag, a hot pasty and a pair of pale blue running gloves for the girls and black ones for the boys. It was great to receive something we haven’t had before. Brilliant idea, whoever thought of that????
- Marshals. Wonderful. I didn’t get lost and it must have been a challenge to stay upbeat in the miserable mid summer weather with me growling at them all.
- The course. I hated it, said I would never run it again. I was glad it had been completed and when asked if I enjoyed it, I said “NO”. After a hot shower, hot mug of tea and a night’s rest and reflection, I actually think it was a good laugh. Something I could never take seriously and RACE, but one not to be missed, if any “Meet your max virgins” are reading this.
- So would I do it again? As above my first reaction would be to say no, but if I entered on the day and was able to wear glasses so I could actually see where I was going, I might well do. A wet suit would be useful. My shoes will need a long time to dry out and recover, as will their owner.
And One For the Mud Lovers!
Wednesday night and the heavens have been open for several hours. I am delighted at the thought that this will only make the course, tougher, muddier, more challenging and great fun.
I get down to the start and as we line up I realise, as with the other multi terrain races, the field has swelled this year as will the stream and puddles we are about to encounter. We are off. The first part is a swift mile of tarmac, allowing the whippets to get up some speed and jockey for position before hanging a sharp left onto the single file pathway through the woods.
I look at my watch and it says 6 min 30 (more of this and I’ll get a nose bleed). Into the trees, and the rain has stopped, but the course is delightfully muddy, slippery, undulating (read hilly) and “bloody hard work”. Proper running I think. A chance to feel part of our beautiful countryside.
The 2 mile mark arrives, the log by the stream safely negotiated, thanks to the foot hole cut into the side of it and my watch now has a familiar look to the average pace (8:15). Out onto the creek side path for a mile or so. Its high tide, the mud is all up my legs and somehow already splattered on my face. I speed up a bit and am delighted to see my wife handing out water (and encouragement allied with abuse) at the half way water station. At this point you think the worse is over, whereas the really tough stuff is yet to come.
Left along the footpath and then up and down through the trees, with roots to avoid and number of short sharp inclines with irregularly spaced steps and the odd stile. The corners are tricky due the slippery mud and I am delighted to be ushered past both Andrew Fergusson (this is just a pre-100 mile coastal challenge warm up for a couple of days time for him) and Doug Alsop who has been running really well this year.
We emerge from the trees and have a short tarmac stretch before marshal Nigel Mitchell, with a huge grin on his face, ushers to the right where we are immediately faced with the long stretch of steps which conclude with a further steep climb up the footpath before descending back into the woods (I must work on my brakes, as I career straight on and have to retrace a few steps to the left turn I was supposed to have negotiated in the first place), and back up out to face the last couple of miles dominated by tough stretches across the fields.
The pace has been roughly maintained and as we aim for the finishing line I manage a last burst and overtake a couple of competitors and delight at the relief the line brings. I check my time of 54 minutes and 48 seconds and am delighted as its 30 seconds quicker than last year in tougher conditions.
I wait to cheer on some other finishers and enjoy the expressions of the runners with a mix of joy, pain and several cases of “never again”.
I have to say it’s a fantastic course, thanks to all the marshals and organisers. No matter what anyone else thinks its one of my favourite runs. REAL RUNNING.
- 0:42:39 James Waldie, Cornwall AC
- 0:43:12 Tony Brewer, Mile High
- 0:43:19 Dan Rogers, Launceston RR
- 0:50:33 Isobel Wykes, Truro RC
- 0:51:33 Lucy Hodgson, Newquay RR
- 0:55:56 Revis Crowle, East Cornwall Harriers
Dowload: Meet Your Max 2012 .xls file
1st ladies’ team: Isobel Wykes, Tabby Allen, Sam Westlake
4th ladies’ team: Helen Dodwell, Holly Hawker, Claire Longman