Race to the Stones by Pat

It was 2019 when I first booked my slot to do Race to the Stones. I never looked at running long distance before, but it was a chat with a club member that first brought this race to my attention a couple of years before. It nagged away in the back of my mind – could I do that? How long would that take? How far is 100km anyway?!

I managed to injure my knee training for the London Marathon that year, so I had to defer that year’s RttS until 2020. Of course, due to Covid, that didn’t happen either, but it gave me the opportunity to do a few long distance runs just to see what it was like: The Saint’s Way, St Michael’s Way, Bissoe Trail, Smuggler’s Way and of course, Doug’s StARC Padstow to Charlestown Way. As those who ran them with me will know, I didn’t exactly ease through those runs. The longest was about 36 miles, the longest I’d ever run, and I just couldn’t comprehend how I could do another 26 miles on top of that.

I started my training at the beginning of February. A plan to slowly build up my stamina and strength over a 5-month period. All went well for 3 months until my left calf started to ache. At first the ache took a few hours to ease off but started to get worse and worse. Eventually I had no option but to stop running or run the real risk of having to defer the Race again. I didn’t want to do that. In all it took about 6 weeks of hardly any running to get to a point where I could run without any discomfort, or it didn’t take long afterwards to recover. My training was in a mess by now, but I wanted to get this Race done. I managed a couple of runs on the Saturday and Sunday before the Race without any problems so I decided that I would do it and take it steady. My first Race in my new StARC running vest.

I travelled up the day before the Race and stopped in a B&B in Avebury. I didn’t know when I booked it, but the B&B turned out to be about a 2-minute walk from the finish line, and from where I had to get the bus to the start line the following morning. Pure chance, but Avebury isn’t that big. I just thought because I got a room there it must be further away because surely all the B&Bs would have been booked by runners ages ago. I had a quick walk around the village, took a few photos and then went back to my room to sort my kit out. Dinner was pasta, the same as it was on Thursday, Wednesday, Tuesday, etc, etc…..

It was a 5am start on Saturday, although I didn’t sleep that well. Desperate not to miss the alarm going off, I dosed pretty much all night! Just as well because when I looked at the clock just before I got up, the batteries had died in the night. My watch told me it was 5am. My Race start wave time was 8:50am, so I had booked to catch the shuttle coach from the finish to the start. It took 1½ hours to get to the start at Lewknor in Oxfordshire. I ate my packed breakfast from the B&B on the way.

The start at Lewknor was a very big open field. I picked up a couple of protein bars and High 5 electrolyte tablets, then my tracker. I got the tracker primarily so Wifey could watch me progress along the route, but I enjoy dot watching others when they do their races, so I thought I’d put it up on Facebook just in case others wanted to follow me. I’m so glad I did; the comments on Facebook were so hopeful to read when I stopped at the pitstops along the route.

Although my start time wave was 8:50am they were allowing people to filter through the start line when they were ready. So, after a quick toilet break, I ran across the line and started my watch. Immediately I was photographed by the official photographer which caught me off guard. There were a few places on the route where they seemed to appear out of nowhere. Thankfully, they always shouted first so I could put my smiley face on!!

The weather was perfect: overcast and not too warm. I passed the 1KM marker before I even left the starting field. This is going to be easier than I thought. Only 99KM to go. The route was marked in KMs along the whole route: every KM! There were also thousands of reflective arrow pointers along the route. It was impossible to get lost. At night there were glow sticks: it was very rare that you couldn’t see the next glow stick after just passing one, and then it would have been on a straight and obvious path. I kept having to translate KM into miles just so I could get an idea of distance.

The first part of the route was through trees and narrow paths. The Organizers had tried to string out the starters so that we wouldn’t all be falling over each other, but soon there were ‘congas’ of people walking/running through narrow paths. Once it opened out, I felt really good and got caught up with a couple of runners, completely forgetting Gemma’s advice (don’t go off fast and keep it steady…). That soon caught up with me, and Gemma and other’s advice did come back to me early enough that I didn’t wreck my race completely. The other most important piece of advice which again I remembered later than I should have done was from Dave Speake: Walk the hills; ALL the hills.

I got into Pitstop 1 before I knew it. It was only about 5½ miles from the start. Water, protein bars, crisps, High 5 gels & tablets, tea/coffee. Lots of stuff that could delay you, but I was told ‘don’t spend much time in the pitstops’ and ‘don’t sit down’. Grab and go, so I did. These bits of advice came from the RttS support groups on Facebook. I now realise that some are helpful, some are not. It all depends on you and what type of runner you are, and you don’t know what type of runner is giving out this advice.

After Pitstop 1 the route was mainly down hill so I could continue with the pace a little bit, towards Pitstop 2, almost 8 miles further on. The section took me through the ‘Field of Dreams’. In fact, it is 2 fields, but that’s being picky. Everyone stopped to take photos and video the runners running down the path with their arms out trying to brush the top of the Corn. Unfortunately, the path is quite wide nowadays and the corn a bit short, and therefore you need really long arms! A photographer was waiting at the end of the path and yes, I have a picture of me running down the hill with my arms out……….

Into Pitstop 2 and it was at this point that I thought I’d better get some food on board so a chicken sandwich, a bag of crisps and a top up with water and High 5 tablet and I was off again. This sandwich was a mistake. It was just solid and sat there in my gut making me feel heavy and gave me a mild stitch. I could tell I was starting to slow down. The initially euphoria was waning and the realisation of another 50 miles to go hit home. That’s when I started hearing Gemma and Dave’s advice in my head. The best advice being remembered too late?

Out of Pitstop 2 there’s a nice long flat bit, but due to the overnight rain the path was very slick mud. It was hard to run on which sapped more energy. I got into Goring and then over the River Thames to Streatley, and then there was a hill. It was a long hill, a very long hill. A relentless climb for 3½ miles. Not stupidly steep but steep enough and long enough to make me review my life choices. I came into Pitstop 3 a mess and seriously considered whether this Race was really for me. The almost 9 miles from Pitstop 2 had really taken it out of me. It was at this point that I started to go against some of the advice from other runners on the Facebook support groups: I sat down. Thank God I did. I was told ‘if you sit down you won’t get up again’, ‘It’ll be too painful to start running again’ and ‘keep your legs moving’. No. I’m sorry, that’s rubbish. For me anyway. Sitting down gives you a chance to get the blood that’s pounding away and working hard in your legs to divert to your stomach and start to digest food. This is one of the biggest lessons I learned in this Race. I deliberately sat down for a good 10 to 15 minutes at every pitstop from then on. It saved me. That and the revelation that are Oranges, Salt & Vinegar crisps, and a cup of tea. Flat coke is another one. I’ve tried flat coke before and yeah, well, ok, but now I realise this stuff is amazing. Two cups and off we go again. Many lessons learned at Pitstop 3.

I didn’t go out like a rocket; I took it steady. I walked the hills, no matter how short. I started to talk to people, not just snatches of brief conversation. I took in the views and oh my god, the views. The Race is along the The Ridgeway, an ancient footpath. It sounds obvious to me now, but unsurprisingly the path is on a ridge (who’d have thought!). The views out across Oxfordshire and Wiltshire are spectacular and endless. The Race is worth it just for this alone.

Coming out of Pitstop 3 the route drops a bit and then a steady climb for 8 miles, plenty of time for talking and taking in the views. I met one guy who happily told me his life story and then when I bumped into him again about an hour later, he told me all over again! I didn’t have the heart to tell him we’d met before, and I didn’t want to freak him out by relaying his life story back to him!

It was a little bit of running and a lot of walking on this stretch, all the way into Pitstop 4, the halfway point or Base Camp, at 31 miles. This is where the Weekenders stopover in tents to carry on the rest of the Race the next day. It’s also where those doing the Saturday 50KM finish and get their medals, and where the Sunday 50KM runners start. There was an ultra large size TV with the tennis being shown, a bar, showers, and a Dixons Carphone Warehouse tent (the sponsors). More importantly there was hot food. I wanted to get there in time for the soup and I thought I’d done it. This was a motivator for me: something easily digestible, hot, and energising. The cut off for the soup was 5pm which was when they started the full meal menu. I arrived at about 4:30pm to find the soup had already stopped and dinner was being served. I think the disappointment must have shown on my face when I asked at the info desk where the soup was! I followed the volunteer around as she made enquiry after enquiry to try to help me. Empty handed in the end but there’s helpful and there’s dedicated and my god she was dedicated. In the end I decided to look at the full menu and chose southern fried chicken nuggets, pasta with vegetables and a massive dollop of guacamole. Bit of a weird mix I know but every part of this hit the spot. I was worried that I’d overdone it and a stitch would materialise again on the next leg, but no such thing. I had more tea, and then as the rain started to come down, I stood out in it, taking in the views across the miles and miles of Oxfordshire countryside whilst eating an orange ice lolly. Heaven. This was halfway. I felt so much better and of course wanted to carry on. I had a chat with a guy who wanted to call it a day. I don’t know what his final decision was, but I can remember thinking ‘why not carry on?’, ‘why not see how far you can go?’, but really that was me thinking about my situation, not his. Only he knew what was the right decision for him.

The flags marking the next leg stretched out across the field in front of the main tent. Everybody could look down and see those carrying on to do the ‘straight through 100KM’. Many people I spoke to said they couldn’t conceive of doing the next 50KM straight away and were stopping over. There was however a steady stream of walkers and runners setting off in the pouring rain following the flags across the field and out of sight. I drank 2 cups of flat coke, grabbed a bag of crisps and set off to follow them.

The next leg was a surprise to me. I’d done half of the Race and after walking to let my food digest a bit I felt great. I got into a steady rhythm of walking and running which I wouldn’t have thought possible at Pitstop 3. It was during this leg that I suddenly realised ‘I can do this’. There were far fewer people on this half of the Race, and I saw many people dropping out at each Pitstop from here on. The rain slowly petered out, but I kept my waterproof on to let it dry out before going back in my pack. It was only just over 6 miles to Pitstop 5.

Pitstop 5 was a bit of a weird stop. To get to the Pitstop the Race took you off the main Ridgeway for 600 metres. All the necessaries were there (Oranges, tea, flat coke and, oh my god… soup), but you met the runners coming back from the Pitstop as you were going down to it. They all carried cups of tea with them, all of them, all wanting to save time getting back to The Ridgeway. The 600-metre excursion was all incorporated into the overall distance, so it had to be done because of the timing mats. The pathway was narrow with 2 deep ruts you had to walk down like walking a tightrope. That was hard work at that stage of the Race, and then doing the same with a cup of tea in your hand on the way back was even more of a struggle.

After packing my waterproof away, I was off again balancing my cup of tea. The sun came out. It was such a beautiful evening, and this perfectly captured the views off into the distance. It was dry for the rest of the Race. There was only about an hour of rain or drizzle at the halfway point. We were so lucky with the weather.

I ran the flat and downhills and power-walked the hills. I felt so full of energy at this point, no doubt from the food at Base Camp. This part of the Race reminded me of the clay trails. Very similar underfoot. Eventually the route left the trails and I walked on a road for some way to get to what seemed to be the entrance to a large stately home: Pitstop 6. Just as I was coming into the Pitstop I started to feel my energy levels dropping again. It was starting to get dark, and I felt colder. More tea, soup and flat coke and a quick phone call home to check in and check everything was ok. I realised that I was getting tired now.

When I started out again, I had to put a top on to warm me up. When I got back onto the Ridgeway proper it really got dark. The head torch came out and the idea of running lost its appeal. The Ridgeway is pretty much a track from here until the next Pitstop: very rutted and uneven, making it very hard to run on at night. I realised when I looked at my watch that my best-case scenario of getting the Stones by midnight was well out of the window. It was already 10:30pm with 15 miles to go. There were times when I was completely on my own with no sound around except for the odd owl, in the pitch black except for my head torch, walking in the middle of nowhere. The glow sticks came into their own along this stretch just to confirm I was going in the right direction. I’d love to see what the route was like in daylight from here to the end, but now it was just head down and keep going. At times I could look back and forward along the Ridgeway and see a trail of head torches following or leading in the distance. What a memory.

Getting to Pitstop 7 seem to take forever, most probably because I couldn’t see any scenery. Runners were scarce and when they appeared from behind it made me jump! It was nice to see head torches up ahead and slowly make progress on them. A quick chat: checking we were all ok, and then we separated again at our different paces. Pitstop 7 was at the top of a longish hill, and you could see the lights of it for some way off, but it just never seemed to get any closer. My calculation to get there was off by about a mile.

Coming in to Pitstop 7 was very different to other Pitstop. It was roughly about half past midnight and very quiet. People were sat around in quiet conversation. Unlike all the previous Pitstop there was no one in the Medic tent which was stark contrast to the Medic tent at Pitstop 6 which reminded me of a small World War One hospital! The volunteers at Pitstop 7 were chatty though, trying to perk everyone up, making tea, coffee and soup. Yes, more soup and tea and I was off again. The last leg and the Stones (almost) in sight. As I was leaving, I stupidly asked a volunteer how much further, when I should have realised that this was the last Pitstop in a 62.2-mile Race, so I could have calculated the next stop came at 62.2 miles on my watch! I was very tired though. He didn’t laugh, he just told me I had about 12KM to go and even translated that into miles.

Back out into the dark and no idea where I was going except towards the glow sticks. There were some really treacherous parts of the path here. Some very steep downhills and very uneven. It was brutal on the quads and keeping balance was a real task. About 2 to 3 miles out from the finish there is a section of path that could be a real game changer for those not paying attention. Proper leg breaker or at least twisted ankle holes, ruts, dips, roots and stones. There was no chance to get a rhythm of walking going; it was just one step to the next and hopefully avoid falling. This went on for a mile, and the few conversations with people after this section confirmed my worries with stories of them falling and scraping legs and knees. There was no option but to take it slowly and swear.

Then the long downhill to the Stones. More head torches appeared ahead, and I got closer and closer to the end. The route takes you to the Stones (or 2 of them) but then you double back to do the final mile into a farm for the finish. This meant that I saw head torches coming towards me as I was going to the Stones, and they were coming back before they turned off for the final part to the finish. There were lots of ‘well done’ and ‘congratulations’ back and forth as I passed them. Reaching the Stones meant a quick walk through a field, past lots of curious sheep staring at me, and around the 2 Stones before a photographer appeared out of the darkness and took my photo. I then did the walk back up the lane saying ‘well done’ and ‘congratulations’ to all those coming down. It was surprising how many people I saw at this stage bearing in mind only about an hour before I seemed to be on my own, or just one or two others. I turned off the lane to walk across a field and then turned left again down a lane for the final ½ KM. Lights, cheering, cow bells, clapping all awaited as I crossed the line. I managed to smile. That was real. The photographer took his photo and I now have it as proof.

I finished at 3:20am, some 18 hours 59 minutes and 13 seconds after I started, including Pitstops. This was 4 hours longer than I’d hoped it would take but did that matter? not a bit. I’d done it, I’d finished. I’d officially run and walked 62.2 miles, my longest distance ever. I had Raced to the Stones.

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STARC Beats Storm Dennis

With many race cancellations across the country due to the impact of Storm Dennis, Bodmin Half Marathon in the Multi Terrain Series went ahead starting and finishing at Bodmin College whilst taking on the grounds of the National Trusts, Lanhydrock Estate.

A fantastic turnout for St Austell Running Club with superb results to go with it from everyone. Battling through the rain and mud on this brutal hilly course, David Tregonning lead the mens team to a third place finish alongside Steve Williams (pictured), Jamie Youlden and Andy Chase. Scooping age category prizes too for David and Steve who both finished third.

The ladies were not to be out done though. Debbie Starkey (pictured), the winning female overall leading the ladies team also to a third place finish with the help of Stacie Marks, Jane Moore and Izzy Irwin. Both Debbie and Stacie picking up age category prizes, first and third. A continued great start to the series for both the men and ladies. Huge thank goes to our hosts Bodmin Road Runners and the race marshals for taking on the elements themselves, guiding the runners around this beautiful course.

Congratulations to both Stacie and Debbie as well, as they have been added to the provisional selection for Cornwall in the Celtic Trail Championships taking part in France later this year.

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ARC and NQ10K 2020

From the coastline to the road

What a fantastic weekend for St Austell Running Club with a host of runners tackling the south west coast path at this years Mudcrew event, the Arc of Attrition and keeping to the roads of Newquay 10k

Two races, one at 100 miles and one at 50. Starting at 12:00pm from Coverack for the 100 miles, all the way to Porthtowan to the finish taking on what the coastline threw at them. The toughest sections coming up at Pendeen and Zennor to the delights of seeing St Ives, the final check point.

Paul Stevens (below) with a cracking debut effort at Sub28 in a time of 27:31:47. Running all of the distance with Mudcrew runner Sy Powell and having a helping hand from Alan Giles and Amy Bawden as their crew. 

Back for his second time, Alan Wherry (below) bringing home the buckle in a superb time of 33:50:16. Dave Speake unfortunately not making the start. It was amazing to see the support out on route for everyone and of course for each checkpoints to have an array of volunteers to lend a helping hand.

In the other event, 50 miles starting at the famous Minack Theatre and again finishing at Porthtowan running over the already trodden ground of the 100 mile runners. A great set of numbers from the purple and gold with Jez Mancer coming in at 12:42:41 closely following by Leanne Smith in 12:49:14. Steve Gardiner (14:42:17), Karl Walker (14:43:02)

Nigel Marshall (below)(14:43:03) all dipping under 15 hours, with some making their debut at this distance. Could the 100 mile event be tempting for them next year?

Sadly Karina Bowers pulled out at Hayle in 10:24:28 alongside Jane Appleton at St Ives in 9:07:44, but still a remarkable effort in those conditions under foot.

On to the road now in the latest Cornish Grand Prix Series, Newquay 10k where James Cutlan (above) finishing 6th overall, lead the men’s team to a 6th place finish alongside David Tregonning, Jamie Daniel, Tim Adams, Paul Johnson and Mathew Henderson. Malcolm Roberts (below) once again picking up the rewards with a first in his age category to continue his fine start to the season. A great day out for many with some notable personal bests and club debuts in the purple and gold. 

Next up for many in the series will be Looe 10 with the Bodmin Half Marathon coming up in the Multi Terrain Series too.

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Stormforce 10 2020

A crisp, frosty cold undulating 10 miles awaited the purple and gold with the Cornish Grand Prix season kicking off down at Camborne. This race is always hindered with poor weather but with a clear sunny sky it was alway going to be the temperature to play against.

As runners lined up on the start line with beaming smiles ready to go, it soon began. That famous first mile heading out towards Barripper is always a fast one as the loop towards Leedstown ticks off the miles and leads you back to that downhill section where now you climb back up towards the finish line at Camborne School. A top event as always hosted by Carn Runners, with a marvellous spread of food and hot drinks for finishes to indulge all for a charitable cause.

This year saw an impressive 561 runners take part with our very own Iain Walker picking up second in his age category, 60-64. (pictured)

Iain Walker Running Strong

Malcolm Roberts continues where he left off last season collecting first in his age category, 65-70. A great start to the new season for everyone. Some running this race for the first time and some with notable personal bests too..

The next race coming up in the series is on Sunday 2nd February, Newquay 10k.

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Tinsel Run 2019

A festive finish for St Austell Running Club with their annual “Tinsel Runs” on Monday and Thursday. 

A fun filled run for all with this social gathering. Donations going towards chosen charities,as runners look to 2020 for their London Marathon preparation. The streets of St Austell lit up with Christmas lights, tinsel and fancy dress. It was our wonderful Monday Run/Walk group to lead the way (below). A great opportunity for anyone who is looking to start running in the New Year. Our 0-5k group will be starting very soon. Keep your eyes out for the dates.

Next up, Thursday. St Austell Running Club at it again. Donations going to YHA for Merlin Keating who will be running his first ever marathon at London, a charity that transforms young lives forever through travel and real adventure. Merlin put on a “post Tinsel Run tipple” for all with mince pies, mulled wine along with games and prizes to be won. A fantastic way to finish off the year of running.

 So as the year of 2019 comes to an end, from all at St Austell Running Club. We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year with family and friends.

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Race report – Cornish Marathon

First place again for Stu!

St Austell’s Stuart Nicholas followed up his win at the Imerys Cornish Trail Marathon to be the returning hero once more, as he won the Cornish Marathon in horrendous conditions in East Cornwall.

The race, which almost didn’t happen, has to be altered on the eve of the race with the route altered and runners forced to abandoned the long stretch of drains valley and do a hastily-designed out an back route.

This did not deter the runners and huge numbers of runners came out for what was the final race of the 2019 Cornish Grand Prix series.

Stuart, now living in Bournemouth, has had a great season, and followed up his win over Imerys and second at Eden to win the Cornish marathon, clocking a pace of 6.23 minute mile to come first in two hours, 47 minutes and 26 seconds.

Stuart led a very strong St Austell team to first place with Paul Stevens, fourth, in 3.02.12, Tim Adams, 10th, 3.08.29, and David Tregonning, on his marathon debut 15th in 3.14.29.

The strength in depth for St Austell was there for all to see and their ‘B’ team also picked up a prize, finishing in third with Alan Wherry, 36th, 3.30.59, Jez Mancer 43rd, 3.32.46, Dan Nicholls, 45th, 3.33.13, and Mike Greer, 48th, in 3.34.11.

Not to be outdone the ladies were also out in force and Carly Kendall once again showed her talent over the longer distance, putting last year’s injury woes behind her to finish second female in 3.34.02.

She was behind Joanne Robertson from Looe, who won in 3.18.50, but ahead of third-placed Kaye Patterson, 3.35.45.

Carly also led the ladies team to second place, along with Jo Collins (3.50.44), Stacie Marks (3.53.54) and Karina Bowers (4.17.49).

The testing elevation of the course, 2600ft did not disappoint and runners enjoyed a testing, if not gruelling, course.

There were also a number of age category prizes too, for Nicholas, Kendall, Stevens, Adams, Wherry and Doug Alsop.

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Race report – Eden Marathon and Half Marathon

Race report – Eden Marathon and Half Marathon 

An elite Kenyan runner smashed the Eden Project half-marathon course record with a stunning performance as the event celebrated its tenth birthday.

Benard Rotich, 33, crossed the line in one hour, nine minutes and 24 seconds, beating the previous record – set by Peter Le Grice in 2013 – by more than three and a half minutes.

The Eden Project Marathon was the original brainchild of St Austell Running Club and run in conjunction with the Eden Project, the 2019 version saw over 1,000 runners take to the hills of the local area for the marathon and half marathon.

One of those who helped instigate the race, Doug Alsop, who is a previous race director of the race swapped his organising for his running shoes to tackle the marathon for the first time on race day, along with son Dan and daughter-in-law Helen.

It was a great day for the club with Dan Alsop finishing second in his age category, Stuart Nicholas second overall and Paul Stevens, first in his age cat in the half marathon.

Stevens, eighth, was also part of the first-placed males team with David Tregonning, sixth, (1.22.25), Matthew Boynton (1.29.09), 12th, and Jacob Howard-Endean (1.29.53), 16th.

While the men’s marathon team of Alsop, John Wisner (3.31.38), Lee Tambling (3.39.53) and Francis Denton (3.52.39) also claimed first place.

The Ladies team finished second in the marathon with Karina Bowers (4.37.25), Holly Payne (4.57.34), Debbie Marshall (5.05.02) and Kim Fell (5.49.18) all coming in the team placings.

The Ladies team finished first in the half marathon with Carly Kendall, Stacie Marks, Jo Collins and Katie Stean completing the team.

Benard, who also broke the course record at the Eden parkrun, finished 11 minutes ahead of Kyle Darragh, 20, from Barnstable who runs with North Devon Athletic Club. Kyle came second with a time of one hour, 20 minutes and 26 seconds.

Third place was Eden Marathon veteran Marc Smerdon, who claimed his fifth top- three place in the races. Marc, 28 from Liskeard, who runs with Tavistock Run Project, finished in a time of one hour, 20 minutes and 58 seconds.

The fastest woman in the half marathon was Rachael Malthouse, also of Tavistock Run Project, in one hour, 33 minutes and 21 seconds. The challenging conditions were familiar to physiotherapist Rachael as she is used to running on the Dartmoor hills.

Second place woman in the half-marathon was Ami Yetton, 38, from Plymouth who competes for Plymouth Harriers. Ami finished with a time of one hour, 34 minutes and three seconds.

Third-placed woman was Lorna Ni Cheallaigh, 22, from Truro, making the podium at her first ever half-marathon. Lorna, who is unaffiliated with a club, finished with a time of one hour, 34 minutes and 32 seconds.

The marathon was won by Jamie Stephenson, 32, from Chacewater near Truro. GP in training Jamie finished with a time of two hours, 53 minutes and 50 seconds, improving on his 2018 third place finish.

Jamie, who competes for Mile High AC, finished ahead of last year’s winner Stuart Nicholas, running second claim for St Austell Running Club.

Stuart, 30, originally from St Austell but now living in Bournemouth, completed the course in a time of two hours, 56 minutes and 41 seconds.

In third position was Oliver Jones, 45, from Liskeard. The East Cornwall Harriers athlete crossed the line in three hours, two minutes and 53 seconds and added to his Eden Marathon medal haul following his third place in 2017 and second place in 2016.

Anne Matthews, 46, from Crawley in West Sussex, was the first female marathon runner to cross the line, winning with a time of three hours, 36 minutes and 25 seconds. Anne, who runs for Crawley Athletic Club, came to Eden as part of a trip to Cornwall to visit relatives and competed in the race for the first time.

Crossing the line in second was last year’s winner Charlie Ramsdale, 38, from Dartmouth. Unaffiliated runner Charlie finished with a time of three hours, 37 minutes 40 seconds, ahead of the youngest top three finisher in any of the Eden races this year, Madelaine Trudgian.

Madelaine, 18, from Fowey finished with a time of three hours, 38 minutes and 35 seconds. She achieved the podium finish in what was her first marathon.

With rain falling as the runners started the race, the weather cleared up later in the day and most finished their run under bright sunshine.

More than 1,500 runners registered for the 2019 Eden Project Marathon and Half Marathon, the tenth time the races have been run. These included runners from Malta, the Netherlands, Germany and Australia.

Eden stages the races in partnership with St Austell Running Club. Long-time Eden race director Doug Alsop stepped aside from his usual role to compete in the marathon for the first time this year. Andy Trudgian took up the role of race director in his stead.

Eden chief executive Gordon Seabright, who ran the full marathon, said: “This was an epic event to mark our 10th Eden Marathon. Cornwall threw every sort of weather it could at us – starting in pouring rain, buffeted by wind on the tors and finishing in glorious sunshine in front of the Biomes.

“There was an incredible spirit on the route, with runners supporting each other, villagers turning out to support us, and the amazing marshals and volunteers. It was even more special to be joined by our friends from Five Talents UK – a big group of runners getting their first experience of the Clay Country.

“And it was a very special thrill to welcome Benard, not only to today’s event but also the parkrun on Saturday. He has raised the bar for us all and has been incredibly generous in sharing his running expertise, taking us to a new level over this memorable weekend.”

Tracey Smith, Eden’s commercial director and the organiser of the Eden Marathon since the beginning, said: “What a journey we’ve been on during our first ten events. Benard’s incredible record-breaking win is the latest in a long line of great achievements Eden has seen over the years, whether it’s winning races, setting personal bests or just getting round our notoriously tough course.

“It’s been a great journey and one we couldn’t have done without the help and support of our friends at St Austell Running Club, the volunteers and marshals ensuring everyone is looked after on the course and, of course, all the runners who have competed over the years.”

It was once again another great day for St Austell Running Club and organisers have thanked all that have helped make the event a success.

For full results of the Marathon visit: https://www.edenproject.com/visit/whats-on/eden-marathon-half-marathon

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Race report – Cubert 2019

Prizes galore at Cubert

For the first time the Cubert Five-mile race moved to a Sunday morning in September.

Conditions were different than the usual red-hot summer heat, but competitors still took to the streets of Cubert for the little five-mile dash around the village.

St Austell Running Club again drew a great entrant for this race, the penultimate race of the 2019 Cornish Glass and Glazing Grand Prix.

Both Men’s and Ladies teams picked up prizes, with the men coming third through James Cutlan, David Tregonning, Paul Stevens, Matt Boyton, Tim Adams, Dan Bray and Lee Tambling.

The Ladies also got their hands on wine, with Gennara Bray, Stacie Marks, Jo Collins, Danny Walker, Kate Stevens and Lisa Gower all coming in their six.

In the age categories, their first first for Cutlan in Under-35 with teammate Tregonning, second, while Paul Stevens also claimed second in his age cat.

There was also a high placing for new runner Steve Williams, who has recently joined the club as second claim.

For GP runners now they turn their attention to the final race of the 2019 GP season the Cornish Marathon, next month.

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Race Report – Truro Half Marathon

Race Report – Truro Half Marathon

Super Mario and Robin were both on show for St Austell Running Club as they had  a storming weekend at the Truro Half Marathon.

The latest race in the Cornish GP series drew a great entrant of over 60 runners from St Austell Running Club as they performed brilliantly on a tough route in and around Truro.

There were team prizes for both men and women as the ladies came in second place with Carly Kendall, Stacie Marks, Jo Collins, Gennara Bray, Karina Bowers and Danny Walker completed a podium finish.

While the men, David Tregonning, Francis Denton, Dillan van Heerden, Mark Sweeney, John Hodgkin and Mike Greer finished in third.

There were also age category prizes with Carly coming in second, while Michele Lobb, Janet Wills and Mark Sweeney all came in third.

This latest result further enhances the St Austell club’s position at the top of the GP tables with several runners in line for overall age cat prizes as we move towards the end of the GP series with only two races, Cubert and the Cornish Marathon left to complete this series.

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All the Cornwall Grand Prix and Multi-Terrain Race Series races, and many others, are officially licensed events with licences from either Run Britain or ARC and most of the Ultras are licensed by other bodies. Licensed events will state who has provided the license (Run Britain or ARC for example) and the license number on their publicity information. At Run Britain licensed events a copy of the License/Permit will be displayed together with a copy of the risk assessment and course map.

If an event does not state on its publicity where it has obtained a license from then the question should be asked.

This Licensing approach ensures that these events have had suitable risk assessments, management plans, marshal plans and traffic management plans done and the local authority and highways etc. have all been notified, first aid cover is provided, and the licence provides Third Party insurance cover.

If the event does not have a licence, then unless details are published relating to the event, you do not know what safety measures have been taken. If a traffic accident should occur, in which there is a possibility that runners may be involved, then there could be serious consequences from a legal standpoint. If there were no ‘Caution Runner’ signs or no marshals, then the organiser could be taken to task but then again what have the competitors signed up to when they entered? With no third-party liability cover this could be a very tricky situation between the organiser, the runner and the third party whose vehicle or property may have been damaged.

Many of our members who are used to running in the well organised events are probably unaware of the difference between licensed and unlicensed and just see all races at face value regardless of the legal status of the race.

As STARC members, you are asked to wear your club vest to help promote our club and support for the event. However, STARC do not want to inadvertently promote unlicensed events that could potentially put our members and others at risk, and so club vests should not be worn.
(What about the mileage?)

We do want everyone to enjoy running and so, If members still wish to enter that event then they do so at their own risk but we ask not to wear club colours so that the club is not deemed to be associated with unlicensed events and would like our members to support this standpoint.

Be aware of the difference and protect yourself!

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