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Race Report: Gribbin 10k

It was a great night to take part in the inaugural outing for this race which offered a little bit of everything and hopefully will take it’s place next year amongst other great races in the MTRS.
Around 50 of us gathered in Menabilly car park on what was thankfully a cooler evening than of late with high cloud and a gentle breeze. It was exciting to be running a race along a new course without that knowledge of what you were about to face. Are hills easier if you don’t know how bad they are?

Race Report: Gribbin 10k

Paul Johnson

29 June 2023

Link for further info

At 7pm we gathered in the car park entrance; with a quick briefing from Sam the Race Director we were away. The start was very quick, aided by a long downhill dodging the potholes along a rutted track that soon delivered us at Menabilly beach. A few startled beach-goers watched us follow the beach wall (with the added entertainment of quick feet over the bridging stepping stones) before it was time to tackle the first real challenge…
For me, that hill is right up there with some of the meanest on the Cornish racing circuit. I’m sure it wasn’t that long in reality, but trying to race up it whipped up an early dose of lactic acid in the legs and was a taste of what was in store.
The first half of the course provided plenty of undulating running across the in-land section. Stone stiles, overgrown footpaths, farm yards, pockets of tree-covered track with lots of encouragement from supportive marshals and disinterested looks from grazing cows!
Shortly after a pit stop at the water station it was onto a short section of tarmac before we crossed into a field and out onto the South West Coast Path. The views across St Austell Bay were utterly spectacular and looking all the better in the warm evening sunshine. Like the rest of the course, it was decidedly technical going; lots of summer overgrowth and very firm underfoot. Time to again adopt the standard trail runner’s form of eyes on the ground praying you don’t fall flat on your face!
The course still had a few surprises in store including a sharp set of coastal steps on the long rise to the eponymous Gribbin Head and the site of the looming red and white marker tower. From here we were gifted a beautiful section of grassy downhill taking us thundering into the final mile.
A few twists, turns and a bouncy bridge crossing led us back to Menabilly beach. At this point my heart sank thinking we would be directed back up the evil hill from earlier. Instead it was the no-less-evil gradual concrete track that took you up a long ascent the finish line. Like the cruellest race finishes it was a drawn-out gradual uphill before a final quick descent to the waiting marshals at the end.
Our reward was a nicely-designed wooden medal, refreshments and the satisfaction of being among the handful of people completing an event for the first time. The challenges of the course were etched on each face that crossed the finish line but equally the stories that were swapped told of how much everyone had enjoyed the outing.
The course was excellent and well-marked, the marshals were supportive and the weather was very kind (for this year at least!) This is an event which will only grow in strength as it hopefully becomes a permanent fixture on the local calendar.

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