I ran this race last year and thoroughly enjoyed it, even with it having the first 3 miles all going uphill, so I had no hesitation in entering again this year.
My wake up alarm activated at 6:30 am to allow time for me to have some breakfast then it was off in “Sidney Skoda” to Scorrier where I had arranged to pick up Julie for our trip down to sunny Penzance.
The advance weather forecast had predicted rain early on for Sunday but clearing from the west, so I packed my running bag with an optimistic mind set…..NO WET WEATHER GEAR. How stupid was I? As I drove down the A30 with the familiar aroma of rotting Brassica wafting through “Sidney’s” air con system, so the heavens opened and my heart sank. One plus point though, I had packed my “IQ reducer” in the shape of a peaked running baseball style cap so at least I’d be able to see where I was going, as it keeps the rain off my glasses.
The race Start and HQ are at a different location this year. They are based at Penwith College which is easy to find (just off the A30) and it has ample parking for the small entry of runners for this event. So Sidney is parked up and a short walk through the college grounds brings us to the Race HQ and registration area in the college cafeteria. Today I am Race No 13 and Julie is No 12. We must have been keen, and on looking around today’s race numbers won’t EVEN reach 150. Entry on the day will be an option. I expect the inclement weather has kept the fair weather runners away…..am I not one of these? Why am I not at home enjoying a large pot of freshly brewed coffee and croissants? Probably, because I’m stupid, and seem to derive a strange pleasure from putting myself through needless stress, when I could just fester at home in the warm.
So, race number attached and slowly a small group of TRC runners gathers. Julie and I are joined by Jo, Rob, Dave, Richard, James, Gary and JFD. We gather for a team photo but JFD is obviously worried about contravening his modelling contractual obligations and refuses to join in. Either that or he is one of Britain’s MOST WANTED. Might watch Crime Watch and see if he features?
Outside the rain has stopped. Yes stopped. My Dad is obviously up there in the clouds in his Spitfire pushing all the rain clouds away. Love you Dad!
So clothing for today’s race is easy. Shorts, TRC vest and “IQ reducer” just in case the rain returns, but what shoes should I wear, road or trail? The map shows the race to be predominately on Tarmac but when we talk to someone in the know, the suggestion is that there are fields to cross and the off road paths are slippery. Decision made, trail shoes it is!
The start line is on the access road to the college. An intimate group of runners gather for the race briefing, where the usual keep left, keep right, keep on the pavements, no iPods, do as the marshal’s say, friendly cows, slippery paths etc… is broadcast to us. Then BANG some man to our left fires what looks like a revolver and we all race off before he shoots any of us.
Once out of the college entrance we turn right towards the A30, where we are guided under this road and out the other side. This is where we start the long ascent, about 3 miles of ascent. It’s a gradual slog, not a “North face of the Eiger crampons required” type of 3 miles. I settle into a moderate pace, (that’s “SLOW” to everyone else), overtake a couple runners and remain behind a few others. We pass through the village of Madron, before then being directed over a Cornish stile and onto a muddy path. I find my lungs protesting and there is a younger female who sounds just like me ahead. Coughing in stereo today folks. I reduce my pace to a walk to recalibrate my lungs and then find that the path leads to a Cornish granite stile and an orderly queue to cross it, so my walking will not prove detrimental at all.
We are now running across fields and not a cow can be seen anywhere but I can hear animal noises from behind. Not sure what sort of animal, but it sounds like it is trying to turn its stomach and lungs inside out. Ah, it’s the male species of runner, the noisy chest clearing variety, that seem to populate my part of the running field (not the grass variety this time). If ever there was a reason to wear headphones and listen to AC DC, then this was the time.
After the field and about 3 stiles in total, we are out onto rough, muddy, uneven tracks, passing Ding Dong Mine. Last year we were able to glance to our right and look out towards St Michaels Mount, but not today. The clouds are low and grey, but it’s not raining. The only moisture is from the sweat escaping from under my “IQ Reducer” and running down my face. Security Hanky activated vision still intact. Onward we plod. I’m still coughing, mind you, as is the Girl with Blonde single pigtail and a Tri-logic running top who has been in competition with me, in this irritating constant cough affliction. We are playing cat and mouse with each other but I’m sure it won’t last.
The downhill has finally arrived and with it, a sense of partial relief on my legs. I can finally pick up some speed and manage to pass a couple runners, who I have been following for the last couple miles. We are on Tarmac once again with no more trails or fields to cross. I’m not sure what my tactics are, apart from keep the speed up whilst you can and see what happens. The lane sadly is also being used by traffic, and one very inconsiderate Toyota Yaris driver, speeds past me with its offside wing mirror a hairs breath away from my non dodgy hip. I mouth something unladylike at this driver, and then watch as they try to mow down the male runner ahead of me. It’s times like these that I wish I had a Phaser gun like they had in Star Trek (the 1970’s version) and zap these inconsiderate bast–ds.
I continue on my way, and find the downhill this year doesn’t feel as downhill as last year. My legs are slowing and my mind is drifting in and out of day dreams. I can hear myself coughing….nothing new there you say……no, but the coughing is coming from behind me…….I must have died and I’m having an out of body experience, I think to myself. Do I panic?….well if I’m dead that won’t be much use will it? Then I realise the coughing isn’t me, it’s the girl with the blonde single pigtail and Tri-logic top who is now overtaking me. Phew, I’m alive but it doesn’t make the legs work any better.
I have no idea where the finish line is this year, and although my Garmin now registers 7 miles this race is in fact 7:24 miles. We have been routed along some pavements, crossed a road safely and now we are heading down into an underpass and up out the other side. Someone suggests we don’t have far to go. How many times have we heard that comment and still had miles to cover? I have a dilemma, I can hear footfalls behind me, I don’t want to be overtaken, and I’m struggling once again. I turn a corner and there ahead with about 100m to go is the finish line. I need to dig deep, push hard and sprint. I must be pulling G, as my cheeks are not allowing me to smile. I can hear cheers for whoever is behind me, so I just push towards the line, and thank god I’ve crossed it without being overtaken. Sadly my breakfast now wants to join me at the finish line. Breathe deeply, breathe slowly, and concentrate on not disgracing yourself. This is my mantra at these near vomiting times, and I manage to collect my Finishers medal and goody bag without attracting the attention of any St John’s Ambulance members, skulking in the shadows.
The TRC boys have all finished, Jo follows in very close behind me and in no time at all Julie also crosses the line. Time now to try out the facilities of this new race venue.
The Race info stated there were showers and as this college seems to be housed in very new buildings, we were truly spoilt. Us girls had shower cubicles to use, with plenty of hot water. No hair dryers though but in the toilets there were Dyson hand dryers to play with. No I didn’t try to stick my head in it to dry my hair!!!!! But I will add that I have never come across a Vending machine in a ladies toilet that offers you either “Tampax” or “Tic Tac’s”. Could be interesting if you made the wrong choice!
The presentations were held in the cafeteria so Dave, Julie, Rob, Gary and I sampled the tea and cake on sale and then waited to see if any of us had won anything. The presentations were due to be held at 12:00 but 12:00 arrived and the presentations didn’t. Rob became restless as he needed to go home for his afternoon nap. Well he is of and age when your body needs all the help it can get to rejuvenate. Julie and I on the other hand, are far too young to be requiring such a thing, just yet!!!!!!!
So, Rob and Gary leave and literally 3 minutes after they have gone, I have to pretend to be Gary, and collect his First in cat trophy. If it had been a bottle of wine that was being handed out, I may not have passed it on, but kept it in return for carriage. It is in fact a standard piece of wood plus a wildlife Calendar, I’ll dutifully hand it over at Club night Gary.
TRC failed in the team prize category. A team consisted of 4 runners and their prize was 6 bottles of wine. Now maths was never my best subject at school, but even I know that you only need 4 bottles for 4 people. I did drop a very unsubtle hint to the table of East Cornwall Harriers Ladies who won the Ladies team prize of 6 bottles of wine that maybe they had too much wine, but they just laughed. Well, I suppose there is never a time when there is too much wine?
So all in all:
- Car parking. Plentiful for the number of runners, with an option of an overspill car park close by. No field parking all tarmac.
- Race HQ. Brilliant, with plenty of room for all. Showers and toilets all clean, modern and well equipped. What they will be like in a couple years time, after the students have wrecked them, who knows, but for now, great.
- Marshalls. All very helpful and encouraging. I didn’t get lost, nor felt I could get lost and there were no issues at the road crossings.
- The route. It is a nice scenic route with a mix of terrain but tarmac features more than tracks and fields. You could run in road shoes, but MT shoes did prove very helpful across the fields and muddy tracks.
- Goody bag. What you have to remember is that this is a charity race. We were given a very nice medal on finishing, but the goody bag only contained a banana, a bottle of water and a health food bar. On the plus side, this was more than you received at Stratford upon Avon at their Half Marathon, costing more than double the price to run.
Will I run this race again? If the legs are willing, then yes.
Race For Wildlife (MTRS) Results, 2013 (xls file)
2013 MTRS After 9 RFW (xls file)