Last weekend was such fun! I met loads of wonderful people, talked and laughed a lot but most importantly enjoyed helping out at the Roseland August Trail Series (The R.A.T)
The R.A.T as it’s affectionately known is a series of 4 races The Plague (100k), The Black Route (32 miles) The Red Route (20 miles) and last but by no means least The White Route 11 miles. All 4 races take place along the same section of stunning coastal path from Porthpean to St. Anthony’s Head. The Plague starts on the Friday at midnight from Porthpean and they have 9 hours to get to St. Antony’s Head 32 miles away (sounds easy!) then turn round and run back to the start (11 hours). The Black Route starts at St. Antony’s Head and runs towards Porthpean and at various points along the route the other races start so all the runners already on the course get a huge cheer from their fellow competitors before they start their own race.
I arrived on the Friday afternoon at Bodmin Park station where Becky (my number 1 crew) picked me up and drove me to her house where Paul was busy packing up the car with lots of goodies but most importantly our tent that was to be home for the next couple of days. I even asked Becky if she had a hair dryer we could bring ……I know very girly but these things are very important!
At 5.30 we headed to Porthpean where the race headquarters and campsite were set up. After deciding on a good camping spot we began erecting this very large tent. As I haven’t been camping properly since I was a child it was much simpler if I just followed instructions from Becky and Paul – what a good job we did!
While putting up the tent I spotted Drew Sheffield and Claire Shelley so big hugs all round (any excuse by me!). Becky and Paul were part of my crew for M2M, in fact Becky has crewed me for everything, so this was my turn to support them. After they both registered we had something to eat, they sorted out their kit for their respective races (Becky was doing the 32 miler and Paul 20) and I was then given the best kit in the world by the Race Organisers.
Each of the 100k runners had a green running vest with PLAGUE written on the front that they wore over their own kit and a green glow stick attached to their packs, this meant that during the race you could easily spot a Plague runner which enabled the other competitors to give them loads of support.
After a few words from Fergi they were sent on their way with a very loud hooter (tooted by yours truely) now time for my bed.
My instructions given to me by Becky and Paul (they were becoming very bossy!) was to have coffee for them at 6am, no probs as I’m always up early – they in fact got their coffee at 5.50am, well I hate being late, but perhaps wasn’t such a good idea as they are definitely not morning people – oops!
I set off wit the 32 milers to their start at St. Anthony’s Head and with another toot of my very loud horn they were on their way.
Myself and Fergi walked to the final CP for the Plague runners to be met by Isobel and the Pasta Man serving up food to the last of the Plague runners who had made the cut-off (bloody brilliant).
It was now time to head off to PortLoe to get the 2o milers going, unfortunately the rain had set in but this didn’t stop everyone cheering on the other runners with gusto. At this point I had my bear bell out and was cheering and waving the bell as each runner came down the hill to the CP. It was quite difficult trying to take photos, wave the bell around and hold the starters horn – thank goodness for good inner thigh muscles!
The final set of runners to go were the 11 milers. For many of them it was their first race so there was lots of excitement and a little bit of anticipation of what lay ahead, but everyone was looking forward to the run. The White group started their race from Gorran Haven on the beach, rather a lovely setting.
Runners came and went, some with huge smiles on their faces, others struggling a bit, but all perked up after something to eat and a chat then they were off again. There was a large plate of Jelly babies on the table and as the runners grabbed a handful I would ask whether they ate the head or the feet first; most people laughed and hadn’t really given it much thought, one marvellous lady had obviously thought about this question quite a lot over the years and replied that she ate the head first as it cut the spinal cord and they would feel no pain – a bit weird but it made me laugh!
The races finished back at the Campsite where many of the competitors were camping so there was a fantastic atmosphere as people were cheered and clapped across the finish line.
Although I didn’t take part in any of the races the runners had nothing but good things to say about the events from the stunning course, brilliant organisation and very friendly, cheerful support crew. The atmosphere in the camp was buzzing, lots of food, a great coffee man, live band on Saturday night, showers and very importantly a bar! If you want a challenge in a marvellous location then I would suggest giving these races a try but be warned they are tough.
Big huge marvellous congratulations to everyone who completed their races, fantastic. Special congratulations goes to Becky & Paul who both improved their times by some margin on last year. To the race organisers – its was amazing!
I loved my weekend in Cornwall and would happily go back and help out again next year (sadly can’t run it as it’s too close to my big event!) and the Cornish people are very friendly (if not a touch mad!!!)