Arriving at 09.10 we were among the first to register and pick up our numbers for this 10 mile trail run through the beautiful estate grounds of Lanhydrock House, a National Trust property in the heart of Cornwall. The race was scheduled to start at 10.00. We'd been on holiday in Cornwall for the past week, clocking up around 35 miles of mixed training including two sets of 15x150m fast repetitions and some swimming in rough seas, so we were reasonably fit. As prize categories only extended to MV65 I'd no expectations of winning anything but felt pretty sure my wonderful partner would take one of the LV60 prizes.
The start was a little congested so we back markers were slowly away, round a sharp left turn onto a narrow woodland path where it was impossible to pass anyone. It suited me fine, giving me chance to settle into a rhythm I intended to maintain throughout. Soon we were onto a wider track and the group thinned out as the tough got going. After a two mile loop we passed the start line to much spirited applause from the many spectators and supporters. We needed that encouragement to help us up the next hill.
As there was no category for geriatric 78 year olds I'd told my wonderful partner that my sole intention was to RUN rather than RACE this 10 miles, for there was no way I could beat the fit youngsters in the MV65 category. I'd settled into a steady pace and was running for sheer enjoyment. Or so I thought!
As the route rose somewhat steeply up then along the top of a grassy field at 7½ miles I found myself catching a grey haired gentleman I guessed was an MV65 veteran and the old brain suddenly switched into racing mode. I surged past him. The adrenalin was beginning to flow and my pace increased as I cruised along 'running loose, running with style, step by step, mile after mile', cutting down the distance to the group ahead. At 8½ miles I passed another tall, grey haired bespectacled gentleman who was running well but was destined to finish another place down his category as I began to think I might even finish in a medal position, maybe bronze. The last ¼ mile was downhill and I was flying by now (5.37 pace, according to my Garmin) overtaking other runners racing each other to the finish, one of whom was Hannah Clitherow, 3rd LV45. My time was 1.35.46 in 102nd position from 161 finishers. Not bad for a route with 1,520ft of ascent.
|Gold for Old Runningfox
Years ago, too many to remember, I saw a film starring a young Paul Newman based on the life of Rocky Graziano, the middleweight boxer. It was called 'Somebody up there likes me' . I can echo that statement. At Church next Sunday there'll be cause for some special thanksgiving. Maybe even a few tears....
Results here. Click on Lanhydrock 10.