Report from Hana
Boconnoc 5 2013 OMG this will be the 4th anniversary of when I first started running/racing, with this event being where it started. It’s all Julie’s fault that I have become addicted to putting myself through needless stress and pain as she introduced me to this form of masochism 4 years ago, with the simple question “what are you doing on Sunday?” On the plus side, I’m almost 3/4 stone lighter than I was and I can eat chocolate daily……oh yes and drink red wine without any guilt trips. I suppose I could really just plod around the lanes lost in a world of my own, oblivious to the cares of the world, but no, I have joined the ever growing band of Cornish GP racers who travel vast miles in the vain hope of bagging a PB or better still a trophy. I put my madness down to my age, not sure about the rest of you though?
So this year they decide to change the race date from a Sunday morning to a Thursday evening and I’m led to believe this has something to do with us noisy rabble apparently waking newlyweds (I raise my eye brows as I type this). Boconnoc is used for weddings and it would appear that they haven’t included in their marketing strategy, a section of “keeping fit and detoxifying on the morning after the night before”. They could have a “Top Hat and Tails race”, which could help with their charity fund raising. Just a thought. Sorry I digress.
Thursday the 4th July, race day, and Independence Day I believe, arrives. The weather starts off damp and mizzly in Truro but by 4pm the sun has come out and the clouds start to part allowing blue sky to dominate. Anyone would think it is summer. I’ve arranged with my supervisor to miss my meal break at work and finish early, so that I am able to make the hour’s drive to Middle Taphouse and beyond (sounds like a location on Lord of the rings) I actually enjoy the drive to Boconnoc (apart from attempting to exit Truro on a week day evening, which is a nightmare made worse by road works) and Sydney and I have the opportunity to tune into Simon Mayo on Radio 2, and hear today’s confessional story, which involved Vodka, screen wash and young males who had been on “fruit juice” all evening. No Julie for company to update me on her recent travels, as she is travelling across from Newquay today under her own steam. The route we have followed in the past into the Boconnoc estate via a gateway by a lodge house is closed. So I follow the large yellow signs that have been placed out on the road side by the race organisers and note that several other cars ahead of me are doing the same. One of these cars, a silver convertible, (soft top down) has decided to pick up speed along a straight piece of road and in doing so; sails pass the right hand turn he should have taken. That will teach them for trying to look cool. “Sydney” and I (with no soft top to put down) are OK. The convertible on the other hand has to do an about turn and loses his place in the growing line of cars all heading in the same direction……….Race HQ.
The lanes around the estate are like an assault course for poor “Sydney Skoda” and his low profile wheels. There are white lines sprayed around large holes on either side of the lane to warn us of impending doom. Sydney has to weave left and right to avoid disappearing into an abyss. “Oh blast” I shout, or similar words to that effect. Sydney’s left wheel has plummeted into what feels like an open cast mine. Somehow we bounce out the other side, I say “sorry” to my trusty steed who conveys me past the Obelisk, and burning pyres in the woods before heading down the long drive on the approach to Boconnoc House.
What are they burning on these pyres? The odd witch maybe? If they are, I’m going to have to be very careful today, or I could find myself on the top of one of them. Or perhaps these fires are a new feature in the 2013 race and we have to run through them.
I really should have put my old trail running shoes on. The field on the right where we normally park is closed off and brightly dressed car park marshals are directing us into another field to our left, which thankfully is looking dry and mud free. I am directed very efficiently to a spot on the far left hand side and as I alight my vehicle, I am joined by Helen, Nigel, Gordon, Nick and Richard, who has ferried them all there in his very useful mini bus. Time to collect race numbers I think, so we all start to wander down the field when we spot a neat little row of bright blue Porta Loo’s. Well I can’t miss the opportunity of sampling the delights of these pristine looking Loo’s and nor can Gordon or the rest of the crew. Gordon and I peer into the naturally lit internals of these facilities and note that they are spotless, unused, well stocked and pleasantly scented (what I actually mean is there is no lingering odour of urine and nerves). Door locked and as Gordon and I are in adjoining cubicles it feels a little too intimate for comfort. I suggest some piped music, what I get is Gordon giving me a rendition of a song the title of which escapes me. These toilets do provide one conundrum. Where is the flush? There is no handle that you have to pump. There is no button that you push. No, these are: State of the art. Hygiene a priority. Ingenious Toilets S.H.I.T to you and me. They have, secreted away on the right hand side at floor level, a pedal you operate with your foot and hey presto the flush engages and all your worries are flushed away into the bowels of the loo. Bl—dy marvellous if you ask me. Gordon and I step back outside in unison, but there is no sign of Richard. A few minutes later he emerges with furrowed brow. It would appear that it took him much longer to work out the flush puzzle than the rest of us. God knows what a well oiled Glastonbury festival fan would have made of this? Any ideas Nigel?
In the stable courtyard we find Handy Andy with our race numbers, and sadly the injury sustained at Lanhydrock (see TRC’s face book photos for what looks like a snake bite at calf level) has prevented him from running today. He is going to be Handy though, as he has brought his camera with him. Damn I forgot to ask him to photograph the toilets. Wow, someone announces the courtyard toilets are open for use. These are the ones I raved about two years ago and then last year we weren’t allowed to use them, much to the disgust of many of you blog readers. You felt let down, but not this year. No queue apparent so I just had to revisit and see if they were still up to scratch. They were as before. Tiled floor, cavernous cubicle, soft loo roll, clean and simply furnished with not a patch of mud to be seen anywhere. If compared with what the national trust provides, then I would rate the NT at 7 out of 10 and these at 8 out of 10. If they had hand cream provided for us to use they would have scored higher, but I suppose we aren’t talking Jamie Oliver’s or the Ritz are we?
Time for pre race tarting. Nice cuddle and kiss from DE, another from IR and then a tap on the rear and a quick snog with CH. JFD, our other intrepid race reporter may not be of a tactile nature but at my age you never say no to a quick hug or two. I’m done for now, but my internal fire for….. Racing has not been ignited. Dodgy hip which has stopped me from running for the last week, is still not right and at this time of night, I’m more of a sat at home eating dinner and savouring a drop or two of maybe Merlot or shiraz girl ……… …..in fact any old red will do really! I explain my predicament to Gordon who then demonstrated how he ran a half marathon with a dodgy hip, much to the bewilderment of the crowd of runners stood around us, wondering what new warm up technique he was utilising. I still much prefer his Morris dancing warm up routine if I’m being honest.
We have quite a crowd of TRC runners today, with Rob and Wendy just arriving in the nick of time. Handy Andy lived up to his name once again, as Rob had overshot the car park in his haste to get here on time and so whilst he rectified this slight error, Andy was able to enter Rob for the race. What would we have done without you Andy?
Off to the start we shuffle and I find myself towards the front but behind the much faster runners. A very short race briefing is given with nothing of note other than the mention of sticky mud, one ford and tree roots. There is no mention of hoops of fire or burning embers though. 1, 2.3 horn sounds, Garmin activated and we are off. Off down the tarmac lane that sweeps to the right, just below Boconnoc house then into the woods. My right leg which is attached to my dodgy hip is doing weird things. It feels all wobbly and my knees keep colliding. In my head I feel as if someone has attached a rag doll’s leg to that side of my body. I’m still upright and running, so that’s a positive, but my motivation to chase after the pack is just not there today. It’s hot, my lungs are clogged and I’ve decide to opt for damage limitation running. I must get around the course without aggravating my hip further which is unusually sensible for me.
We now head off on woodland tracks where the going is sticky, as stated in the briefing. The ground has been flattened slightly by the leading runners but you still need to watch where you place your feet and swerve away from the odd stinging nettle, bramble or tree root. My laces haven’t been undone by the undergrowth and the mud doesn’t suck at the soles of my shoes, so this section isn’t too arduous, but before long we reach a ford and there is no option but to run straight through it. Luckily it isn’t very wide and the water is clear so we can see the bottom. It is ankle deep, so the feet will get wet but not too badly. Now it’s a long climb up through woodland paths, rob passes me and passes comment on my coughing and spluttering. “Hay fever?” he asks. Can I muster enough breath to answer? Just about, and inform him that this has been my normal response to hills for many many month’s. I put it down to being allergic to the damp Cornish Climate.
The path levels out and woodland tracks take us on a tour of the estate. It truth I have no idea where I am but the marshals are placed where needed and we do not get lost. This is truly liberating after two recent incidences of going the wrong way in races and yes I’m still smarting about the extra mile at Imerys and the 3 miles lost at Lanhydrock. Grrrrr! We cross some tarmac, run along some tarmac, slip slide along some more woodland tracks and we are now heading down hill for the final mile or so. It has been a very civilised race, with no pushing, shoving, spitting at a minimal and not a puff of wind to be smelt.
It is during the last mile that you find yourself at the bottom of the hill. To most it is something you just race up, to others you just plod up, today for me I walk up. At the top you go back out onto tarmac and after that my mind strays and before long I find myself sprinting, well sort of. The downhill adds momentum to my flow of movement, which in turn makes my legs go faster, not that I have any control over them. Down the tarmac drive and up the slope to the courtyard and the finish line I run, cheered on by loud cries of encouragement from David. I cross the line, hip slightly niggling but my rag doll leg is feeling more like one that belongs to Barbie. I don’t have Barbie’s body shape though, thank god, because she would have trouble running with her ample frontal appendages.
I obviously look too tired to collect my race memento and pass through the finishing area memento less. David then dangles this very small bright blue thing in front of my eyes and once I can focus and snap out of partial hypnosis I see that it is a Bottle opener key ring. Well that’s a first. Not sure what comment to make really, but I kick myself to remind myself that this is a charity event and that is how it all started before it was incorporated into to Cornish multi terrain grand prix. Our entry fee was for a good cause and not for lavish gifts. I did prefer the china mug from three years ago with a photo of the house on. If they gave us one of those each year, I’d have a full set, then they could move onto cereal bowls and plates…….just a thought Boconnoc, to keep us race memento critics coming back for more.
Time for some repeat tarting. More hugs and kisses but this time it’s a bit sweaty, mustn’t complain though, it keeps this old crocs moral alive and kicking. Time for a few warm layers, then tea and cake. I opt for large mug of tea and scone with clotted cream and jam. Fantastic, but Cubert’s scones were larger. The main problem I have is how to eat when both hands are full, answer, give your cup to someone else to hold. Richard makes the comment “I thought all women could multi task” to which he adds “If it involves shoving things in my mouth, I can multi task as well” I nearly faint. Then both myself and Helen realise he is actually referring to food. Warning Richard, this could become the quote of the year, I can see your name in lights at the TRC Christmas awards ceremony!
The prizes/trophies were presented by a very charming, pretty and young lady of the Fortescue family. TRC came away with several trophies and there was no need for me to collect any of them as I can only describe one of our male party, as being like a dog on heat pulling at his leash hoping to collect any prizes on behalf of others. I won’t name him; he’ll know who he is. No prizes for me, but even though I had a dodgy hip, lack of motivation and walked one hill, I ran this race 2 minutes faster than last year,and came 4th in my age group.
So all in all:
- Parking, ample and due to dry conditions easy to get in and out of.
- Marshals. Excellent. Well placed and very encouraging to all us flagging runners.
- The course. The scenery is beautiful, with woodland paths you would not usually be allowed access to, but we made too much noise to see any wildlife. I did see a barn owl fly across the road ahead of me on the drive home
- Toilets. Outstanding, Boconnoc you surpassed all expectations this year. You could only better them, by adding flowers and some Crabtree and Evelyn hand cream. I suppose we could put a request in for a plunge pool, sauna and showers?
- Memento. Small and unappealing, for the majority of us female runners. For the men who don’t use their teeth to open beer bottles, very useful. I still prefer the Mug option of 3 years ago. Maybe we could tempt the Tregothnan Estate and Lord Falmouth to host a multi terrain race and have some of their wonderful home grown tea as a memento?
- Will I run this race again? I would have thought so, as it is my anniversary race. The only way I will start getting age category prizes again, is if I keep running until I’m 60/70 so that means several more attempts at this race……hips allowing.
|1||BREWER, Tony||0:29:58||05:59.5||Mile High|
|2||YOULDEN, Jamie||0:30:41||06:08.1||St Austell RC|
|3||VARKER, Darren||0:31:37||06:19.3||St Austell RC||Male Vet 40-44|
|1||ALLISON, Jane||0:35:57||07:11.2||Plymouth Harriers||Female Vet 40-44|
|2||STARKEY, Debbie||0:36:11||07:14.0||St Austell RC||Female Vet 35-39|
|3||CROWLE, Revis||0:36:37||07:19.2||East Cornwall Harriers||Female Vet 50-54|
Standings: 2013 MTRS After 6 Bocconoc xls
|Position||Name||Time||Pace||Cagegory||Position in Category|
|14||PASCOE, Gary||0:33:23||06:40.5||Male Vet 50-54||
|32||ADIE, Gordon||0:35:24||07:04.6||Male Vet 50-54||
|48||OLIVE, Richard||0:36:59||07:23.6||Male Vet 40-44|
|69||CHAPMAN, Wendy||0:38:31||07:42.0||Female Vet 35-39||
|80||MCGUIRE, David||0:39:32||07:54.2||Male Vet 35-39|
|114||DODWELL, Helen||0:42:15||08:26.8||Female Vet 35-39|
|122||POPE, Robert||0:43:06||08:37.0||Male Vet 50-54|
|128||KNUCKEY, Nigel||0:43:33||08:42.4||Male Vet 55-59|
|130||CLITHEROW, Hana||0:43:49||08:45.6||Female Vet 50-54|
|141||WILLSON, Richard||0:44:50||08:57.8||Male Vet 55-59|
|152||STAVES, Jo||0:45:35||09:06.8||Female Vet 35-39|
|157||DONOHUE, Lynne||0:45:52||09:10.2||Female Vet 45-49||
|164||JEANS, Nick||0:47:03||09:24.4||Male Vet70+||
|196||JOHNS, Julie||0:50:04||10:00.6||Female Vet 50-54|
|206||GOUNDRY, Karen||0:51:37||10:19.2||Female Vet 45-49|
Don’t forget to look at the TRC Flickr Group for today’s photos 🙂 (If/when available)