What people don’t realise is that typing in sync with my thoughts is not an easy task, especially as my thoughts meander and I am a two fingered non touch typist. I sadly shunned the typing classes at school in favour of Metal work….yes that’s correct Metal work. I actually wanted to do double Domestic Science, but for some reason that was just not allowed, so Metal work it had to be. Has it helped in my life to date, absolutely not, all I have to show for it, is a copper jewellery box and a silver ring? So here I am again, after a year’s sojourn attempting to put into print a description of a running event for some and a race for others.
Last year I took a year away from race reporting but I still competed in 9 events (instead of the 25 the year before which included 15 half marathons) and came away three V50 first place trophies, 2 in Devon and One in Birmingham, so I haven’t been slacking. As for any chance of age cat wins this year…….NO CHANCE, too many good V50 ladies now but I’m approaching the next age cat at speed, so who knows what 2017 will bring.
I deliberated for quite a while as to whether to enter or not enter the Newquay 10K but luckily my entry must have been one of the last to drop onto Jan Sargent’s doormat before the entries were closed. I then read that the number of entrants for this race had reached 800 and rapidly wished I hadn’t got in. The next couple of weeks I did the “Do I, don’t I” want to run this race, “Should I or shouldn’t I” offer my place up to someone who hadn’t got in? I really didn’t relish a start line of that many runners all wanting to squeeze down Tretherras Road without being trampled upon. I was going to have get my head around this somehow.
Race day arrived, so out came the old faithful ruck sack that my daughter use to use for swimming lessons and is probably older than the youngest runner attending today’s event. Into it I packed everything I thought I might need. Spare toilet roll, wet wipes, Kendal mint cake, Snickers bar, cash, “IQ” reducer (running cap) wash kit etc……. Then into my trusty steed, “Sydney Skoda” I climb and off to Newquay we go.
When the race instructions were first published parking was looking poor by Newquay 10K standards. It was going to be a bun fight for on street only parking with none at the leisure centre forthcoming. Thankfully I had quickly clicked onto that social media portal that us V50’s are just about capable of operating and found that Tretherras School had opened its grounds for race parking, so that is where I headed. I arrived to find it well marshalled and was able to reverse into a parking space with enough room to actually be able to open my car door and get out instead of having to resort to a tin opener.
From the School or is it an Academy, it is a very short walk along a path to the Leisure centre and the race HQ. Time for sussing out the TOILETS before it gets too busy , and there just outside the main building is a neat row of about 5 green portable vestibules (let’s start the year without breaching a trademark!) none of which show the red for engaged. Not one of the people ahead of me are tempted to venture inside one of these vestibules or Turdi as JFD use to call them, so I too decide they look shiny enough from the outside and I must move onward and inward to test out the alternative water closets.
A sign directs me to the “Females changing rooms” which are situated in another building behind the main leisure centre. There are 5 exterior doors on the ground floor numbered 1 to 5 to choose from, so I decide to opt for the one furthest away, door 5. I’m working on the premise that others won’t want to walk that far. It turns out to be a wise move and I have one very large changing room all to myself. It has two pristine toilet cubicles with recently cleaned toilet bowls to choose from and a bank of showers for postrace usage. I test out the toilet cubicle and I find myself very frustrated by just how to actually find the end of the toilet roll which keeps spinning around its large plastic dispenser without dispensing any “grab holdable” sheets of paper. I start to think I could be here a very long time. I have never been tempted to take up yoga but I was now starting to regret this life choice as some of the yoga positions I have seen in “Health magazines” could have come in handy at this point. With tenacity, dogged determination and a few blasphemous words, I finally grasp and pull at just the right speed and angle and find myself holding onto just enough paper to wipe my …..
Time to mingle with the growing numbers of race entrants and I spot a few familiar faces. I grab a couple hugs and kisses from men of a certain age and collect my race number “725”. This is the first race where I have received a hand written number written in permanent black marker pen so hopefully no one will think I’ve made this one myself and I’m gate crashing this event.
I had already decided that today I must instigate a race plan, well “start line” plan, due to the large number of entrants and the feeling it is going to be a bit of a struggle to cross that line without being impeded by vast numbers of bodies. The thought of this had almost made me pull out of the event, but a quick virtual kick up the rear end and here I am putting my plan into action.
I’m not one to do a warm up run usually, but today I decided I would. Down to the starting area I jog trying to look inconspicuous and not too stupid. I find myself loitering around the start area with a few other keen runners but not right at the front where the “Elite runners” gather. I’m about a quarter of the way back, and before I know it I am joined by hundreds of others. At least the close quarters we are stood in, is keeping the chill wind off me.
Pre-race briefing starts but I cannot make out much of what is said due to all the chatter that is ongoing in the crowd. The gist of what was said was; keep left/only cross where told to do so/no headphones, then after a count of 3, we are off, off down the hill and onto A3058 Edgcumbe Ave. I am having to alter my pace continuously and do what last months “Runners World” said not to do, and that is weave left and right in an effort to move around slower runners. Its eyes down in an effort to not stand on someone’s heel or trip over other people’s feet. Gradually spaces start to appear so into them I go. I hear a familiar voice and glance quickly to my left to see Julie stood at the side of the road armed with camera cheering us on. A short distance later stood by the boating lakes I see “Our Diane” with the adorable new addition to her life “Baby Frank”. Frank is already able to wave, well with a little help from his mum so I do one of my demented double handed waves and onto the A392 Trevemper road we run.
We’ve gone from a gradual downhill to flat with The Gannel to our right. I was trying so hard to keep my running pace and breathing in check that I can’t say whether the tide was in or out, if there were horses galloping on the mud flats but the marshals had the road crossing on what can be a very busy road, working smoothly and safely. Once we had crossed onto the right side we had to run on the narrow pavement which is when I was really thankful I had done my weaving earlier or else I could well have been hindered by the sheer volume of runners and minimum space.
At Trevemper roundabout we are warned about the raised kerb and slippery mud but I pass without incident and continue onto a muddy track passing Trevemper Farm. I’m feeling really quite fresh having settled into what feels like a reasonable pace for someone so old and the thought of the hill that will appear shortly doesn’t even fill me with dread. Perhaps my early morning runs up and down the hills to Troon in Camborne have done me some good after all.
The hill passes without me having to revert to walking, somehow I have managed to eradicate the hill demons from my head and before I know it the summit has been reached. I’ve even overtaken a couple people then I spot a couple runners ahead that I decide to try to chase down. I’m locked on like a heat detecting missile but will I run out of steam?
I’m starting to feel the heat, menopausal and exercise induced and my choice of long sleeve compression top, hat and gloves are not helping matters. At least the “IQ reducer” (cap) is soaking up sweat and stopping it running down my face and I can wipe my nose in my gloves instead of my “security Hanky”. I could take them off, but then I would have to carry them which would be a pain, so onwards I plod and suffer in silence……….not my usual personality trait.
The race does a left turn around fairly level lanes before we are marshalled right, passing the drinks station where plastic cups are rolling left and right below my feet. Next we pass Trevella park camp site before heading back downhill. I start to increase speed and overtake one of my targets (TRC Male, no names mentioned) and start to regret this move as they now have me in their sights and could easily hunt me down closer to the finish line. I smile, then note that my other target (female from CAC and much younger) is maintaining her lead.
Back along the muddy track past Trevemper Farm we go before the long slog along Trevemper road with the Gannel to our left and a strengthening head on breeze to add a little resistance work for added interest. My pace is still reasonable, the CAC female is still keeping her lead but I’ve narrowed the gap a little. I’m passing a few males huffing and puffing but my lungs feel OK even if the legs are starting to feel heavy.
It starts to cross my mind that there has been no spitting, farting or bad language during this race, I haven’t heard any interesting conversations or seen any weird running styles .There have been a couple of “hellos” as I’ve trotted by. It has either been incredibly civilised out there on the 10k route or my new varifocal glasses are clouding my vision and my hearing might be failing me. Then again perhaps my year away has given me new focus and concentration……….no, I don’t think so. Maybe I have writers block…………………..I can hear Tony B tittering or is that tutting at this comment . Time to crack on.
I reach the roundabout at the start of Edgcumbe Ave and the slight uphill grind back to the finish line. I can remember the first time I ran this race and finding this section incredibly hard. Today it is absolutely fine, but then again we aren’t running in summertime heat like previous years. I’m still chasing the CAC lady but the gap isn’t narrowing. My stomach and lungs tell me to be sensible and I just keep the pace going as I approach the finishing line. Julie is there once again armed with her camera, so I offer up a smile of sorts and cross the line in 47:03.
I’m pleased with my time, I have a medal around my neck and a blue hoody in one hand and a bag of nibbles in the other. I congratulate and thank the CAC runner for helping me keep my pace up and head for the showers.
The showers in room 5 are fab. I have the whole changing room to myself. There is no mud on the floor to have to tip toe around. The room is warm and I leave it refreshed and smelling far better than when I entered it.
No age category prizes for me today, but I get to give “8 pin Colin” a big hug followed by a lovely cuddle with “Baby Frank” who is adorable and so chilled. What more could an “old Croc” want.
So all in all:
The parking was plentiful well marshalled and free.
The toilets: They were excellent. The cleanest I think I’ve seen and the showers were as good as the ones at Trevornick. So 10 out of 10.
Race venue: considering the number of race entrants it coped well, with tea coffee and beer in good supply keeping us runners very happy.
The race route: It has the potential for attaining a PB due to its lack of steep hills but the number of entrants this year meant that those towards the back of the starting field would take a long time to cross the start time. Because you only have a gun time then the back markers will be slower than usual. Chipped timing would have been far better because you would have a gun and chip time.
Goody bag: lovely race medal, dark blue hoody, and a bag of nibbles.
Report by Hana