I’m not a fan of short fast races as this Old Croc is a bit of a plodder. I may have come first or second in the 100yds (I’m a pre decimalisation child) at school between the ages of 12 and 16 but these days I can’t get my breathing or legs into any form of pattern until I’ve covered about 4 miles. As usual Julie my motivator and wonderful friend persuades me to sign up for this race once again with the words “Newquay do give out some great race mementos” (Fold-up garden chair the first year I ran it.)
With my race entry posted, an hour’s time off agreed at work and Julie picking me on her way through Truro, I had no excuse to not run this race. My head on the other hand was not too enthusiastic about the whole idea and mentally I was ready for a night in with a large glass of red and a girlie video. I mean who in their right mind volunteers to stand outside at the side of the road on a cold damp grey “summers” evening dressed in a skimpy top and a pair of shorts……..other than girls of disrepute?
Julie and I have our usual pre race facial warm up whilst travelling across to Cubert in her car. This involves lots of chatting and laughing. It doesn’t seem to be doing much for my “crow’s feet”, or personality lines as I prefer to call them, but it keeps my sanity levels fairly even.
We arrive in Cubert quite early and a queue of traffic has already formed, all heading for the car parking in the field near the parish church. We on the other hand have to stop on the order of a male apparently dressed as Scrooge (Fergie, I have to say it wasn’t that convincing and definitely not Dickensian) to let a car out of a Parking space in the Square, so Julie makes a bee line for this spot and neatly reverses her car into it. Nice move girl! No muddy or grass covered feet for us when we get back to the car later this evening. Fergie is handing out flyers for “The Scrooge” and suggests I might like to enter so that I can review the toilets. My nose wrinkles up at the thought, not of the toilets but of running/wading through chest deep water dressed as an Elf, Julie on the other hand has taken the plunge so to speak………mad woman!
The race HQ is not in the school this year, it has moved to the village hall. I was really worried that this move would mean the supply of pre and post race cakes and scones would not be available, but my worries were soon laid to rest as I walked in, and saw a row of lovely ladies of a certain age, manning a long table adorned with calorie laden goodies. I felt the need to go over to speak with the ladies and inform them of my post race requirements. I was assured they would be able to meet my demands, so now it was time to pin race number to vest and chat to the other TRC runners who were gathering.
Time to check out the toilets I think. I had spied some toilets in the village hall when I first walked in, so I headed for these rather than to Green Turdi as JFD calls them, situated outside in the adjacent field along with a bouncy castle and a BBQ. There are only two other ladies in the queue, for the two doors marked with the “Ladies logo” and one with a disabled sign. The men had a toilet as well, but we weren’t giving them the option of the unisex disabled one!
The disabled one comes free so in I go. It is fairly spacious room with a grey tiled floor and crisp white sanitary ware. It is clean and very airy due to a small window in the larger frosted glass one, being open. I’m not convinced the frostiness of the glass actually gave me much privacy and with the window being quite low anyone could have peered through the top opening section. If the light had been on I think the visual effect for the outside world would have been a bit like “soft focus” on a camera. Anyway all was good apart from the flushing mechanism which was very feeble and not doing what it should do, and that’s flush!
Back to the main hall I go, time to consume some Kendal Mint cake, just the one square (well it’s a rectangle actually) as it’s only a 5 mile race where as if I was doing a Half Marathon I might eat two. Then it’s time to head off to the field where we gather before the start of the race. Have I time to make a quick visit to the toilets? Yes. I join the queue of about 12 ladies and as I almost reach the last 3, a Lady who must be part of the village hall committee arrives and informs us the toilets are now out of action due to being BLOCKED. So out to the row of three “Green Turdi” in the field with the BBQ and Bouncy castle I go. I join another queue but this is not moving very quickly. Julie announces she is getting cold so I give up and head off to the starting area. Ah, there in a pathway next to the car park, I spy yet another queue of ladies outside an almost medieval public toilet painted beige and brown. I enquire from those standing close enough to peer inside if it’s full of cobwebs and dust, but apparently in was not. I give up on this queue as well and try to convince myself it’s all in the mind, I do not need to go for a wee and blame my mother for always making me go for one before travelling anywhere which has made my brain to bladder quantity control a tad too small. Us mothers have a lot to answer for!
As I near the field where we are to be penned in to keep us unruly runners off the road, I am told there is a toilet we can use. I raise my eyebrows and doubt this very much. The only type of toilet that this field will possess will be the hedge and by that hedge there will be rows of men scent marking. Well knock me down with a feather, all polished and green is a single and very lonely “Turdi” with 3 people waiting to use it, I will be the fourth! This was a most impressive “Turdi”. No mud or grass upon its floor. The seat had no drips or splashes of the disturbing liquid variety upon it and when the pull handle flush was activated a bright blue liquid washed everything away. Very impressive indeed, a 10 out of 10 moment! Moment not movement JFD!
Now I’ve spent far too much time rambling on and in the toilets, so onto the race I must go. TRC gather and a team photo is taken by Andrew. We look like quite an impressive force this year and the photo hasn’t got all of team TRC in it either. Hayle who use to mass in swarms like the Jelly fish off the Cornish coast, seem to have diminished in numbers quite dramatically. Perhaps their loss and our chance at a team prize. Think positive!
A few announcements are made over the loud speaker which to be honest just sounds like noise! Dave M does a very good impression of this and if you ask him I’m sure he’ll oblige. One for the Christmas dinner dance, maybe? So with no idea what the race director has told us we shuffle up the now “closed to traffic road” (thank you D&C Police) to the centre of Cubert. I say centre, what I really mean is the road that runs through the middle of the village where the chippy and the post office can be found. God those chips did smell tempting.
Before long the starting horn lets out a loud blast and we are off. Now I’m about half way back from the start line which will affect my finishing time, something Juliet and I have discussed. Emma is nearby so I let her go ahead as she is younger and faster and doesn’t need another “Old Croc” holding her back. With eyes down, it’s time to avoid tripping over other people’s feet and speed bumps and then attempt some kind of weaving to get ahead. It isn’t as bad as I had expected and in no time really the cramped start has turned into a moderately busy road of runners of similar speeds.
Ahead of me is a lady of the same age cat as myself from Newquay road runners (let’s just call her LC) and in the last few races we have both run in, she has beaten me. I had become a marked woman! Now this year I’m supposed to be running not racing, completing not competing these events, but there are times when the eyes narrow and the competitive circuitry in my almost dormant brain has a sudden surge of power and today is one of those days. I creep up on her, overtake without making eye contact and up a gear to give me some distance from any form of speech exchange. I need to focus on the job in hand……..breathing!
The course takes you out of the village along a road called High Lanes (this ultimately takes you out to the A3075 Chiverton Cross to Newquay road) it’s a fairly flat stretch of road of about 1 mile in distance before you are directed down a lane to your left. My legs are going well, my breathing has settled remarkably well after such a short and fast distance and luckily the road now has a slightly down hill gradient. There is one obstacle to avoid, a large Cornish pothole, and even if I have lost the power of speech I point at it so that hopefully the runners behind me don’t fall down it and end up in Australia.
After another half mile of narrow Cornish lane with high hedges and a dry muddy grit ridge down the middle the road bears left passing Tregerras Cottage and other farm buildings. I’m now able to lift my head slightly so I can look at something other than my feet. I cannot see Juliet who I thought was ahead of me, I’ve overtaken Emma which is strange and LC has not overtaken me. My momentum is good for one so old, but the ever lovely IR from ECH overtakes me making one of his usual comments as he runs on ahead. Love you too IR! Grrrrrrrrrrr!
The road now gently but somewhat painfully for me, starts to go upwards. Not drastically but enough to make each step an effort and my speed reduce. It levels out after maybe ¼ to ½ mile before a short section of flat where I notice a gateway on my left that leads into a field and the new finishing straight. We will turn into this on our second lap of this two lap course.
The lane now comes to a T Junction with Wesley Road, where we turn left, uphill, well perhaps I should call it a slope of a runnable nature, not a mountain to be walked and where supporters gather to cheer us on. At the top of this it’s a left turn and the start of lap two.
I see four small outstretched hands in search of high fives up ahead. I don’t want to repeat my near disaster that I had at the Plymouth half, where on doing a high five I dropped my security hanky stopped to pick it up and then nearly took out the four runners behind me. This time I made sure my hanky was held tight in my right hand and only the left empty hand reached out and made contact with the expectants children’s hands.
The second lap progressed as before. No sign of LC, but up ahead was Rob P, where on earth had he come from? I hadn’t seen him in the TRC pre-race huddle. I overtake him, but this doesn’t last long. We cat and mouse for a while, but as the last mile approaches, my legs are telling me they would really like to sit down and my lungs feel like they are bubbling. My head now starts to fill with the usual thought, “you’ve run too fast at the start and now you are going to be overtaken by all those you wanted to beat” “well only one actually” I tell myself and I try to dig deep. Suddenly with my head down I hear “Sorry Hana” as Claire L runs pass me. “Don’t apologise” I say, and no she shouldn’t as she has put in a lot of mileage in of late, plus she is younger, both of these things I can’t compete against. For one thing I don’t train (no hill reps for me or track sessions, I’m just too lazy for all that stuff) and age I have no control over sadly.
The entrance to the field arrives, a sharp left turn is required and we now run on grass stubble which feels a little weird. I decide I must make an effort, I can see Rob P but he is too far ahead. I can hear heavy breathing on each side of me which is coming from male runners but suddenly in my peripheral vision (out of the corner of my right eye) I can see LC. SH-T! I have no idea where it came from, but suddenly I’d shifted into turbo boost mode and sprinted like I haven’t done since 1978. I overtake IR from ECH and cross the line ahead of LC as well, Rob P was safe though.
IR congratulates me. Should I apologise for doing that in the last seconds of the race (I’ve beaten him by 1 second) then I feel friendly arms wrap themselves around me. It’s LC and we have a hug and laugh about what has just happened. This is when I realise that running provides many forms of therapy apart from allowing me eat too much chocolate and drinking Red Wine. There is friendly rivalry, happiness, laughter, companionship and an awareness that there is still some life in the “Old Croc”! Oh and a PB to top it all beating last year’s time by a minute………Bl—dy marvellous!
Goodie bag collected, sadly no chair, just a medal and a bag with nibbles in. It starts to rain, so I decide it’s time to dash off to the village hall before all the scones have gone. Cream tea recovery works wonders!
So all in all:
- Parking good and at no cost. Could be tricky if there had been heavy rain on the run up though.
- Race HQ. Very good and the ladies working the kitchen were lovely.
- Race marshals. Fab.
- Goodie bag. Poor. I’m not a fan of “Monster Munch” but apparently Juliet’s kids are, so they went to a good home.
- Toilets. Assorted and plentiful, A shame about the blockage in the hall’s toilets. I hope the Village Hall committee will allow us back next year.
- Will I run this race again? Not sure, I really don’t like short fast races, or ones that start in the evening, but the course is one of the least hilly in Cornwall so allows you the chance of a PB. This I have managed in two consecutive years at this event.
- cubert 5 – 3rd June14 – xls