Race Report by Fiona Ryan
I thought it would be a good idea to do a 10k whilst on holiday in Cornwall, the plan being to keep my legs moving.
To my surprise, Run Britain had a 10k listed 4 miles away from where I was staying. The race was organised by Hayle Running Club. I quickly registered before I had time to change my mind. First mistake is not checking the route! As my holiday drew nearer I thought I had better check it out. It was advertised as a ‘multi terrain course’ starting on the beach, climbing into the dunes of Hayle Towans and finishing back on the beach.
I turned up in plenty of time to find the St Ives Surf and Rescue Club house and collect my number, that in itself was a challenge. It was located on an off road track across the beach. I was met by a very friendly group of runners, and much to my surprise, another few holiday makers looking for a challenge. Whilst queuing for the loos I soon realised that this was going to be a hard one, described by many Cornish runners as ‘horrific!’
Well, I made my way to the beach start line, explaining to other runners that this was my first ever beach run. I was told to take it slow as the sand was very soft in places, I could see the rolling gold sands as far as the eye could see. The race organiser explained the route, advising that this was not a PB course. There were lots of loud laughs from others that had done this race in previous years.
We were off at 7pm with a fine wind behind me. The first mile was like running in treacle followed by a mile of wet, harder sand; the final mile before leaving the sand was a combination of both. We followed the route to Godrevy Lighthouse, a welcome sight, as I knew we were leaving the sand behind at this point. We followed the steps to the dunes, marshals telling us there was no overtaking on the steps, myself and a few other runners laughed and said “no chance”, I was lucky to reach the top. I can only compare the feeling in my legs to that of getting out of the pool after a long swim. At the top of the steps, as promised, there was a two mile track of sweeping dunes, ‘undulating’ does not describe how hard this route was. The marshals, as always at such races, were fabulous, encouraging and very interested in my red and white colours. At the end of the dunes I was faced with a dune that we were not allowed to run up, it was a steep climb up to what locals called the ‘mother of all dunes.’ Again, as promised, the view from the top was amazing; you could see across the whole bay of St Ives a fabulous sight, I hate to admit it but this made the run worth the effort. Well, with the climb came a steep descent which many of the Cornish trail runners, to my amazement, ran down. I felt like I slid down most of it, concentrating on staying upright. At this point I remembered that I had a fear of heights, but I think the difficulty of this race had prevented me from remembering this fact! At the bottom of the dune was a loud roar from a speaker, singing out “back on the beach”, this was a nice touch and made me laugh.
The final mile was back along the beach, by this time I had found my legs again, I could see the finish line in the distance and lots of runners starting to walk, I was told this was a hard finish. By this point, because obviously I wasn’t in the first half of finishers, the sand had been churned up, making it difficult to keep my balance. I could see my husband in the distance, he must have been cold, as he was wearing my sun hat to fend off the wind that was on my back to start with and now was in my face. I was determined to run to the finish line. I dug in as I have been told to do on many Massey training sessions and ran to the finish line, passing a few Hayle club runners en route, so I was happy.
The medal at the end and a spot prize quickly eased the pain, followed by a kind lady from Hayle running club explaining that many Hayle runners volunteer because it’s such a tough course.
Thank you Massey’s for the hill work during training that I so often moaned through. I don’t think for a minute that my recent achievement would have been possible without the many Massey training tips.
Not my best time, but definitely the toughest 10k I’ve done.
Position – 120
Time – 71.50