2017 is here and I’ve been planning my next batch of running races. This year I seem to be leaning more towards trail races which is interesting. Many appeal (it was hard to limit them for this post) and I won’t be doing them all. Aside from wanting to avoid race fatigue, entry depends on being child free, where the races are, and the dreaded possibility that an injury may come my way. I was looking to participate in more out of county events but a conversation with a fellow runner made me question this. There are so many good local races, why not stay closer to home?
Here are the races that have motivated me to run further and (hopefully) quicker over the next 12 months. Some are in Cornwall, others are further afield. I have already entered some….watch this space for others (all links are in the titles).
If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you will know I love this race. I really love it and it’s become a staple in my race calendar. There are 4 distances to choose from and all take on the unrelenting Cornish coastpath. It’s scenic, fun, and utterly draining. This year I am going to do the Red RAT – 20 miles from Portloe to Porthpean with a trillion steps in between (you think I’m joking). I have done the 11 course twice and while questioning my sanity for the duration of the run on each occasion, I always come back for more. This year I’m hoping to take full advantage of the after party and Cornish Rattler on tap. If you are interested, entries have opened and my place is booked. Be quick though, it fills up every year.
I don’t think I’ve heard of this one before, I stumbled across it when searching for trail races. It’s in Cornwall which makes it easier and is another coastpath number, covering 17 miles from St Just to St Ives. I have it on good authority that the later miles of the race are tough (this is the coastpath you know). I appear to like a challenge and sometimes I wonder if I have taken leave of my senses. I haven’t entered it yet but given how much I keep thinking about it, it’s probably only a matter of time. Lets hope the sprained ankle repairs quickly.
I have heard this is like running on the moon so what’s not to like? This race involves running up (or is it around?) a massive clay thing/peak which is a kind of landmark to us Cornish locals. Not sure what the rest of the course is like, probably quite taxing I would imagine. I think there is a pasty at the end too (I’m hoping it’s from Pearce’s Butchers). Which is a bonus.
EDEN MARATHON (OCTOBER)
My partner laughed when I said I was thinking of entering a marathon as I swore I would never do another one. To put this in context, the only 26.2 I completed was in 2003. I was single, not a parent, and had all the time in the world to become a running enthusiast. I’ve been thinking though, if I’m doing an off road 20 miler in August, I may as well add 6 more and do a marathon, right? This one is in October and there is a half distance too for those interested. There is no doubting the Eden Project as an excellent place to start and end a race, especially as all family supporters get free entry. For those that have never been it’s in a massive old clay pit. Which means hills. I looked at a couple of race reviews of this marathon and all swore how challenging the course is. I learnt I’d have to run (scramble and paw) my way up Helman’s Tor and it didn’t deter me. I have been thinking about a marathon for a while now so it’s time to crack on with it. Not sure what happened to the intention of doing a flat or undulating road course though.
CRANHAM BEAST (SEPTEMBER)
I used to live in Gloucestershire so Cranham isn’t completely unknown to me. It’s beautiful, with stretching woodland and endless hills. There are varying distances available, and me being me, the 16 “exceptionally hilly” miles appeals. Heaven only knows why. I think the idea of running in Gloucestershire is attractive – it’s familiar territory and I could meet up with a few friends who I have not seen for years. The only thing is it clashes with Truro Half which I throughly enjoyed last year.
TRURO HALF MARATHON (SEPTEMBER)
I ran the Truro half in 2016 and had a brilliant time, Don’t get me wrong, it has hills and is challenging but I loved it. The course starts in the city centre on Lemon Quay. Runners take a loop of the city and head out on the road to the Newham Trail for a mile or 2. This seems flat but it actually has a slight gradient which is excellent news for the return journey as you can pick up the pace a bit for the final miles. The Truro half is mainly a road route, going out to little places like Kea. It’s quite pretty really and the course can be quiet in places in terms of supporters. There are plenty of runners though and I don’t recall running alone for much of the course last year. Finishers usually get a pasty. And a medal. And a jacket (this was the 2016 finishers lot). And a bottle opener. And a pen. That’s all though.
THE ONES THAT LOOK GOOD BUT DIDN’T MAKE THE CUT (THIS YEAR)
BRISTOL BATH MARATHON (OCTOBER)
When I originally thought about doing a full marathon this one caught my attention. I like the idea of running from one city to another and it looks like a large, well organised event. It’s bound to draw a crowd and I do thrive on the camaraderie of larger events. I pre registered at the time, but have since realised that it is not a free weekend for me and I don’t feel right about going away. I thought it would be popular and having checked, all standard places have sold out. Worth keeping an eye though for another year.
CLEEVEWOLD 14 (MARCH)
This one falls on a weekend when I have my son, so it’s automatically a no-go. I am sure I marshalled for this race years ago and received a jar of local honey for my efforts. I don’t know if the route is the same, but all the local runners used to hark on about how hard it was. The race takes you up Cleeve Hill, which has stunning, almost panoramic views of the Cotswolds on a clear day. I would love to complete it another year, having fond memories of marathon training years ago in the same area. Surely it can’t be that bad!
TYWARDREATH TROTTER (JULY)
I’ve only done this once and my son likes to complete the fun run every year. I have other plans this year so attendance will be unlikely, although not impossible. This is a cracking race; a fun village affair, with locals and full-on serious runners taking on the mixed 7 mile terrain. It certainly isn’t boring and the atmosphere is something else. It starts in the centre of the village and follows the road and trail to the surrounding Cornish countryside. You cross farm land and take on some hills. You loop back at some point and before you know it, you are crossing fields and trying not to fall down the old steps that lead to the finish.
The village of Tywardreath is packed for this one. There’s plenty of cheer and encouragement for all participants. Naturally, the pub is the mecca for the traditional post-race banter, beer and BBQ, with kids going bananas in the beer garden. Winners are usually given things like sausages from the local butchers which is just brilliant. Everyone gets involved somehow, whether it’s running, marshalling, cheering or boozing. Every village should have a race like this. It’s always popular and you can enter on the day.
CHELTENHAM CHALLENGE (JUNE)
I’ve never thought about this one before but I like the look of it. It has the benefit of various distances, going right up to the heady height of ultra running. The half marathon distances starts just outside Cheltenham, going through Prestbury and taking you up on Cleeve Hill (they like it there don’t they?). it heads to South, which is just outside Cheltenham. It’s described as a multi terrain course which looks challenging, but hey, why be dull. I think discounted entries/early bird numbers are coming to an end if you are interested.
One day I will go abroad and run, another post for another time.
In the meantime, keep running and enjoy!