Cornish Marathon, Bodmin Moor – 20.11.16

Race Report by Dave Phillips

Some say the Cornish is the toughest marathon in the UK and also the most beautiful and friendliest. Correct on all counts but who in his or her right mind would go to Bodmin Moor in late November whatever the reason? Well 450 did to run around probably the remotest part of planet earth! Must be mad. This event usually takes me 45 mins longer than a normal marathon.

The start was 1000 hrs but the organisers let me go at 09:00 hrs so that I could nurse my knee and not keep them up too late! The knee cartilage and cyst have reduced their severity so there is no operation in the foreseeable future unless it flares up again. Phew so good news there.

So I led for the 1st 8 miles but what a killer this run is with the 1st 15 miles mostly upwards until you get to Colliford Lake right on the top of the moor with no trees, houses, farms or any sign of life except those hardy cattle staring at you saying “are you lot mad coming up here?” Yes I replied. Then a cheer went “come on Massey” and it was John Aylmer’s Cornish friend who couldn’t run this year-injured.

Then at 16 at Bolventor there are signs of life as the crowds have gathered outside Jamaica Inn of Daphne du Maurier fame to wave us on. Could easily have popped in and called Robina to come and collect me! Then for about 4 miles it’s actually downhill as we follow a stream down the side of the road but then at 20 the brutality starts again as it’s all up and down (not much down) to the end back in Pensilva at the Millennium Centre HQ. And what a superb finish with medal, hoodie, bananas, tea and coffee, hot pasties, and a goodie bag full of food. Plus I won a superb marble plaque for coming 3rd in my age category (the 4th year running I’ve won an age category prize here). So we went away back to the B&B very full handed indeed.

Well what about storm Angus? Saturday night was horrific with wind and rain lashing our farmhouse B&B and the trees were nearly horizontal. But Sunday morning was a complete transformation with sun and no wind, in fact perfect for the Beast of Bodmin on which we were to embark. What happened was that the storm moved slightly east and lashed Devon and all along the south coast and left us alone. Mind you the drive back on Monday was horrific with rain like we’ve never seen before and flood warnings all over the place especially Exeter not too far from Bodmin. Had the weather stayed as it was on Saturday night or been like it was on Monday down there the run would have been cancelled.

But we all survived and despite my race walking for much of the event I guess we will be back next year.

So that’s marathon 474 out of the way and my 61st race of the year so 2016 is not over yet now that the knee is OK ish.

Massey time:

Dave Phillips 6hrs 27 mins.