If you ask any normal person where is the last place to go to in mid-November, he or she would say (without fear of controversy) Bodmin Moor, Cornwall. So where was I with 350 others yesterday at 1000 hrs? On the start line at Pensilva for the start of the Beast of Bodmin, also called the “toughest and friendliest marathon in the UK”. Correct on both counts I can assure you. Possibly harder than Snowdonia I reckon.
So there we were in full weather gear and we stood for a minute silence for the Paris atrocities. Touching moment and it made me think that despite what was to come over the next few hours, it will be nothing compared with those people in Paris.
We drove down on Saturday in dreadful rainy and windy weather that continued on Sunday as well, albeit the rain was drizzle not a downpour but so unpleasant for what was to come.
The 1st 14 miles are severely uphill and downhill ‘till you get to the top of the moor at Colliford Lake where on a normal day you can see the moor for miles in all directions with no trees, no farms, no humans, just bare exposed moorland and those rugged highland cattle. But yesterday the drizzle, wind, low clouds and mist meant virtually no views at all. Ughh. Even the marshals wished us “best of luck on the moor” from the 5 mile point. ”Why do they say that” asked a runner doing his 1st marathon? “You’ll soon find out” was my answer. I met him at he end and he said he understood my reply it was also his last marathon-ever!
Then at 15 a marshal shouted out “who from Massey and Coventry would get a cheer in the middle of Bodmin in November?” I replied “no one else as everyone has more sense than to be here”. We laughed. This man was John Aylmer’s friend from Cornwall who was not running this year but will be doing the Coventry Way next year John.
Then we passed Jamaica Inn at Bolventor at 15 where it was a downhill stretch following a stream for 5 miles then all hell started as the last 5 were mostly severely uphill back to Pensilva. Plus it was quite dark by now at 1530 hrs and all the cars had lights on so a dodgy finish on the small narrow roads. At least the final ¾ mile was down a hill to the Millenium Centre where patient Robina was waiting and bananas, pasties, cakes, hot drinks, medal, super hoodie (as usual), goodie bag and showers awaited us. Then to top it all I won a super plaque for 3rd place in 71-74 category. Nice reminder of my 15th marathon this year, and also the toughest.
So off road and shorter stuff now ‘till Feb when the halves and fulls start again. Roll on 2016 but let’s see some R&Ws at Bodmin next year and see what you are made of.
Dave Phillips 5hrs 46 mins.
Race report by Dave Phillips.