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Race Report: Classic Quarter 2024:

This was my first event with Endurance Life as the organisers. I had run this route as Mudcrew’s Southwest Traverse so knew what I was expecting: 44+miles along the Southwest Coast Path from Lizard Point to Land’s End taking in stunning views and challenging hills (over 7000 feet of gain). It was to be a day of mixed successes and big challenges…

Race Report: Classic Quarter 2024:

Paul Johnson

26 May 2024

Link for further info

The alarm was set for 4am in order to get to the Lizard for the 6.30am start. It was a beautiful day of sunshine and a cool breeze and (thankfully not too warm). The opening miles are beautiful and you can see nearly 40 miles of the route from the starting point! Kynance Cove offers the first proper elevation before the route taking on a pretty standard up and down pattern of hills, hills, hills! I managed to stack it 2 miles in with my trailing foot catching a small rock. Fortunately I got away with grazes and a tender bruise on my palm.
Thanks to the recent dry spell the coast path was in great condition. Probably a little too dry and dusty for my liking (but it’s not good to moan about it as it could have been muddy and sticky). Other landmarks included Mullion and Shipwreck Cove where it’s said storms can reveal lost Spanish Doubloons in the right conditions! No stopping for treasure hunting today though as I was moving along quite nicely and felt in good condition as we passed through the first big checkpoint at Porthleven.
There are lots of epic views to be had on the next section. The grey cloud had fortunately come over as it had been getting pretty warm. I found out afterwards that I had probably not drunk as much as I should in the first third as was to pay for it later.
As you come into Marazion you know you can breathe a sigh of relief as you get a temporary reprieve from the hills (and nasty little trip hazards) but the new challenge begins: the mental game of trying to keep running with 6 miles of flat concrete. It sounds easy but it is easy to fall into the walking trap. I’ve covered this route many times and resorted to my 2 mins on/1 min off strategy and it carried me along well. Along with a pit stop with Claire and family for a cup of tea and rock bun!
The big hill out of Mousehole is a shock to the system and from here is where the work really begins. My stomach started giving me grief here: I now think it was probably dehydration and poor fuelling. My watch estimates I burned nearly 7000 calories over the 44+miles and if you don’t manage your eating and drinking you will be caught out!
Lamorna to Land’s End is just brutal. I’ve taken it on in the dark running the Arc so daylight was a nice treat but it didn’t improve things. There are boulders to scale, waterfalls to traverse and so many steps. You even cross ‘Dragons Egg Beach’ at St Loy’s Cove that needs to be seen to be believed.
I found my heart racing and felt dizzy and really sick. The tactic of ignoring it was not successful so eventually I gave in, got onto all fours and put my head to the floor for 5 minutes. It seemed to help as did keeping my head up and not hunching to help relieve the pressure on my stomach. Then a glass of coke at the Minack (after tackling the infamous steps up into the Theatre) and it was just 5 miles to go.
It was a frustratingly slow last few miles but I had beaten the mental demons and as this was a training run ready for the Plague in August I had learned some lessons too. The crowds and supporters at Land’s End were a truly welcome sight. Picking up my tshirt and medal in the rain felt very well-earned!
Although the wheels well and truly came off that was my 2nd fastest completion of that route (out of 3) and only a few minutes slower than my best. Claire, Harry and Sophie were there at the end and I am very grateful for their ongoing support. They got to join me for KFC on the way home and then McFlurries as I began to make up for the calorie deficit.
I would definitely recommend this race. Whether you are looking for a challenging coastal run or are looking for something that will help as training towards something longer, it has good support and checkpoints that are spaced regularly enough (with foot pumps to work the water for refilling your bottles: a first for me)
So, as one of the signs in the last 3 miles read, ‘Humpty Dumpty also had a problem with walls’. Reflecting back it would be easy to write that day off as terrible but actually my mind and body did well – it’s my stomach that needs to up its game. That is the focus with the Plague just over 2 months away…

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