Tuesday, 29 June 2010

The Great Lanhydrock Trail Run

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.
The temperature rose to around 24ºC so a little hot for running, but most of the route was through sheltering trees as the trail wound it's way through delightful countryside, by a meandering river, past farms and wide open fields that were a joy to run. At some point I passed a young guy (compared to me) who spotted 'Runningfox' on the back of my vest. "I was looking at your website last night. Very impressive" he said. I only hope I lived up to those first impressions and didn't disillusion him!
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
Until I actually saw the results in black and white I couldn't believe what I heard at the prize giving. Results for each category were in reverse order, bronze first, silver 2nd and gold last. A chap called John Gilbert was called out for silver in the MV65 category.  I said to my partner "Hey, that's the chap I passed at 8½ miles".  I got the shock of my life when the next name to be called, for GOLD, was mine. And to put a little icing on the cake my wonderful partner was awarded Silver for finishing 2nd in the LV60 category.
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.


  1. Fantastic! Great result, very well done to both of you. I hope we can still be doing what you do when we are you your age. (-:

  2. Hi Runningfox,
    Congrats to you for your 1st place age group win:) You still got it and you amaze me with your speed! Congrats to your lady partner too...very impressive! I am thrilled for the both of you:) Thanks for sharing the wonderful picture of you with your bling! You look so happy and I love that! Cheers:)

  3. Such an awesome result. Well done runningfox!

  4. You are becoming an inspiration !!
    Congratulations and enjoy the rest until the next one !!

  5. Once a racer, always a racer! Very well done Runningfox (and your good lady too). Who'd have thought how valuable those reps on the cricket pitch would be!
    Thank you too for the neck advice. All the best.

  6. I told you I was putting my money on you to win that one! Well done, inspiration...