Race report – Imerys Trail Marathon and Half Marathon

This is the first time I have ever won a race in seven years of running, so I have to say it’s my proudest running moment yet, writes Simon Williams.

After running the Trevornick 10 miler the week before, I got a massive blister on my foot so wasn’t able to do much running in the week leading up to the Imerys Half. All I could do was put a blister plaster on and do some sessions on my spin bike and a gentle run on Friday to test the blister out. Perhaps this gave my running muscles a well-needed rest and helped with my performance running the Imerys Half.

My son Blake entered the fun run and was determined to make up for the previous day’s abysmal performance in the county 1500m championships.

So race morning, and I decided to go for the easy option of a bowl of muesli with bananas and blueberries on top instead of the usual porridge. I also has a glass of orange juice mixed with a couple of spoonfuls of Spirulina which is basically pond scum in powdered form and it tastes ridiculously disgusting.

It’s a nice change having a race so close to home so we enjoyed the gentle 1 mile walk up to the college. Unfortunately, we left it a bit late so had to rush to get ready and there was no time for a proper warm-up. For some reason it’s usually hot and sunny for this race indeed the weather was bright and sunny before the race started.

Enough waffle, let’s talk about the race! Five minutes were spent waiting in the start area and chatting to fellow runners about the pain ahead. Then a professional starter in a red coat got us under starters orders. “On your marks! Bang”.

I found myself in the lead straight away and was still in that position after doing the initial two laps of the college. Then it was on to a narrow track and then onto the road for the first mainly uphill mile. Throughout the race, I kept thinking back to last years race and how it compared to this years; and for the first mile and indeed throughout the race, I felt great compared to a year ago.

This year’s route had some changes to previous years race and on the third mile we found ourselves descending Drummer’s Hill – a lovely descent.

Another new section in the route was through Wheal Martyn. Being a more interesting part of the course took my mind off the drudge of it being all uphill. We had to go under a low stone tunnel being careful not to bang our heads. Short people had the advantage here. Up some steps and then it was back on to the main part of the Imerys landscape.

Miles four and five were possibly the toughest parts of the course will some evil climbs. Even the lead cyclists struggled up the steepest parts and I found myself overtaking one of them at one point.

The weather turned out not to be too hot as it started to cloud over and treat the runners with the odd cool shower,

At about mile six I still felt strong and this is where I started to believe I could win the race. Glancing over my shoulder I saw the tall figure of my usual rival James Barnet a couple of hundreds yards behind. Glancing over my shoulder (which you shouldn’t really do!) became a more frequent occurrence. Luckily each time I glanced the gap had got slightly bigger.

The support at each checkpoint was amazing, and it was good to see the familiar faces of fellow STARC members willing me on.

Down another lovely steep track and then joining the road, I found myself at mile 9. I gratefully grabbed a few jellybabies from a kind lady at the side of the road because I went through a slightly bad patch at this point.

After a mile or so and re-energised by the jellybabies, it was back onto the trails again. After waving to Derrin Blewitt at the bridge I found myself at Drummer’s hill again. This time though I had to run UP it. Remembering how tough this hill is after 11 miles, I didn’t push too hard and just trotted to the top in a casual fashion.

Now I was into the last 1.5 miles. I had another glance behind my shoulder but there was no sign of anybody! It’s this point I knew I was going to win the race so it was just a matter of pushing on and trying to get as good a time as possible.

Rounding the bend and back onto the last short section of trail, I waved to the marshals and did a mini fist pump. Into the college grounds, I felt my leg started to cramp up and thought “I’d be in trouble if I was doing the marathon so thank God I’m not”.

I could hear the cheering of the crowd as I approached the finish line and this lifted me to put on a sprint finish. Over the finish line, I held my arms aloft…I’d won! An experience I’ve never had before and probably never will again! A big high five with John Wisner.

Now I can finally stop, collect my goodie bag, medal and relax. Blake came over to me and gave me a big hug which really made my day. Also, he’d come third in the fun run, making up for the previous day’s disappointment.

The support was fantastic, and the event really well organised as usual. A tough route, made even tougher with the new sections this year. There were some good results from other STARC members including Alex Payton coming third overall  in the ladies race, Tim Adams coming runner-up in the marathon, Iain Walker winning his age category and team prizes.

I ended the day going for a meal with Blake at the Nepalese Gurkha restaurant to celebrate. All paid for out of my £50 prize money.

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