Wednesday, 30 September 2009


Woke up this morning feeling ok despite a restless, sleepless night. Ellen tried in vain to massage my legs with a new hand held machine but I ended up doing it myself as it was too tickly!

This was the morning I woke up with the greatest appetite of the weekend and polished off two boiled eggs on toast and proceeded to make nearly everyone's breakfast to try and occupy my mind.

Ellen's parents were down for today (which proved to be invaluable) and were meeting us in Perranporth at the start.

Alex and I went down to the VO2 HQ on our own as today's finish was at the HQ and therefore we would all meet there at the end of the day and save Ellen the initial drive to and from the site for the start. We arrived a little bit pushed for time and got the kit checked whilst the briefing was held. Following my big breakfast I had a 'few soldiers that needed dropping off at the coast' but whilst contemplating the throne we were herded onto the mini-buses and headed to Perranporth.

We arrived in Perranporth shortly before 11am and there was a mass evacuation towards the public toilets. I then said a quick hello to my roadies and we were off, straight up the hill to the coastal path.

A relatively short section of steep climbs, descents and rugged steps (I think around 10K) and we climbed back down to Trevaunace Cove in St Agnes where the team were waiting. For a prime example of the climbs/descents that are involved the picture below is the descent from the headland before Trevaunace Cove.

The very steep descent down to the cove opened the eyes of Stephen and Karen (Ellen's parents) to what this was all about. No waiting around here, stuck a Snicker in my bag and grabbed a handful of Jelly Babies (shared with the kids - thanks VO2). Still felt pretty fresh (see below) but this was soon to change.

From Trevaunance Cove, we climbed straight back up onto the coastal path leaving the gang to visit the local watering hole for well deserved refreshments. The steep profile was relentless from here and the only light relief was the stunning scenery. We past so many places that I have vowed to return to with the family; places that I rarely (if ever) visited when I lived back home in Newquay. One such place was Chapel Porth, although the descent to the car park, followed by the immediate near vertical ascent back up, put me right off for the day!

We passed by a redundant tin mine (not many people new what it was!?!?) and then on towards Porthtowan. Al and I put on a bit of a sprint at this point down the headland to the beach which was probably not the wisest of moves over the entire weekend as we then had another steep climb up the other side. This climb up had to be the most sketchy of the weekend as the path was no further than a couple of feet away from a sheer drop to the rocks below with no fence or even hedge between.

We took in a couple more headlands until we rounded the headland with the climb down into Portreath. At this point we could make out the crowd surrounding the VO2 flag and mini-buses but couldn't see the gang was Jack. We couldn't see him but he could obviously see us and made it clear to half of Cornwall. Lovely to hear him and know that they were down there waiting but we had just passed the 12 mile mark and I was hitting a low.

My little pacer Ellie still doing a great job!

We eventually got to the beach car park and I immediately lay down with my feet raised. All the blood was in my feet and needed to get it back into my upper body.

This was one of the lowest points of the entire weekend. I can't remember what I ate and drank but eventually got my arse in gear and got moving again. Ellen told me that she wouldn't be at the next check point as she was taking the kids back to Newquay with my parents in the hope of keeping them rested in anticipation of a long and final day tomorrow where they would be at every check point on the course. However, Stephen and Karen filled the roll of support crew with great enthusiasm and vigour.

Just when I thought things were bad, things got much worse.....

The above photo is Carvannel Downs near Gooden Heane Point. Take a good look. The descent was a killer on the quads, particularly given the distance we'd already covered over 1.5 days, and then we came to the steps back up. Like I said, take a good look!!

I should really have taken note of the local names to realise what the terrain would be like, but we soon passed Dead Man's Cove. At this point we heard a car pull up, horn blaring! It was Stephen and Karen with Marta and they had seen us from the road towards Godrevy Head (CP3) running parallel to the coastal path. I was really struggling now, and couldn't seem to get myself together, but onwards we plodded with the aim of getting to Godrevy Head ASAP.

In the heat of the day, with me on a slow boil, we eventually made out Godrevy Lighthouse in the distance. Al, with a little more in the tank than me, ran ahead at this point.

It was then I saw Stephen and Karen about 1/4 mile my side of the check point with a bag full of goodies, unfortunately no Big Mac & Fries!! We made our way down to register at CP3 and I needed to sort out my fuel. I'd been on a Lucozade Caffeine drink up to now which did quench my thirst but I found it was putting me on temporary highs before hitting big lows. Time to sort it out - I pulled out some carb powder and mixed it with water at the check point hoping that this would sort me out until the finish, only around 10k to go. It was then I realised how stunning this check point was, definately a place to return to with the family especially as Ellen couldn't be around at this check point.

Despite how I was feeling, I realised I was actually still in the mix at this point with plenty of runners around me. This bucked me up a lot and after a hug (and a vow never to do this again - later to be retracted) with Stephen and Karen I made my way down to the sand at St Ives Bay for the long sandy slog around to Hayle. A stunningly beautiful day but a little too hot for running a coastal path marathon but it actually felt great to be on the beach. I saw a couple of competitors take their pumps off to run bare footed across the sand. I was tempted but also worried that I wouldn't be able to put them back on when we got to Hayle for the run up to the race HQ.

Eventually, after what seemed a long, long time, at the end of the beach run I made for the coastal path once more and picked up the road to CP4 (put in place to prevent a short cut across the dunes!) where I was met by Ellen (back from taking the kids to Grandma and Grandads house). A quick kiss and cuddle and I found new vigour as there was only a couple of miles on road left to go. The concrete and tarmac was a welcome relief and I picked up the pace and ran all the way to the Race HQ.

The run-in to Day 2 finish line.

I eventually ran across the finish line to the cheers of Ellen, Stephen, Karen, Marta and Al (who had finished only a couple of minutes before me). Whilst I sat to recover, Stephen sneaked off a bought me a hooded VO2 ACC top which was fantastic although I swore not to wear it until I had completed day three (but haven't taken it off since!)

The day was completed by the most fantastic tomato and lentil soup courtesy of the VO2 caterers (nice one guys!) Ellen then helped me hobble back to the car and then back to Newquay for the night. I felt ok considering the past 2 days and we even managed to go out to Pizza Express. Just a matter of seeing how I would feel by the morning, but I had got this far, I was determined to finish no matter what.

26.2 miles - 06:02:00

74th position out of 158

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