I missed the Newquay 10K last year for some reason, I think I must have been away in Birmingham and the 2011 event was run in a heat wave, with one lady runner requiring medical attention at the finish line. So what would 2013 bring?
My alarm clock awakes me and on looking out of the window all I can see is a pea soup blanket of fog, at least it isn’t raining.
I had given “Sidney Skoda” a Hoover and hose down the day before the race, so he would look his best, but it’s autumn, the time when all the spiders are out building the most fantastic cobwebs and the dew lies heavy on the grass. Poor “Sidney” is now covered bumper to bumper in these cobwebs and with the damp muddy Cornish lanes it won’t be long until he is grubby once again. I did try.
The drive to Newquay is lovely and quiet, just me, Sidney and the Fog. I arrive with loads of time to spare which is a good move, because it means there are parking spaces alongside the finish line of the race route and I don’t have to plough in and out of the field they are using today as the race day car park. Phew! It’s time for me to head to the race HQ, which is situated in the Bar/social club of the Newquay sports Centre and see if any TRC runner is handing out the race numbers. The answer to this question is “no, it looks like you are Hana”. So I am handed a folder with the racing numbers in and a list of debtors……or is that TRC entrants, because today there are no notes against each name to say whether they should be flogged or go to the workhouse or whether they can actually run. Honesty will prevail!
“Our Diane” arrives, smiling as ever and as she is armed with a biro and I’m not, I am able to cunningly move the folder of race numbers into her personal space on the table and in no time at all, her expertise in recording facts comes into play. I have sneakily delegated the debt collecting over to her. How naughty am I? If I was an animal I’d be a fox …………….who said Badger?
“8 pin Colin” saunters over. I call him this as he cannot run a race unless his racing number is attached to his vest with 8 pins. He asks me if I have any racing rituals that I can’t run without. Only my “security hanky” I say, but that’s for mopping my brow and blowing my nose, it doesn’t make me run faster. I have used a tissue before but even “Man size” tissues end up in small pieces stuck all over my face, so they just won’t do. Sleeves could be engaged I suppose or the bottom of my running vest, but then that would mean flashing naked elderly flesh and I’m not sure the Cornish Grand Prix could cope with that? OH by the way, 8 pin Colin is Diane’s Colin, just in case you are confused. [That’s not what I call him Hana!!! 😉 ]
TRC runners now start arriving in dribs and drabs. Julie arrives, she has made her own way over today then Gordon prances in. Now if he was an animal he would be one of those dressage horses. Steadily the numbers are dished out, the cash is paid in and we all head out into what is turning into a sunny day. Not too hot, hardly any breeze, so the potential for a PB is there.
The start line is in Tretherras road at the bottom of the Sports centre’s grounds. Traffic still needs to pass along this road, which means that the runners gathered in the road have to part to allow them through. Julie and I have a little warm up jog along the pavement. Nothing too energetic, just enough to check if one leg will in fact go in front of the other and produce momentum slightly quicker that walking pace. They do, so we head back to the start line where I decide to mingle about a third of the way back from the start line. As usual the pre race briefing is hard to hear. Words like pavement, Marshals, Police, Disqualification, can be heard but not much else.
Suddenly a pathetic noise is emitted from the loud speakerphone and we are off.
The start is a gentle downhill along the residential road then out onto the A3058 Edgecumbe Ave. I can see Nigel Ealing ahead, he can probably hear me, as I’m coughing and spluttering in my usual damp Cornish morning way. The problem is the chest is feeling tight and I can’t get much oxygen into my lungs. “SH-T” I exclaim, as I pass Nigel. Suddenly from nowhere “JFD” appears and glides effortlessly passed us. He wasn’t on our list of Debtors/Entrants, where did he appear from?
We wind along Edgecumbe Ave, under the viaduct when Colin (not the 8 pin variety) draws level with me and poses the question: “We were wondering how many points we would score if we stole your security hanky?” he then goes onto add, “We then decided we were too scared to attempt it”. Steal My Security Hanky, what a thought! Am I that scary? I think about that for a minute or two and decide maybe I am, but the Security Hanky could become a Bio Hazard as the race progresses, so at their own peril should they carry out their threat. Time to tighten my grip on it I think.
Onto Trevemper road we go and past the boating lake on our right. I check my Garmin and my pace is about 7:34 min mile and just ahead is Tony B who announces we are running too fast. A bit ironic Tony, as he then picks up some more speed and I have to try hard to keep up with him.
The route along Trevemper road is narrow, we all have to cross the road (the marshal’s do a great job in keeping us apart from the traffic), and then we run along the pavement next to the Gannel. Running on the road really isn’t an option as this is the main route into Newquay from Camborne and Truro. Thankfully there are no pedestrians to weave around just fallen fruit of the Pear variety (Conference Pear Tree that grows wild at the side of the road) to try not to slip on.
At Trevemper roundabout we are instructed to turn right across a small section of grass/mud before we head up a Tarmac track passing Trevemper Farm. This is the only real hill in the race and it appears to go upwards for some way, but nothing like the one in the Treggy 7 race. I impress myself, by being able to keep a steady if slow running pace all the way up, never resorting to a walking pace. My lungs seemed to have eased and are now coping with the effort, but the legs feel weird.
We take a left off this hill along a narrow lane, before turning right towards Crantock. The weird leg feeling is still there. Everything from the waist up seems to belong to me, but from the waist down I have the body of a badly stuffed rag doll. My ankles keep clipping each other. The legs are wobbly but are moving at a reasonable pace for an “Old Croc”, so I just let them do their own thing. The road is Cornish flat and I have no idea where I stand in the scheme of places in this race. My mind has been wandering in and out of day dreams and general Brain Fog. I dare not look over my shoulder for fear of seeing people chasing me down. I have opted for the “What will be, will be” psyche. Some keen runners will call this being defeatist, others will say I’m giving up and burying my head in the sand. I on the other hand just think I’m being a realist. I’ll do what I can when I can and be glad I can do it faster than many half my age.
So, Old croc carries on and the downhill section arrives where we pass Trevella Park and head back towards Trevemper roundabout. I can pick up my pace here and overtake a couple runners, but narrow lanes and “Snot stream” makes for an interesting 5 minutes. My “security Hanky” is also having to work hard, as I’ve sprung a leak from the top of my head and it’s travelling in rivulets down my neck. The sentence “you look gorgeous today Hana” will not come into play at this moment in time. Come to think of it, I don’t think it ever has……..I’m dreaming again.
At the bottom of the hill we turn left back along the pavement with the fallen pears with the Gannel to our left. Having run this race before, I know this is a slog and my legs are feeling sluggish but Garmin shows that it’s just over a mile to go. Dig in girl, just keep moving but I still don’t check over my shoulder to see who is behind.
As I reach the roundabout at the start of the boating lake I hear one of the marshal’s shout “Come on girls, come on Truro running club!” I just want to say “I’m trying” I try to smile but my facial muscles have collapsed and I probably have cheeks like a blood hound……if only I had its speed.
We wind along Edgecumbe Ave once again, which is a grind ever upwards and then back into Tretherras Road. It’s at this point I hear a familiar voice saying “come on Hana” as Sandie Sly overtakes me. Can I accelerate? Rag doll legs and cotton wool lungs say no. The finishing line arrives and a sense of relief that it is all over prevails. We all form an orderly queue in anticipation of what delights we have in the way of a race memento.
Newquay Road Runners have surpassed themselves. This year we receive a long sleeve, half-zipped technical Tee. We can choose a ladies size as well. Fantastic. Then we are handed a bag with crisps, water, banana, Mars bar, car air freshener and a tax disc holder. An eclectic mix, but all gratefully received.
Time to take a few post race photos’ (12 of them on TRC Facebook page [an open group anyone can join – even if you’re not with TRC!!] with me as the cover girl modelling the long sleeved T) then off for a coffee and cool down on the club house patio.
So all in all:
- Parking. Nice and easy for “Sidney Skoda” but then again I arrived early. The official car park was in a field which could prove tricky if you don’t have a 4 x 4.
- Race Marshals. Brilliant….all roads crossed safely. No one ended up doing a squashed hedgehog impersonation.
- Toilets. I didn’t use the row of portable loo’s outside as there were some toilets in the club house. The queues were short for the ladies, but they were situated directly next to the gents which had the door open with an unobstructed view right into the inner sanctum. I found myself turning to face the hallway wall like a naughty school child on detention, so I didn’t appear to be staring into the Gents. It took me right back to being at Junior school in the sixties, where I spent a whole week with this punishment……..facing the wall outside the headmasters office at playtimes, not staring into the gents’ loo. Not sure which would be the worse punishment though?
- The course. Not exciting, but it did give people the chance to get a PB. Not me though, although I ran it faster than the last time I entered. One real Hill, but a grind back up to the finishing line.
- Goodie bag. Very Good. Top marks Newquay.
- Race HQ. Very good and there were showers available as well, so plus points again.
Will I run this race again? I think I probably will. In the pain factor ratio it would score about 3 out of 10, it’s just getting the head around the final mile of grind back to the finish line I need to conquer. One Newquay female was apparently delighted with her result as she beat me across the finishing line. I suppose I should take this as a compliment………she says muttering under her breath. Where’s my Broom stick when I need it?