Cubert 5, as you can guess from the title is a 5 mile race held at……yes you’ve guessed it, Cubert. It is an evening race, so no early morning alarm calls required and plenty of time to fuel yourself properly. Well that’s what any sensible person would do.
I still had to get up early, (work has its disadvantages) but I did manage to make a salad to take with me for lunch. My afternoon fuelling then went completely to pot. I’m not sure that two Tesco’s Bakewell tarts with a cup of Red Bush Tea, 3 crisp breads with butter on, followed by a banana and two squares of chocolate really counts as healthy. Oh and half an hour before the race start time, I finished it all off with a rectangle of my race staple….Kendal Mint Cake. Sugar rush springs to mind.
With a start time of 7:30pm and work finishing at 5pm I had no need to request any time off to be able to arrive at Cubert in plenty of time. All I had to hope for was that I had no troublesome customers just before locking up and my wish was granted.
With running kit and warm clothing layers on top (yes this is summer but someone has forgotten to tell God to alter the weather thermostat and we appear to still be on a winter setting) I set off in dear “Sydney Skoda” along the A30 then the A3075 Newquay road. I spy fields full of what looks like Lavender in blossom at the side of this road but my glasses need cleaning. What these fields are actually growing are rows of solar panels and not Lavender after all. Each time I drive along this road more and more spring to life and the beautiful verdant views are being obliterated.
I turn onto the unclassified road that leads to Cubert to find two race marshals already stood at the side of the road waving a large sign telling me to turn right for the car parks. This is new, so I wind down the window, and shout “for what race?” “All races” they reply. So off I drive along the narrow, one car wide lanes that I, along with about 500 other people will be running along later. It’s an unusual way to reach the normal fields used for parking but it gives me the chance to reacquaint myself with the race route and its ups and downs. Apparently this diversion was instigated to stop cars having to do a 360 degree turn around the mini roundabout in Cubert in order to enter the field opposite the Village Hall and holding up all the other traffic.
I reach the said field, Sydney squeezes through the narrow gateway and I spy a face I haven’t seen in ages, it’s the lovely Dave Eglin who points me to the far end of the field. I object! I then inform him that I want to park THERE, there just behind him, and for fear of upsetting this old dear he complies. Once parked I step out of the car, the clouds get darker, the wind picks up……Cruella has arrived!
The race registration area/HQ is once again in the Village hall, a short walk from where I am parked. As I have arrived very early the only TRC face I see is DW. I collect my race number “94”, I know my race age…. and on that note, if I ever manage to reach that age, will I be able to run a marathon in just over 7hrs like Harriette Thompson 92yrs in the US? Look her up, she looks amazing.
I venture back out into the cold, and then decide there is only one place to be, and that is sat inside “Sydney Skoda” reading the paper. The thought of actually running a race holds no appeal whatsoever, where as a nice warm house, a comfy sofa, glass of red and good meal sounds so much better. Too late for that I tell myself, I’m here, I’ve paid my entry fee, so I must complete this race.
I make another trip to the race HQ to see if I can find Julie who has travelled independently to the race and find masses of TRC runners many of whom I do not know (note to self….should attend more club nights) but no Julie. Apparently she is somewhere in the room, probably up to my usual tricks but with far more panache. She’ll be catching up with loads of running friends, where as I’m just a race tart!
The time to remove numerous layers of clothing and venture out into the murky looking evening air has arrived. I walk back to “Sydney Skoda” leave him in charge of all my worldly goods and strip down to shorts, T-shirt with running vest over and then slowly jog to the starting area in Holywell road. The wind is doing its best to remove any semblance of warmth out of the air and quite a few of the female runners who are not blessed with as much flesh as me are looking faintly blue with chattering teeth. Sadly there really isn’t much shelter available but as more and more runners gather so the accumulated body heat starts to take the chill away. I now start to feel warmer.
Somehow the subject of my “security hanky” raises its head amongst a few of us “Girls” huddled for warmth. I spend the next minute or so extolling all its virtues, from nose wiping, brow mopping, sun protecting, water dipped cooling functions and they seem to be “Well impressed”. To the extent that maybe a security hanky could be considered as a race memento sometime in the future……..a race in memory of a sad old croc who couldn’t run without one perhaps……they’ll have to wait a long time then, as I’m planning on doing a marathon when I’m 93.
The race director climbs the hedge, starts to announce all the dos and don’ts through the megaphone and to be honest not a lot of it was understandable. The wind was turning whatever he said into Double Dutch, never mind, the rules are usually very similar from race to race and today there shouldn’t be the added risk of Rabbit holes.
We all slowly shuffle forward and I’m about 1/3 of the way back from the start line. I would have liked to be a little further forward but unless I engage my sharp elbows and muscle my way through the assembled crowd, that aint going to happen. I’ll just have to do some dodging and weaving once the race is underway, and underway is what we are. It’s a bit of a tight squeeze as I’m right in the middle and I’m trying very hard to firstly escape to the edges and secondly not tread on the girls heels ahead of me and remove her running shoes. On top of all this I am also having to be mindful of the speed humps in the road and not go A over T in the process.
The race route takes us out along Holywell Road, where race supporters have gathered to cheer their loved ones on. None there for me then, so with head down I pick up a little speed as the masses start to spread out. We continue straight ahead at the mini roundabout where Wesley Road (to our left) and High Lanes meet. We pass the village hall (to our right) and continue straight ahead along the main road on what is quite a flat gradient. I’m just behind Chris and Nigel from TRC and somehow with what I can only think is wind assistance (not of the flatulent kind) I overtake both of them. I’m not sure if this is a good thing, as it may stir them into action and bring the chase on, only time will tell. I also have a Lady from Mile High ahead of me and something tells me that she is in the same age cat (not a grey hair in sight unlike me) as me and I’m wondering whether I should try and overtake her as well? Oh sod it, just do it, is what my brain tells me, so I trot pass and know this will not be for long.
At the end of this straight section, we are directed left into a narrow lane, where the road surface is tarmac that is dotted with the odd pot hole, but it isn’t really that bad by today’s standards of Cornish roads. We are also on a slightly downhill section where it pays to let your legs enjoy the added speed assisted by the gradient. My legs are feeling very good indeed and my speed is quite nifty for someone so old, the question though is have I peeked too soon, and will I just fall apart in the second half of this race?
This lane then bears around to the left passing Trenissick (a farm I believe) and we are on a flat to undulating lane, where I find myself slowing and the Mile High lady gently and without any difficulty passing me by. I growl a little under my breath, and then contemplate my next tactic. What on earth am I doing, I remind myself of my Mantra “run to complete not to compete” but it’s too late I have the bit between my teeth, my “Race face” as “our Diane” calls it, has been engaged and I’m set to race mode! Just who am I trying to kid???????
Once again we bear left, left along Wesley Road, where the road precedes uphill, passing the school and where the water station is situated. I can see no reason at all why anyone would need to stop and partake in a cup of water when running a 5 mile race, but runners do. I keep my eyes down and play dodge the plastic cup, then at the top of this slope which really isn’t that steep, we are back at the mini roundabout, turning left onto the long flat straight section for the second lap.
I dare not look at my race pace, as I feel as if I’m am running faster than usual. Neither Chris nor Nigel has overtaken me…….YET, but Mile High lady is still just ahead. I decide to tuck in a short way behind her and see what happens. The usual happens, Cat and mouse, with me doing most of the chasing unconvincingly. At mile 4, I can feel the wind being taken out of my sails, so I try to find the turbo boost button and it isn’t working. I watch as Mile High Lady starts to pull further ahead and my shoulders drop a little. I glance at my Garmin, which gives me a shock, as it would appear that if I can just dig a little deeper I could beat last year’s PB.
The last ½ mile feels as if I’m attached to a strong elastic belt that might just reach its maximum stretch any minute now and throw me backwards. My memory reminds me that this is where Claire overtook me last year, so I dare not look behind in case she is hot on my heels along with Chris and Nigel. Is this what a fugitive on the run feels like? My legs have turned to jelly and the road feels like a bouncy castle, there is no way I can catch Mile High lady now. I turn into the field and the last 100 or so meters is all that matters now. Please don’t let anyone overtake me. I’m feeling a little nauseous but as I cross the line, that feeling disappears after 4 deep breaths and my PB has been broken, broken by 1 minute 20 seconds. Not bad for an “old Croc”.
I’m handed a bottle of water, pointed in the direction of the Goodie bags, and then go and congratulate Mile High lady, who in turn tells me that my chasing her has given her a PB as well. So I’ve been quite useful for a change, which must be a plus point for today’s race…….Yes RACE, because today I RACED, not just run this event. I’m not too sure what my mantra is going to be from now on…….pause for a moment……..”Complete and maybe occasionally compete”?
I spy Chris and Nigel, and go over for a chat. Chris wants to know what I’m on and suggests I need drug testing. Well if Bakewell tarts, Chocolate and Kendal Mint Cake are banned substances, I’m done for, if not they are energy performance foods for sure. No Gels for this girl!
A few of us TRC stalwarts stay behind for the presentations and I find myself having to lower myself onto a Childs size chair. This is quite a challenge when your hips ache, your legs are not listening to your brain and the drop is so long. Somehow I landed on the seat, but more suddenly than expected, so jarring my back slightly. This getting old thing is so mean.
The presentations start and I collect numerous bottles of wine, but only one for yours truly which was for being part of the 4th Ladies team. The boys team only managed 9th. Go girls GO!
A certain IR from Bodmin road runners tries to sneakily pull the box of wine I’ve amassed at my feet away but he failed. He should know better, for when it comes to wine my peripheral vision is the equivalent of a bird of prey.
It’s late and it’s time to go home when Graham from NRR’s starts handing out bottles of water to anyone who wants one. I cheekily ask for two, I got two, but had to kiss him first. Don’t panic, he didn’t turn into a frog.
So all in all:
- Parking. Free, plentiful in two fields and well marshalled. Could be very muddy if the weather was bad.
- Race HQ. In the village hall where you MUST NOT use their toilets. I think we the runners may have blocked them last year.
- Toilets. The green transportable variety. A row of which were situated at the rear of the race HQ. Very clean and standard fit. Then there was three other vestibules situated in the field next to the finish line. They too were very clean apart from one roll of toilet paper having fallen into the bowl and turned blue. There was no queue at all by these. Fab!
- Route. A two lap predominately flat course, with a few slight undulations and one real slope up pass the school that you only traverse the once. It’s well marshalled so you cannot get lost.
- Goodie bag. Black technical T, a pair of running/cycling glasses the sort that prevent flies going in your eyes. I could do with a mouth guard as well to stop me swallowing the dam things as well. No comments please about the size of my mouth. There was also a chocolate bar (Doubledecker in mine) packet of crisps and a banana. Top job Newquay and “Husband who plays Golf and cycles” is very impressed with his new glasses.
Will I run this race again? As much as I hate evening races, I probably will.