September 1st arrives, my 29th wedding anniversary, so to celebrate this historic occasion, I’m going running and leaving my long suffering “Husband who plays golf” at home. Mind you I’m also deserting “Son in the Forces” who returns to base today. Hormonal woman is becoming quite selfish in her old age!
Treggy 7 is a lovely race which I have run twice before. The atmosphere is always good but the travelling distance to the Devon border, does involve an early departure and an even earlier alarm call.
My pre race prep the day before, involved an 8 mile late afternoon walk with Husband and son. My pre-race Hydration was completed at “The Heron”, namely two large glasses of nicely chilled wine of the pink variety, whilst sat outside being plagued by pesky wasps.
Sunday morning I awake with a start……it appears dark outside and on checking my alarm clock; I find that it is only 5:30am. Too early to get up and not long enough to get some much needed sleep…Grrrrr. Why oh why does turning 50 make the female body clock, temperature gauge, and every-bl—dy-thing else go haywire. Oh to be 36 again! You men have it so so easy!
So, toast and Red Bush tea for breakfast today. Bag packed the night before, but as always I have to take everything out and then add a few other “just in case” items before I’m ready for the off. I’m the chauffer today. “Sidney Skoda” has had a little wash and Hoover for today’s outing and at the allotted time Julie arrives so we depart for our trip up the A30 to Launceston. Needless to say, we have loads to catch up on, so silence is not an internal feature of this little car today.
The trip only takes ¾ hr as the roads aren’t too busy, just loads of Sunday caravans making their exit from Cornwall. We exit the A30 at the second Launceston turn off and make our way to the cattle market car park. There are a few small signs pointing race goers to this location but they aren’t that visible.
Now this car park has a great plus point…………..toileting facilities. We usually see a small queue of ladies outside waiting to use them as we turn into the car park, but today there is no one waiting. BLAST! The bl—dy council have closed these loos as well. They are padlocked shut, there is no way in, that means no advanced toileting for us today. It may be time for all the Cornish Grand Prix runners to submit a petition to the council, as public toilets that are actually open to the public are as rare as hen’s teeth. If you go out for a long run/cycle gone are the days when you could plan a route around toilet stops. Now the only option is “wild toileting” i.e. hedges, fields and woodlands.
A gentle walk to the race HQ is required, taking us along the quiet streets of Launceston town centre. We pass quaint shops selling gifts, an ironmongers, and a nice little lingerie shop sadly all are closed so window shopping is all we can manage. The race HQ is housed in “The Eagle House Hotel” a grand, red brick Georgian former town house dating back to 1764 which is situated right next to the ruins of Launceston’s 11th century castle, the race’s finishing location. The sun has come out and the setting is quite unique.
I pick up my race number “54” and not one person says, “oh, but you look so much younger than your race number” no time to dwell on this, Julie and I need to check the hotel’s toilet facilities.
The toilets are hidden away down a corridor to the rear of where they are already serving tea, coffee and cake. There are two cubicles for the girls and at this point the queue is very small. As is the room, so as the queue grows it spills out into the corridor where guess what…….the men are queuing as well. This brings a smile to my face…….the first one today.
One lady tells the men queuing, that there are more around the corner, pointing to the inner sanctum of the gent’s loo. I’m curious, by more what does she mean? Oh urinals. Then I think to myself, “How does she know this?” Only to then hear one of the queuing males state “ we are waiting for the sitting down option” Just too much info for my liking, time to return to the registration area and see if we have any other TRC runners today.
Dear Alison has driven all the way to Launceston to hand out the Race numbers. How devoted is that, when your consultant still won’t let you go out running?
Gordon, Nigel and Chris are also here, then Wendy Appears. She has just arrived back in the UK having been in France camping for two weeks. Maybe she has been following my advice on the merits of utilising Red wine as a hydration product…….mind you, any colour will do if you are not a fan of RED! Steve joins us and somewhere Jackie D is hiding away. Another poor turn out for TRC, have all you TRC members given up racing?
The start line is in the town square, so we are told over the tannoy to make our way to that location. Baggage drop is in a marquee in the castle grounds and close by are a neat row of portable loo’s with a long queue of runners patiently waiting for one to become vacant.
We all congregate in a narrow street and wait for the race briefing. Wendy asks what the course is like, so in brief I explain:
- It’s a downhill start.
- At the bottom of this hill you turn left and take an undulating FLAT lane for about 2 miles.
- Now you have an uphill, section which lasts for just under ¾ mile, at the top of which you come out onto a residential street in the village of Tregadillet.
- It’s now as good as all downhill from this point, with one little nip at about mile 6 ¾.
- One slope remaining at mile 7 as you enter the grounds of the castle and the last 50m sprint finish.
- Job done.
- PB possible.
- Pain incurred……down to the individual and how much you really want to win, get a race cat or a PB, otherwise a lovely race.
The race briefing is as always hard to hear, but I pick out the words “Keep left at all times” runners never do that when looking for the most direct race line, they veer left and right.
Then I hear “funnel” and “all runners must go through the funnel or else they will be disqualified” My mind starts to wander. I have pictures forming in my mind of a Disney style flume and having to slide down this and onto masses of multi coloured plastic balls…………….I just like to point out at this point, that at work I had spent the two previous days in an office filled with the fumes of cannabis plants. Take it from me that is nothing like being in paradise, but I was having strange visions.
1.2.3 and we are off. I’m about ¾ of the way back from the front which is a bit of a pain, as I now have to start weaving around slower runners. Wendy who had been stood next to me has shot off. I won’t see her again that’s for sure.
Downhill we run, my favourite way of starting a run and my legs settle into a steady pace. We have to keep left on this part of the course as we are running down the main road and there is plenty of traffic coming uphill towards us.
One poor female motorist was stopped waiting to turn right across us runners. She had no hope, but the cars behind her weren’t too impressed either as she hadn’t left them much room to get past her. I was almost tempted to stop and tell her to move into the nicely marked out, with white highways paint, boxed area, painted there just for the purpose of waiting then all the other cars could get past, but I decided to let the motorists sort themselves out.
We turn left as usual along the lane with a pretty stream and old stone bridge to our right. Then it’s the 2 miles of high hedged, narrow country, flattish lane, where I end up with a male clearing his nose onto the tarmac right in front of me. Thank god I wasn’t trying to overtake him. Why don’t people carry security hankies like I do? They are multipurpose you know and nose blowing is one purpose they are made for!!!
I tut tut loudly at the nose clearing male but to no avail and then my nostrils are filled with ……..no not sn-t, but the aroma of sweet cinnamon. The fields have been cut and it must be dry hay that is giving off this scent. The sun is shining, my legs feel good and I find that I have settled into a pace where I take small steps, not long strides, and it feels good.
There are various styles of running ahead of me. I have the bum kicking female, rubber legged male where he seems to have feet that flick out to each side and arms that do the same. One male, who I have to say appears to be in an age cat or two above me, is running with his shirt tucked in. It’s not an aerodynamic technical tight fitting one, more like one that you wear tucked into a pair of casual shorts…..ah but he is running those as well. Mustn’t mock, because the most important thing is….he is running, as is the sweat, down his face and neck.
These lanes do increase the ambient temperature from pleasantly warm to bl—dy hot and as I find myself starting the HILL, my security hanky has been activated many times to mop my brow and clear the sweat from my eyes.
I have already decided to walk the steepest section of this hill and all around me I find others doing the same. We have a nice shady section here so I speed walk,of a fashion. A few hardy souls dig deep and run past us walkers, but only the fittest will be able to keep this up.
It isn’t long before I’m running again and I find myself at the top bearing right passing the residential area of Tregadillet. There are some spectators out to cheer us on but no one with a hose to cool us down. Perhaps we should request this for next year?
I smile. This is because we are at the point where we turn left and run along the old A30 back towards Launceston and its all downhill from here! Fantastic. I made the terrible mistake the first year I ran this race of thinking I should save myself as there must be another hill somewhere. How wrong was I?
So I decide to overtake Nigel who is just ahead of me and pick up my pace…..well fractionally, nothing too dramatic…..the cannabis fumes weren’t that performance enhancing!
I pass two Tamar Trotter runners one male one female and I recognise the female who had all the stomach problems at the Mag 7, as there she is once again, bent double clutching her stomach. I think she needs to change her pre race diet and not drink during the race.
A road sign warns of an uneven surface, doesn’t that go for nigh on all Cornish roads apart from the Goss Moor section of the A30? I navigate this rutted section without any problems and before long we are back into the suburbs of Launceston, being encouraged by friendly race marshals,. We are running merrily along pavements past the police station (husband who plays golf was stationed here before we were married, I frequented single quarters from time to time, she says with a twinkle in her eye)
So where is this funnel they mentioned at the race briefing, well I was about to find out. We turned out of the housing estate by the police station and onto the main road leading into Launceston town centre. We had to keep left until we came to a group of race marshals who FUNNELED us across the road to the other side and onto the pavement. All I had left to negotiate was the slight incline onto the last section of flat before the finish and this year I managed to run this without any involuntary vomit reflux coming into play. A race marshal was cheering me on and before I knew it, I was turning sharp left hurtling downhill and then sharp right up the slope through the castle gates and the finish line. I dare not look behind me for fear of there being someone in my slip stream about to overtake. I just dig in, grit my teeth and OMG a PB had been achieved. What a way to celebrate 29 years of marriage?
I walked slowly to the goody bag section. I don’t feel sick. I feel rather damp from sweat and we women do sweat like horses, well this one does anyway. My dodgy hip is OK; my left knee which has started to take over from the right hip in the dodgy department is feeling OK. So all in all bl—dy marvellous!
The male who had been marshalling on the last slight uphill came over to speak to me and congratulated me on finishing. Apparently he thought I looked rather wobbly at that point in the race and he was concerned I wouldn’t finish. It can’t have been me he was looking at, surely? Mind you I wasn’t smiling at that point or doing a royal wave, so I was probably looking grumpy, it’s an age thing.
So all in all this Old Croc made good today, and to finish off the event, I tested out the Porta Loo’s in the castle grounds……clean but the flush was ineffective, so not much use, then it was off to the hotel for Tea and recovery Snickers Bar. I wonder if Snickers would sponsor me, I mention them enough times in my race reports? 2 cups please Julie and sure enough two cups of hot tea were provided. Bliss!
As usual we waited for the prize giving and the ladies received theirs first. Emma Steptoe broke yet another course record. How does that girl do it? Down the age categories we went until V50 and muggings here managed 3rd place.
The boys fared better with both Gordon and Steve coming first in their age cat’s. Well done boys.
So all in all:
- Toilets. Clean tidy but short in supply in the race HQ. Portable loos more plentiful in the grounds of the castle.
- Parking. Plenty of space for all at the cattle market and free of charge on a Sunday. Gordon did find a mulit-storey car park that did have toilets, and apparently they worked a treat!
- Race marshals……great. No chance of getting lost and all roads crossed safely.
- Race HQ. Beautiful from the outside and functional on the inside.
- Goody bag. A co-op long life bag filled with a carton of Ambrosia rice pud, a vanilla pouring sauce, a Snickers Bar, Mars Bar, packet of crisps and wait for it………….
- A Calculator. A large desk style calculator, good for the aged who can’t read small numbers and a first in the race memento department. Not sure where I shall put it though, definitely won’t fit in the handbag.
Will I run this race again? Most definitely, but I can’t see myself being able to run it any faster.