Report by Hana
I’ve been approaching this year’s running calendar with a sort of sensible head on and not booking too many races too far in advance. I left entering the Newquay 10K until two weeks before the event when I also decided I needed a change to my running routine to see if I actually had any speed in my “Old Croc” legs. I mean, it’s half the distance of a Half Marathon so psychologically it should be easier…….well that’s what I try to tell myself
Do I actually need to run this race re the GP series results?
I check the list of the races I have completed and the answer appears to be “YES”, as I’m one short of the 8 required for an end of year trophy. I could have missed it and then enter the Cornish Marathon instead to make my 8.
Sunday 4th October arrives and the weather forecast has stated that the morning will be fine but rain will come in from the southwest later in the day. I look out the window and it’s dry but overcast, I can cope with that.
With breakfast consumed, and “Sydney Skoda” packed, I take a leisurely drive to Newquay along a very quiet A3075 with radio 2’s Claire Balding for company and spot a very squashed car covered in Police tape in the field at the bottom of the set of bends on the approach to Goonhaven. A regular feature on this section of road, and we haven’t even had icy conditions yet.
This year the car parking arrangements for this event have changed and we the competitors have been told to park at Newquay Tretherras School instead of in a field alongside the Sports Centre, where the race HQ is situated. I have printed myself off a map of how to get there and I reach the school easily, where I find ample parking on a tarmac surface within the school grounds.
From the parking area it is a two minute walk along a pathway from the school to the Sports Centre, where I go and collect my race number from the first TRC runner to arrive, and who was foolish enough to accept the folder with all TRC pre entered race numbers held within. This is a thankless task being responsible for handing out the race numbers, as often, when you want to be frequenting the facilities or going for a pre race warm up run, you are “left holding the baby” so to speak. I’ve done it twice before back in 2014 and I confess to having avoided/dodged this responsibility ever since. Once bitten twice shy.
I now go off to check out the toilet facilities provided and although there are 4 portable loos placed outside the building there are enough toilets inside for me to test out without having to use these. I locate one Ladies toilet in the Sports Centre but that one is in use, so back I go to the Clubhouse where there are two cubicles for the ladies with a short queue. They are basic, clean and have toilet roll so what more could we want? I then find out that there are changing rooms with showers and toilets in another building in a quadrangle to the rear of the centre. I venture outside and find a two storey building which has 3 sets of changing rooms for the Ladies on the ground floor and the same on the first for the men. Each has two toilet cubicles with toilet roll and best of all a bank of communal showers. Well I say each, but the first changing room I enter has had its shower area turned into a chair storage facility and there are piles of them with fabric covered seats stacked in a haphazard fashion. I guess I shouldn’t sit on one whilst showering later?
So, I have my race number pinned to my TRC Vest, I’ve had a sweep of the gathering crowd and exchanged pleasantries with a few and a snog with one. I’ve checked and double checked the toilets and I’ve taken a couple informal team photos for the TRC Facebook page. This now leaves me with the task of making my way to the race start area in Tretherras Road, at the bottom of the Sports Centre Drive way.
This race does not have chipped timing, so I decide to situate myself about a quarter of the way back from the start line. I’m out of the way of the fast runners but hopefully just ahead of those slower than myself. A sea of purple suddenly fills a void in front of me, a swarm of runners sporting purple vests with “Storm” printed on them. I haven’t seen this club before at any of our Cornish races and it would appear that they are a new running club in Plymouth set up in April By a Scott Allen.
The pre race briefing is fairly short with the most important part of it being “there will be no police at today’s race, so where there is a road crossing, only cross between the marshal’s or else” ………the or else is nothing like Truro’s death squad of ninja’s secreted in the shrubbery, no it would be quick and pain free. Failure to comply would mean DISQUALIFICATION!
I had loaded the satellites on my Garmin in preparation for the start, and then I reminded other TRC runners nearby to keep an eye on their GPS watches in case they closed down but what did I do? I failed to check my own until the 3,2,1 started. Ahhhhhhhhh, I’m now attempting to run, watch my watch, trying not to trip over and I’m shouting at it to load, as if that will make it connect any quicker. 10 long seconds later, up it comes, start button pressed and I can start to think about what and where I’m going. Mike W is just ahead and he has suggested at a previous race that I start off too fast, so today perhaps I should heed his words of wisdom. So with them in mind I find what feels like a sensible pace where I feel comfortable, and my breathing is easy.
The first section of the route is a gentle downhill along the A3058 Edgcumbe Avenue, passing the Zoological Gardens and Trenance Leisure Park. We are running on the road and the traffic is light. After a mini roundabout we enter Trevemper road with the Boating Lake to our right and this is where the road starts to flatten out.
A left turn takes us out onto the A392 still part of Trevemper road where we have the Gannel and its mud flats to our right. This is where the “ROAD CROSSING” takes place, the one where the race could end if you don’t follow the instructions laid out in the briefing. I decide that it may be wise to lift my head so that I’m not looking at the heels of the runners ahead and watch the marshals instead. I’m a good girl and do as I’m directed and cross onto the right side of the road, where I am soon running through mushed up Pears that have fallen from a Pear Tree growing wild in the hedgerow. They look like really nice Conference Pears, why has no one scrumped them? I could make chutney out of them……oh how my mind wanders and before I know it we are taking a right turn.
This right turn is next to Trevemper roundabout and we run up a track towards Trevemper farm. Then it’s back onto Tarmac and the road that takes you out towards Crantock. I find that I am running in time with a male just in front of me from ECH who I believe might be in an age cat just above mine. He seems to frequent this area in most of the GP races I have completed this year. We don’t really get to talk but I can say that he has no bad habits that I can bore you with. In fact, since I have quickened my pace slightly over this last year I haven’t really found myself in the presence of too much nasal blow back or pungent bodily gases. Whilst this is far better for my health and welfare it does give me less to write about……….maybe this is the intention?????
This road has an uphill gradient but since 2013 when I last ran it, I do believe it has flattened out slightly. I’m in no way speedy up this hill but at the same time I’m not struggling. Half way up we are directed left along a narrow lane with high hedges so no views to glance upon. Mind you, having noted a female up ahead of me, who this year turned to “The dark side”, namely the V50 female category, I should really be concentrating more on running and trying to catch her up and not on the scenery.
I usually talk to my “Husband of 31yrs and plays golf” when I get back from a race about how I have fared, and if a bottle of wine appears out of my kit bag he tends to show a little more interest. I know talk, husband and 31 yrs, is not a sentence combination you hear very often, anyway he usually suggests that if I had put some more EFFORT in, I might have beaten the V50 females that usually pip me to the post. He doesn’t understand that projectile vomiting on the finishing line is really not the done thing and that on a normal day I have to take deep intakes of breath at the line to quell the rise of bile that I can feel needs to escape my body, without pushing harder again. On top of this, Revis C for one is normally so far out of my sight, catching her is an impossibility but today for some reason his words are ringing in my ears and I wonder if I can catch DN, the V50 female up ahead of me, about 100m away.
We are directed right onto the main route that takes you into Crantock and the road has levelled out slightly. I can see DN ahead in the distance and I’m doing the “do I or don’t I give chase” Routine in my head. As I had heeded Mike’s advice at the start of the race and pulled back on the reins I’m still feeling reasonably energised but I’m doubting my ability, so as we are at the half way point I decide to hold back and see how I go.
At the right turn there is a water station for all those in need of a drink, as per normal I decline the offer and head back towards Trevemper, passing Trevella Holiday park and a race marshal doing his best to collect all the drinking cups thrown onto the road by us race competitors.
This section of the route provides us with some respite as it is downhill and my legs pick up some momentum. Halfway down this lane I can see some of the tail end runners coming towards us before they are sign posted off to their left as we continue down the hill on our return part of the race. I can hear a “Storm” runner behind me cheering some of his club runners on, I smile and realise that I am actually still going OK on my “Old Croc” legs.
The route goes left once again on a track passing Trevemper Farm and before I know it we are at Trevemper roundabout with less than a mile and a half to go. I hear a race Marshal say to a supporter “She’s better at the long distances”, he can’t be talking about me, maybe he is referring to DN as there aren’t too many other females ahead. This spurs me into action and kick starts my motivation to “chase her down”. God this sounds so heartless, but others would only do the same if it was me up ahead.
Over the squashed pears I run and I note that the distance between me and DN is narrowing. Am I gaining speed or is she slowing down? Before long I’m actually right on her heels and my pace appears to be faster than hers. I usually have an irritating cough throughout a race and this often alerts people to my presence without them having to even look over their shoulders, but today it hasn’t surfaced which is good. I realise that if I overtake I will be the one being chased, but if I stay behind I will have to slow down. Do I bite the bullet and go for it? What shall I do, well as the legs are willing I overtake, just before we negotiate the big roundabout by the boating lake.
From this point on we are still retracing our steps back to the Sports Centre along a slightly uphill gradient. I’m not looking over my shoulder for fear of what I might see, and the heavy breathers that pass me by are all male. I try to keep my speed constant and by the time I reach Edgcumbe Ave I am still ahead. I don’t glance at my Garmin for other than the distance and I’m pushing as hard as I can.
At last I’m in Tretherras road and then the road leading to the Sports Centre. I can see the Finishing line up ahead so I give it one last push and cross the line with stomach twitching slightly and me having to concentrate on keeping it under control. Someone asks if I’m OK and I make some hand gestures which they seem to understand. Once I’ve composed myself reality kicks in. Oh my god I’ve actually done it, I’ve put some real effort in and succeeded in finishing a race that I can go home to my “husband that plays golf” and tell him that I actually did as he suggested.
I pick up a cup of water and my goodie bag which contains what appears to be the contents of a child’s party bag. I have Jelly Beans, cheese puffs, a chocolate biscuit a banana (ah that probably wouldn’t be in the child’s bag as it doesn’t contain E numbers) Oh and a Backpack.
A cool breeze has picked up, the sun has disappeared and I’m starting to feel cold, so time to review the showers. I bypass the first changing room with the chairs; I can hear voices in the second one so continue on to the third one. It’s empty, I have it to myself and when tested the showers offer me hot water, plenty of hot water. The only downside is that I could do with the shower being higher up the wall and to keep the flow of water running you need to keep pressing the button. All that said, I emerge from them feeling refreshed, warm and odour free.
I go and check the “scores on the doors” and knock me down with a feather I have managed another PB breaking my 10k one which I had already broken earlier this year at Marazion. I’m some pleased with that and then I also realise I’ve obtained a V50 2nd place as well. Wow!
With flask of coffee to hand I await the presentations and then return home armed with a bottle of white wine. “Husband who plays golf” might just lift his head from the paper and smile?
So all in all
- Parking: Plentiful, free and on Tarmac.
- Race HQ: Very good and held within the Clubhouse of the Sports Centre. It was warm and split into two rooms with a bar in the middle.
- Toilets: I found plenty to use without ever having to resort to the portable ones outside. “Look and you shall find” It always pays to arrive early and explore.
- Marshalls: Friendly and once again you could not get lost along the route. The road crossings were well manned and appeared to work without incident.
- The route: Not the most scenic, it isn’t flat but a PB is possible as I found out.
- Race Memento: a backpack.
This was a very well organised event. 10 out of 10 Newquay.