Redruth Rotary Great Flat Lode report 2013

I have run this race for the last 3 years and before that it was the Redruth 10k, so I was tempted to give it a miss this year. The race date firstly clashed with the Tavy 7, plus I have won my age cat at this event for the last 3 years, so this year I felt sure my luck would run out. Could I face being defeated?????

On top of this, the weather forecast was depressing. A storm front sweeping in from the west with gale force winds and lashings of rain. I’m a fair weather runner and this did not sound ideal for either race.

So, I decided to not pre enter either of the two races. The Tavy 7 was definitely put on the back burner, as it’s location offers no protection from whatever the weather throws at you and two years ago, the race HQ marquee blew away overnight and the back of a Landrover had to do. Not ideal, when the only other mod cons you are provided with, are a couple of Porta loo’s.

Julie decided she would run the Redruth race if it wasn’t raining, so on pulling the curtains back at 07:00 on the morning of Sunday 27th, there was faint glimmer of something similar to sunshine in the sky and fast moving clouds. Decision made, I’ll enter so txt sent to Julie and we would meet at the race HQ, Redruth Cricket club. We couldn’t let the Redruth Rotary club down, could we?

“Sidney Skoda” and I took a gentle drive via Chacewater and Scorrier to the metropolis of Redruth. I once used to cover this area in my past life as police officer, in the era that the TV series “Ashes to Ashes “ is based on. An era where females were very scarce on the ground in that profession. I can remember driving my Panda Car (for the younger readers amongst us, we had pale blue and white cars painted in a Panda stripe design back then with Vinyl seats that you stuck to in the warm summer months and steering wheels ingrained in Fish and Chip grease) through the main street of Redruth and the pedestrians stopped what they were doing and stared at me as if I had three heads. It was an education and “Ashes to Ashes” is scarily quite accurate in it’s portrayal of that time in the Police Force.

I arrive at race HQ early, too early really, but at least I get priority parking, with “Sidney” parked in what I would consider quite a safe spot….until a lady of a certain age, that’s older than me, arrives in a very large flash Mercedes. She is directed into the parking spot next to me. Fingers and toes crossed….phew she’s parked. Sidney is safe for now.

I pop into the Cricket club, to be greeted by the usual two friendly faces at the desk completing the registration. “we were worried you weren’t going to enter this year” they say. I’ve become a fixture at this event it seems. “are you still writing your blog?” was the next comment, before I am issued with race No 57 and then move onto the chap selling raffle tickets on the next table. “I knew I could rely on you” he says. We squeeze each others hands……………..yes hands, nothing else, before I search the room for familiar faces. Rob from TRC is there as is JFD.

Outside I have a chat with Pat and R from Hayle runners. They have a lovely warm camper van with luxurious roomy seats. I’m invited in, and you know what, I could have quite happily spent a lazy morning sat there drinking coffee and chatting, running through mud and strong winds was not looking too inviting!

Julie arrives and we have done one of our usual tricks, of wearing the same outfit. This is a cardinal sin if you are a woman. You’re thinking…well you do run for the same club, so you would be wearing the same outfit/colours. No, I’m talking what we wear over the top. We had this problem years ago, when we both played squash. When it came to the squash club championships and we played each other in the finals, we would have to discuss what we both intended to wear, otherwise we would end up in the same kit.

I’m rambling again, sorry, it’s an age thing. JFD asks “are you going to turn into a water feature today?” I don’t think that is likely, but I may end up in or falling into an assortment of water features on the off road sections of this race after all the rain we have had recently.

Time to disrobe and wander to the start line. I’m wearing shorts, base layer T shirt, TRC running vest and “IQ” reducer. I’m shivering, so I then add my “boil in the bag” (our Diane gave it this name) Adidas wind proof. I now feel a little warmer and if things get too hot, I can always tie it around my waist.

TRC has a small team of three men and three ladies running today. I scan the horizon for the elusive Steve Rawson, but he is nowhere to be seen. I also scan the area for possible contenders in the 50-54 age cat that I run in. I spot one lady who I don’t recognise, who may be a threat in the prize stakes. (There is only a prize for 1st place in each cat you see) I’m not very good guessing ages but this lady has some grey hair, not as much as my au natural look and a running club vest from Cumberland, now that is a long way to travel for a 5 mile race. This means I have no idea what her standard of running is and I feel doubt in my ability to do well today, seeping through my veins. So what race tactics should I adopt? Having spied all neatly lined up on the table in the Race HQ, bottles of wine instead of wooden trophies, I decide I need to put some effort in……………my lungs on the other hand disagree. Damp Cornish weather is not ideal for my lungs and this morning they are not very happy. Sorry folks, I maybe coughing for all 5 miles.

The start line is in the road outside the Cricket grounds. A very well behaved smallish group of predominately senior runners, of which I am one, gather along the pavements and edges of the roads. Then we all huddle at the start line. I ask Phil to hit me on my back. He thinks I’m joking and places a very gentle slap on my back. “No, hit me hard please” I demand, so two hard slaps later I think I can breath again. I think I need new lungs really, don’t you? I don’t remember hearing any race briefing only a very pathetic blast from a hooter which sent all of us runners frantically searching for start buttons on our GPS watches.

We run to the end of this road then turn left along more residential roads. The terrain is flat to slightly uphill and I’m running at an uncomfortable pace. My thighs are burning and feel like they are going to explode. Now that could be messy and embarrassing. Lungs, OK-ish. Body temperature rising, could my choice of clothing be a mistake? Only time will tell. I’m having to do a little weaving here and there but things aren’t too congested on this road.. Juliet overtakes…Go you. She is looking very strong today and I don’t think I will be able to catch her.

Soon we are running downhill which is a relief, but when you go down, you soon have to go back up. We are only at mile 1, when some younger male to my left starts to walk and announces, “Great Flat Lode, this is anything but flat”. I want to say “get a life mate, man up and in future do some homework, if flat is all you can manage”. I try to explain that the Great Flat Lode is :
Lode is a huge mineral-bearing body located to the south of Carn Brea in West Cornwall. It gains its name from its unusually small gradient of about 10 degrees to the horizontal. Normally lodes lie at between 60 and 90 degrees to the horizontal. “Lode” is a Cornish mining term for a mineral vein. Its small gradient allowed for optimal location of the mines. Its discovery in c.1870 was a huge boost to the Cornish mining industry which was in decline at the time. Many of the mines amalgamated and continued production until the First World War. (Thank you Wikipedia) and not a reference to the terrain. I don’t think he heard any of this, my explanation was an abridged version of the above, and I didn’t see him again to discuss the description any further.

Soon we are on a FLAT Concrete section above Tregajorran Camp site and my main concern was avoiding all the dog Crap, that inconsiderate dog walkers had left behind. It would only provide a short respite as before too long it was uphill once again. In fact the first 3 miles of this race is predominately uphill with just a couple breaks to this pattern.

We run along muddy uneven paths, tarmac roads and more paths. We are encouraged along the way by cheerful race marshals and stopped in our tracks a couple times, by the sheer strength of the wind. The lady in the Cumberland race vest is playing cat and mouse with me. She overtakes me on the hills from time to time and I go past on the flatter sections. This is becoming a mental challenge as well as a physical one, that I’m not sure I can maintain. I try to visualise the table with all the bottles of wine on back at the race HQ, and I start to regain my composure and some strength of character. Would I have done the same for a piece of wood?

I’ve decline the drinks offered at the water station and then another male comes along side and asks “are there any more hills”. To be honest at this point even I wasn’t sure, but I decided to play safe and say, “yes”. I felt I couldn’t be responsible for someone hitting the wall, because I said it was all down here from now!

At mile 3 things do get better apart from it starting to rain. We are on a sandy track where far in the distance I can see all the race leaders disappearing over the horizon. Lady in Cumberland shirt is ahead once again. Grrrr! So this is when I decide to engage 4th gear instead of the fuel efficient 5th gear I’ve been ambling in. If I was a Formula one racing car I would have engaged the “DRS” system. I overtake her and all I now need to do, is maintain this. If she comes from Cumberland, she must be used to hills. Maybe she is just letting her legs adjust prior to accelerating past me once again?

I seem to remember that once this flattish section ends we wind right and left, then go slightly upwards before starting the decent into Redruth again. I’m still ahead of Cumberland lady. 1 mile to go, I just need to maintain momentum.

Suddenly I’m back out onto Tarmac, and I know that it’s not too far to the finish line. I decide to pick up some more speed, try to glance over my shoulder, and I can’t see anyone within 10m of me. It’s the last 100m I’m dreading though, I’m not sure I have anything left for a sprint finish.

Sharp left we turn, straight onto a muddy little nip then the energy sapping soft grass final 100m to the finish line. My head is down, the wind almost stops me in my tracks and I attempt to engage turbo charge. I think I need an engine modification, because not much is happening in the legs department. My stomach on the other hand, is starting to go into reflux spasm motion and I’m about to projectile vomit. OMG, I can’t do this, not here, not now. There are too many people it might hit. I cross the line, bend over double and try to tell my stomach to behave. Deep breath Hana, there could be a St Johns ambulance volunteer close by. Count to 10 Hana.

That was the closest yet to disgracing myself, that I have come. A friendly voice asks “Are you alright ?”. I manage the word “No” and find a seat to sit on. I think JFD said something to me, so when Juliet brought me a recovery Banana, already peeled and ready for me to eat, I turned to JFD and with one brow raised I said “Can you hold this for me” I then went onto add, “whilst I go and get my camera”. He declined, but Phil kindly obliged.

A couple photo’s taken (none of JFD), a quick cuddle with Colin from St Austell, who then asks “if I win an age cat, can you collect my prize for me” “OK” I reply, “but I might drink it?”

It’s cold, blustery and damp. Time for some warm cloths (for shower options read last years blog) and a cup of tea. Darling Rob offers to buy me a mug of the hot brew, but sadly my “no sugar please” was misinterpreted for “one sugar please”. Rob had to drink two mugs, but the thought was very kind thank you.

So armed with two strips of raffle tickets each, Julie, Juliet, Rob and Myself wait for the presentations:

  • Juliet came 1st in her age Cat
  • I came 1st in my age cat (that’s 4 years on the trot now) I only just beat the lady from Cumberland, who by the way was down here during half term with her husband (who also ran) and her children on holiday.
  • Sadly no team prizes or raffle prizes for TRC.

This is a CHARITY race, which raises money for many good causes. You do not get a Goody bag just a small medal for completing the race, plus a choice of fruit, a bottle of water and a carton of juice should you want one. They provide Tea and Coffee, and at 50p for a mug of Tea you really can’t complain.

The organisers are so very lovely and welcoming, that you have no option but to come back year after year. I think Julie and I are part of the fixtures now. I don’t think I add any glamour to the event, I’m more amusement value really.

The facilities are in a time warp, but I do believe we had some new cream netted curtains in the ladies this year, hiding the void under the hand basin. The carpet is still 1970’s red, not quite shag pile, but we did have 11 rolls of toilet paper in the one and only toilet cubicle.

Will I run this race again……YES. I may have won my age group once again, but I haven’t got any faster. In fact this year I was slower. I’ll put that down to the wind! That’s the weather variety.