Race Report Man versus Horse 9th June 2018

By Dino de Zorzi

I had a race against a horse in sunny Wales this weekend. Actually I raced about 60 horses plus riders, and about 700 odd human runners. Surprisingly, I managed to beat a few of the horses, and several of the humans too.

This completely bonkers event is called Man versus Horse (despite its name, they very decently allow women to compete as well). The premise is quite simple, human runners race against horses across 22 miles of stunning, but challenging welsh cross country terrain.

STARC in Wales

There is an ever increasing pot of prize money for the victorious runner, and in its 38 year history, the reward has been claimed only 2 times. In 2004 the first ever winner, took home a cool 25 grand. A runner won again, three years later, for the second and last time. Which means, the purse has remained unclaimed and growing, year by year for more than a decade.

This years dry conditions (which favoured the 2 legged athletes) was the closest in ages, with the first runner coming in just 25 seconds after the winning horse. I reckon, one of our super Starcers (Paul Maskell?) should get out there and kick some welsh pony ass, and bring the dosh back to Cornwall.

The race starts in Llanwrtyd Wells town centre. There was a happy country fair atmosphere, mixed with some celebrity sparkle, due to the participation of BBC news reader Sophie Raworth and 400 meter Olympic runner Iwan Thomas, who posed for selfies and talked to the local press.

Celebrity Spotting In Wales


I started to doubt this was the ideal event for me as for most of my life, I have somewhat disliked distance running and also have always had a fear of large hoofed animals (Gemma Pateman and Claire Todd have seen me in a field with a rampaging cow). So I was relieved to hear that our four legged foes would start 15 minutes after us.

The race started, as all good races do, with a slow steady climb out of town. Tarmac turned to stoney track, and then onto muddy trails. It wasn’t until about 45 minutes in, that the first horse trotted by us, the rider gave us a friendly “well done”, someone behind responded, with his own cheerful “well done to you”. I thought to myself, well done for what? They are just sitting, whilst the animal does all the hard work. When I am out running, I am very similar to an infant, I get grumpy when I’m tired.

As the miles ticked by, I wrestled with my love-hate relationship with long distance races, I also pondered the wisdom of drinking two pints of Guinness the night before.

The race route took us through beautiful welsh countryside and some brutal terrain, crossing streams, long gravel tracks, and lung busting climbs, the like of which I HAVE NEVER experienced in Cornwall. I tried to settle into a pattern of walking up the hills, running on the flats and downhills, and was surprised to find out, that on steep descents, and some of the more uneven ascents, I was able to overtake some of the horses. It appears that gee-gees, just like people have differing Vo2 max levels. There are fast ones, fit ones, lazy and fat ones. Horses sometimes stop in their tracks for no reason, refuse to budge, eat grass or unexpectedly produce manure, right in front of you.

And that’s the catch, a horse can obviously run faster than a man (or a woman) on the flat, but when you throw in all the ups and downs, plus rugged terrain, it evens out a bit, and gives the runner a fighting chance.

Over the hours, my legs grew heavier, and I started to go through a negative Dino phase. The sun in Wales felt hotter, than its Cornish counterpart, the climbs seem to be never ending and because of the dry weather there were loads of annoying horse flies buzzing around. I felt that this year’s event should have been called MAN VERSUS HORSE FLY. And I spotted plenty of wax-white welsh flesh dotted with itchy red welts. Perversely, seeing their pain made me forget about my own and lifted my spirits slightly. It was always reassuring to know that there would be a drinks station every 5 miles or so (only water is provided and hardly any nutrition, so athletes must be prepared to bring their own). The drinks stop was also a good opportunity for me to check out the form of my 2 legged rivals. To see if the person I’d been tussled with, for the previous few miles, was a runner doing the whole thing or “just” a relay runner.

Also, for a man who gets lost on a parkrun, it was reassuring for me to see so many fantastic marshals, encouraging and guiding us through the course

I cracked on, and at around mile 19 I felt my long awaited second wind, kicking in. I sucked down my last energy gel, and was spurred on by the feeling that the end was not far off.

Like all good races, they threw in a last cheeky hill to be conquered, half way up it, two sweaty horses clip-clopped past me, one of them swished my face with its damp tail. Then there was a long bumpy downhill trot leading into the large finishing field. Two chunky riders galloped past me. The cheering crowd added a spring to my step and all of a sudden, I was reluctantly caught up in a sprinting match with another middle-aged bloke for the last 50 meters. After throwing myself through the finishing line, I was handed a bottle of water, just about heard the announcer pronounce my name incorrectly and then had the all important finishers medal draped around my neck. Gasping for breath, I looked across and saw my lovely wife Angie, who asked “Why have you got all those bugs stuck to your forehead?” I’d be going for 4 hours and 37 minutes and had not quite caught my breath back yet “Did you enjoy it?” Was her next question “Yeah, I LOVED it!” I wheezed back.

Knackered in Wales

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Weekly round-up – Cubert, Classic Quarter, Keswick 25K and Yeovil Marathon

The sixth race of this year’s Cornwall Glass & Glazing Grand Prix was held in Cubert last Tuesday evening, and the five-mile race with 771 runners taking part.

With cloud cover and a very light breeze, conditions were near perfect for Tuesday evening’s race, which began at 7.30pm. The course, with few hilly climbs, is also one of the fastest on the Cornwall GP calendar.
The race was won by Cornwall AC’s Jordan Clay in a time of 25 minutes, five seconds. Peter Le Grice, of Mounts Bay Harriers, finished second in 25:23, with last year’s winner, Tony Brewer, of Mile High (Penryn), finishing third in 26:08.
The ladies’ race was won by Newquay Road Runners’ Elsey Davis in a time of 27:27 to break the ladies’ course record by six seconds.
Second lady across the finishing line was Cornwall AC’s Heidi Tregenza in 28:45 and third lady was 2017 ladies’ champion Emma Stepto in 28:49.
It was a great race for St Austell Running Club, who with 85 entrants, had the most by a Cornish club.
The Ladies team had a good return to form finishing third with Alex Russell-Small, Jessica Buscombe, Nicola Shipley, Carly Kendall, Lisa Gower and Taryn Montgomery-Smith.
The Men’s team finished in fourth place with Dan Alsop, who finished fifth overall, backed up by James Cutlan, Andy Trudgian, David Tregonning, debutant Neil Slateford and Tim Adams.
The racing didn’t finish there and this weekend saw several of the club’s members take part in the Classic Quarter, a 44-mile(ish) race on the Cornish coastline.
Among those who ran were Paul Stevens, Dave Speake, Simon Manuel, Gemma Pateman, Claire Todd, Jodie May-Gauld, Simon Manuel and Jeremy Hill.

Stuart Richards also did the Keswick 25K and Alan Wherry, Jess Buscombe and Jamie Masters also competed in the Yeovil Half Marathon, Jess finishing third lady and second in her age category.

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Race report – Trevornick 10K 2018

Teams shine in the sun at Trevornick

St Austell Running Club’s two teams gave much improved performances to keep up the club’s impressive start to the new GP season.

The sixth race in the series again saw a huge turnout from STARC and they did not disappoint the supporters with a number of notable performances, despite the hot and humid conditions.

The Men’s team gave a great performance to finish in second place, only behind Cornwall AC.

Dan Alsop led the home in sixth, with great performances coming from James Cutlan (10th), Simon Williams (14th), John Wisner (22nd), Tim Adams (25th) and debutant David Tregonning (43rd).

There was also a return to form for the Ladies team, who were just edged out by Cornwall AC for what would have been a top-three finish.

Jessica Buscombe led the home, as she finished third lady overall and third in her age category. Nicola Smith, followed closely behind in an also excellent fourth-placed finish, with Stacie Marks (18th), Taryn Montgomery-Smith (38th), Jane Moore (50th) and Jo Collins (51st) completing the team.

Added to Jess’s third-place category prizes there were also top-three cat finishes for Dan Alsop (third), Simon Williams (first), John Wisner (third), Iain Walker (third) and Doug Alsop (second).

Full results to follow.



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London Marathon 2018 preview

London’s calling… 

Members of St Austell Running Club will be hitting the streets of London next Sunday, to take part in the 37th London Marathon.

Her majesty the Queen will be the official starter as more than 15 members of the club to tackle the 26.2-mile course.

They are running for a variety of different charities, reasons and their fellow club members are sure to be tracking them on Sunday morning.

The all important numbers to be tracking are as follows:

The all important numbers to be tracking are as follows: Martin Trethewey (38650), Kay Prescott (6171), Mandy Blight (38124), Kate Smith (44149), Taryn Montgomery-Smith (8047), Mark Sweeney (25110), Nadia Jay (20968), Tim Adams (31972), Carly Kendall (24513), Sarah Bazeley (38653), David Harley (38655), Jamie Masters (25834), Claire Todd (28847), Andrew Jay (38642), Shawn Ferris (17843), Ross Lawry (34664), Paul Stevens (2915), Dan Nicholls (39538), Jess Buscombe (562).

Good luck everyone!

Sarah Bazeley


Claire Todd

David Harley

If you are taking part on Saturday, please email me your race number and I will get it added to the list – garethrowett@gmail.com and please email me your times and pictures from the day and I will add the to the website as and when.

Mandy Blight also has a new club mascot knitted by Sam Ewart, donated for her fundraising for Children with Cancer.

Mandy is taking donations of £1 to go to the charity with the mascot being donated to the club at a later day. Good luck Mandy!

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Race report – An Res Hellys 2018

Well done to all that took part in the latest round of the Cornwall Glass and Glazing Grand Prix – the An Res Hellys 2018.

Runners were greeted by sunshine and warmer weathers, a stark contrast to the previous week that saw the Falmouth Half Marathon having to be cancelled.

It was the returning Dan Alsop (59.57) who starred for St Austell, finishing in fifth-place as he battles to regain his form.

He finished just three minutes ahead of James Cutlan, who came in 17th in 1.02.46.

There were also age category prizes for Dan Alsop (first), Malcolm Roberts (third), Doug Aslop (second) and Jane Moore (third place).

Full results from St Austell Running Club are as follows: Dan Alsop (59.37), James Cutlan (1.02.46), Tim Adams (1.07.44), Malcolm Roberts (1.12.32), Paul Johnson (1.13.57), Rob Wallbank (1.15.55), Mark Knight (1.16.36), Jeremy Hill (1.18.13), Andy Chase (1.18.35), Tony Morris (1.19.23), Doug Alsop (1.22.59), Mark Owen (1.24.19), Karl Walker (1.24.20), Barry Russell (1.26.00), Matt Phillips (1.27.41), Patrick Haynes (1.27.46), Jane Moore (1.27.59), Gareth Rowett (1.29.13), Daniella Walker (1.29.56), Clive Gibbs (1.30.26), Sue Floyd-Norris (1.30.27), Holly Payne (1.31.40), Jo Collins (1.32.38), Nicola Bertho (1.33.28), Karina Bowers (1.34.28), Debbie Marshall (1.34.58), Georgina Speake (1.36.00), Kath Wisner (1.36.52), Rachel Waters (1.38.42), Amy Floyd-Norris (1.39.21), Jordan Wyatt (1.41.46), Hannah Watts (1.41.46), Jacqui Martin (1.45.20), Paula Virira (1.46.14), Jean Cutlan (1.46.48), Dave Hampton (1.46.49), Tim Cutlan (1.48.09), Alison Loosley (1.48.29), Debbie Gibbs (1.50.00), Sam Ewart (1.53.11), Michelle Dudley (1.56.15), Christine Todd (1.456.59), Liz Wyatt (2.11.20).


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GP tables update 2018 – after three races

I’ve attached a file with the latest GP standings and am delighted to say that the men’s team have made a great start to the season and currently sit on top of the pile. Great work chaps.

Tim Adams is also second in the standings, with Paul Johnson, Rob Wallbank and Iain Walker all in the top 20 so far.

Paul and Andy Chase are both placed in the top 10 of the male under-35 category, Rob top of the male over 35 category, Tim Adams top of the male over-45s category.

Karl Walker is fourth in his category, Iain Walker is top of his, Doug is placed in the top 10 of his.

In the ladies section we currently sit in sixth, two points behind Truro with Cornwall AC leading the way.

Taryn Montgomery-Smith has made a good start as is in the top 20 and is placed fourth in her age category.

Also in the top 10 of their categories are Debbie Marshall (seventh), Sue Floyd-Norris (third), Helen Stuthridge (eighth), Danny Walker (10th), Rachel Waters (sixth), Jean Cutlan (eighth), Michelle Dudley (ninth), Mandy Blight (fourth).

We are also top of the club teams table and also have the most entries per race too!!

Well done everyone and let’s keep that going! Next race in the series Falmouth Half Marathon.

GP tables 2018 after Race 3 Looe 10 Miler Final to Send

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Newsletter – March 2018

St Austell RC newsletter – March 2018

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Race report – Looe 10 miler

Well done to everyone who took part in the Looe 10. It was hellish and hilly for members of St Austell Running Club in the latest round of the Cornwall Glass and Glazing Grand Prix. The testing Looe 10 was … Continue reading

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Race report – Bodmin Half Marathon

Well done to everyone who took part in the Bodmin Half Marathon.

Full results here.

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Race report – Castle Combe Chilly 10k

So, I’m in work and given the opportunity to go on a course to help benefit my current role. What’s the first thing on my mind?! I wonder if there’s a race near by and there was. Took full advantage and booked myself in (after asking the boss aka Hannah).

A flattish but fast race having looked at previous results, this was at Castle Combe race circuit in Chippenham. A perfect opportunity to get a desired PB of sub36.

As the weeks flew by, Sunday, February 18 came.

Race kit packed along with work stuff too. Alarm set for 5:45am, I made my way to the Chippenham area where the race was being held. Eating my porridge on the way (not spilling any) and slurping on my coffee, I always had my energy drink and gel to take at a specific time to the race starting.

Arriving safe and sound I parked up. It was a busy one. With over 600 runners taking part making their way to HQ, the loud announcer getting everyone rallied up with words of encouragement! I got my race number and put myself into a little corner to get changed. Unfortunately not the purple and gold this time but a opportunity to wear Team PB colours of Personal Best Running. So thankful for the sponsorship/help from Barry and Paula.

Time to get my race head on. The clouds started to come over and the race nicknamed Chilly 10k was living up to it. Gloves were on! The race briefing for 9:45am, all runners made their way to the start. I dodged in and between to get a good starting position and soon, off the gun went. 3x laps of the race circuit with a 0.4 of a mile section to start you off.

The first mile clicked off quick. Too quick 5:12, my first thought, “you twat, pace yourself, remember what Mr Maskell said” but of course the excitement of that first mile is always something I do suffer with now and again (need to work on). As the first lap went by and with the encouragement of the crowd I felt more comfortable, although dropping from fourth to seventh. The next two laps were a mental battle. I’m not a big fan of loops, which is why I wanted to do this race. To test myself. That test was working, slipping to ninth place I held my own and the realisation of a Sub36 I intended to get was in my reach as I came into the last lap.

As the miles clocked up all under a sub-six pace, I felt good in the last mile gave myself a kick to really give it my all. As the watch was getting to that 6.2 mark, my target was becoming even more reachable! My sub36 was gonna happen!!

Coming off the circuit into a slip lane. I sped up and gave it all I had left. Crossing the line with a PB I was not expecting. 35:40! A target way above. I was thinking more of 35:50/59 but I was in shock, no tears thank god!

Completely over the moon and with the medal around my neck. The first person I called was of course my lovely wife Hannah who sent her congratulations! Having done this now, I’ve got a new target to try and break and I can’t wait for challenge!

Completely over the moon and with the medal around my neck. The first person I called was of course my lovely wife Hannah who sent her congratulations! Having done this now, I’ve got a new target to try and break and I can’t wait for challenge!

Next up FOOD. A massive roast dinner followed by a dessert, glass of wine to wash it down and a gentle drive to my hotel to finish off the duration of my week.

A massive thank you to all the support and encouraging messages along the way. Really does mean a lot.

The training YOU put in really does pay off after all, so happy! If you want a nice 10k route or even a 10k PB with a nice area to visit, I highly suggest this race. Worked perfect for me and I hope it will work perfect for anyone else who intends to give it a go!

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