Tuesday, 29 September 2009

ATLANTIC COAST CHALLENGE DAY 1 - Trevose Head to Perranporth

Well, I woke up Friday morning very early, before the alarm and before the kids. I just wanted to get up and start running but registration wasn't until 10am. I occupied myself by getting the kids breakfasts, playing Spiderman with Jack and watching Ben 10. Ellen had a stinking cold and really wasn't fit for the type of weekend to come.

Left for the race HQ at 09:15 as we needed time to get accustomed to what we needed to do everyday. On arrival it emerged that the race start had been delayed so we signed in, hung around and had time to send some nerves of to the coast.
Ellen and Marta left to go back and pick up the kids and would go to Check Point 1 to meet us as arranged.
A mini-bus journey half way across the length of Cornwall doesn't generate much to blog about but after what seemed an eternity we arrived at Trevose Head. A mass urination in the general direction of America was always on the cards....I just made sure I was upwind of the next person!

The day was running late so the start was pretty sharp........and off we went; around 80 runners straight off into the Cornish landscape.
Trevose Head to Check Point 1 - Mawgan Porth.
Unknown to everyone but Alex, this was my old stomping ground when I was a kid.....but alas this provided no advantage whatsoever.

One guy (we nicknamed the Mountain Goat) we now know holds the world record for 10 marathons over 10 days. Another guy would go on to complete his 600th marathon when finished on Sunday!! Anyway, back to us amateurs, CP1 was about 10km on from the start. Relatively (in comparison to what was to come) 'gentle' undulating coastline gave way to headlands and cliff faces that we would be more accustomed to later throughout the weekend.

The headland before Mawgan Porth was probably the biggest climb so far....

On the way down to Mawgan Porth a German lady took a tumble and it took Alex and myself to pull her up from the cliff edge; brought it all into reality how dangerous this could potentially be!!

On the way down we could make out our support crew waiting with the VO2 crew which was great! Soon a quick kiss and cuddle with everyone was enough to make me crack on.

The next stretch from Mawgan Porth to CP3 at Crantock (via the half way CP2 at Lusty Glaze and a cup of sugary tea!) was on my home patch and slowly but surely I noticed a trail of people tagging along as word of the local boy quickly spread as people sought a quick route through Newquay. Porth beach, CP2 at Lusty, town centre and then Fistral beach all came and went pretty quickly as I knew where I was going and how far I had to go. A fair amount of runners had gathered behind me and I felt like the pied piper as people followed!!

Soon, Fistral (the place that I spent the majority of my childhood) had been conquered. All I fancied doing was getting my board and getting in the surf!

The view from South Fistral - Beautiful weather and the surf wasn't bad either!

From here, it was around Pentire headland and over the River Gannel to Crantock. I could see that it would be a dry crossing as Fistral was pretty low.

Over the headland we went and the trail of people pulled ahead of this amateur!
I hit the top of the old Fern Pit Cafe - really steep steps down the cliff to the Gannel Estuary where an old small Aquarium used to be.........HOLY CRAP! it was still there and a new bridge had been built!!!! It used to be an old man who you paid 20p to row you over to Crantock. Heading down the I saw an angelic site on the sand...Ellen with the kiddies in tow.

My pacers Ellie and Jack! CP3 at Crantock provided another nice refreshing cuppa (plenty of milk so I could neck it down quickly!

Here we go for the run-in to Perranporth, I was under no illusion as to the distance so I just had to grit my teeth, put my head down and run. Pretty much uneventful ups and downs of the headlands and evil sand dunes passing Polly Joke (a beach I used to take Ellen to when we were 'courting') and then around past Holywell and the MOD firing range (kept my head well down!) and then I saw it......

For those of you who have never been to Perranporth, it is one of the longest beaches in Cornwall. A long slog of around 2.5 miles of soft sand which sucks at your feet with every step. It was at this point that I started getting a bit delerious. I'd already run further than ever before on some of the wildest terrain in the country (so far at least) but now my hands started to tingle and lose all feeling, my head was spinning and I'd run out of fluids at the start of the beach section. How the heck I got to the finish line standing is beyond what I can remember, but I did.

Arriving at the finish line, still smiling!

There's a photo of me on the VO2 website with my feet in the air trying to get some blood back to my upper body!

One down, two to go.

26.2 miles - 05:55:00

85th position out of 164

No comments:

Post a Comment