THE CORNWALL FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE HALF MARATHON
I’ve become a regular in the Costcutter opposite Bodmin College. Cracking store, with friendly, fun staff and….. COFFEEEEEEE!
The lovely organisers of the snappily titled Cornwall Fire And Rescue Service Half Marathon had to move their registration and HQ, at short notice, from a hall where providing refreshments would have been possible, to one where it wouldn’t. Now, Nicky and I are rather partial to our pre-race coffee. In fact, it is essential, for Mrs Bonfield it is an integral component of her warm up routine. in fact, it IS her warm up routine.
So, after terrifying the nice young man who was dealing with on the day registrations, “WHERE CAN WE GET COFFEE???? please?” we headed over the road to said store. Fine, strong and inexpensive coffee it was too. Many jealous faces of runners plucking up the courage to ask “WHERE DID YOU GET THAT COFFEE!?”. Smug, and buzzing, I set off for that other aspect of warming up, running around a bit. I arrived back in the hall just in time for the race briefing.
Comprehensive, engaging and self-depreciatingly amusing, the briefing was pitch perfect. Apparently there were grumblings last year after the course was deemed to be a tad short. No problem, they just made it long this year to balance it out. You get more half for your quids down Bodmin way.
This was a ‘run your own’ race for Nicky and I, so I took a position a little further forward so as to get a better view of the firemen starting the race. Or was it to be around people who looked like they wanted to run at my pace. Eithervway i was a little scarily near the front of the 300 or so runners. A jaunty count down and flashing blue lights and a blast of the siren, and we were off.
The first mile was on the road and there was a bit of a squeeze into the first bend. Very momentarily I become alpha-male as an elbow connected with my ribs. I was soon over it though as we were just being concertinaed into the corner and collecting each other like a Tour De France peloton suddenly hit by a strong side wind.
We settled into that first mile and I knew full well I was running at a pace I was going to be unable to sustain. Having confirmed to myself that this was the case, I proceeded to, er, carry on at that pace. Although there was a sharp incline in that first mile, there was also a lovely crazy decent which led into Lanhydrock House and its beautiful grounds.
There are some fantastic bloggers out there who beautifully describe every step of even ultra marathons. You must have read them, it’s like you’re there with them, the smell of the fauna, the variety of bird song, every inch of elevation, the timing of other athletes breath. Well, I tend to remember things in a more random order.
So some of these recollections may be chronologically incorrect, or just plain incorrect!
Anyway, I’m pretty sure that as mile 3 became mile 4 we had descended to the lowest point on the course on a fairly loose path which was terrific fun if a little daunting. (I may have taken a tumble on a similar descent on the Haytor Heller a couple of years ago!) A mile of steady climbing through the gorgeous woodland, before another descent took us to around the halfway point.
I’ve been taking advantage of slightly more spare time the last two weeks to start upping my mileage as my first ‘target’ race of the year comes into sight on the calendar. So, having ran 11 miles on Thursday, 13 on Friday and 10 yesterday, I knew todays run would have me approaching 70 miles for the week, having ran 55 last week.
It was around this half way point, as we set off to do the figure of 8 loop around the grounds for the second time, that my legs started to remind me of this week’s efforts. Suffice to say, the second half of the run was about 8 minutes slower than the first half. That said, I am chuffed as a chuffed thing to have ran so well at the end of a tiring week, on a properly tough course, and finished quite strongly. Friendly, snatched banter all the way with my fellow runners and the fantastic and numerous marshals, police and firemen, and the patient drivers who allowed us to cross the road at the two slightly awkward points.
I crossed the line in 1 hour 39 minutes and 58 seconds according to my watch. I’ll be chasing a ‘good for age’ time in the North Dorset Village Marathon in May, but, after a banana and two hastily guzzled bottles of water, I felt that I wasn’t too bad for 50 (and 9 days) on today’s showing.
Talking of which, and we definitely DON’T discus a ladies age, Nicky absolutely loved the race too and turned in a fantastic performance herself. I rushed to the car and grabbed some money, over to my favourite convenience store, bought myself a coffee and each of us a Mars Bar and rushed back to the finish line. An exhilarated Nicky initially declined the Mars Bar but we headed back to you-know-where and bought ANOTHER coffee and the remainder of their sausage rolls.
We both thoroughly enjoyed this lovely event and will be coming back for another beasting for sure.