Bocconoc, 6th May 2012
Boconnoc looked promising. It had been raining during the week and this is the 2nd race in the new Multi Terrain Race Series: multi terrain + rain = mud! And the team were not disappointed, it was literally knee-deep in places. 5 miles through beautiful park and woodland with views out to rolling countryside provided the perfect backdrop, with warm, and finally dry weather the icing on the cake. Race numbers had swelled this year to 280+ from 180 last year, perhaps already proving what a success the new Series will be. But this year, with more feet churning up the tracks, it would definitely be a muddy one…
The prospect of getting down and dirty didn’t stop plenty of us TRCers turning out and the team included a number of first-time racers in its ranks: Katie Sharp, Karen Goundry, Julia Maskell, Jo Bales and Pip Mortimer who all put in good steady performances. Julia finished her first ever race in style coming home 2nd lady in her category (under 20s) – what a way to finish, brilliant, well done Julia! It was a good day for the TRC under 20′s all round with Tabitha Allen taking 1st place in a very impressive 0:41:06, congratulations Tabby! Most of the first timers came home with big smiles, except Karen, running with her husband Andy, who reports that she “moaned all the way round” and didn’t know how Andy put up with her! Still, we have a sneaking suspicion she’ll be back for more…
The team was well represented ‘on the podium’ in other categories too with Alison Joslin, Helen Dunstan, Nick Jeans, Jon Ford-Dunn and Gordon Adie all taking prizes (see details in the results below). Helen’s on a roll lately and puts her impressive recent success down to Saturday morning training runs at Boscawen Park, with the grey hounds – could there be a lesson there for us all?! Well done Helen, keep up the good work!!! We also welcome James Lloyd back on the racing circuit after months of recovering from achilles injuries and it should of course be mentioned that, whilst not picking up any prizes this time, Philip Clelland was first home for the club in a fast 0:31:43, taking 10th position overall – go Truro, woohooo!!!
The smiles in the post race team photo say it all: Boconnoc is a wonderful race, with an undulating (read hilly!), varied course, beautiful scenery and a lively atmosphere. But don’t just take my word for it, read on for Hana’s take on the proceedings. And a review of you know what!!!!
TRC Get Dirty
Today’s race at Boconnoc is the 2nd anniversary of when I first attempted to run in a race of any kind. So when I looked out of the bedroom window at the horrid hour of 7am, it was good to see that rain was not pouring out of the sky, like last weekend.
Breakfast eaten, (porridge as usual), pre race housework warm up attempted, but today’s venue is a little further away, so I am having to do the shorter version. The rest will have to wait until later….a post race cool down maybe! Husband that plays golf is off to play………….golf.
9am arrives and Julie my chauffer for today, and great race companion arrives. Quick check to make sure I’ve packed my “run anywhere even through mud” running shoes and we are off. It will take about an hour to get to Boconnoc, but this gives us a good chance to catch up, as we haven’t seen each other since……well Friday evening.
The gate house to Boconnoc appears with a sign directing us through the gateway and down the usual route. We travel through this beautiful estate, passing the huge obelisk. I start to wonder where that obelisk came from and what the history is behind it? Must “google” it some day. [123 feet high, erected in 1771 by Thomas Pitt, 1st Lord Camelford, in memory of his wife’s uncle and benefactor, Sir Richard Lyttelton - more history of Boconnoc can be found on their website!]
As we drive down the last ¼ mile, out of the thicket to our right, appear two large doe’s running at full throttle. If we had been a second or two earlier, it would have been venison for dinner tonight. Yummy! I wonder if the two old DEARS in the car can run that fast? Anyway, Julie safely allowed the deer to pass and we headed towards the field that acts as the car park for the day.
In the car park we meet Nick and today he is modelling a very fine, off the shoulder black bin bag number and very chic it is too. Out comes the camera, and sexy pose is struck. Nick you could find yourself on the centre page of…………….farmers weekly!
Now, I knew that today I was under pressure, not to do well in the race, but on the quality and accuracy of last year’s race report. The main topic of discussion being, the TOILETS!
To my horror, as we get out of the car we are told to walk a different route to the registration point, due to a wedding that took place the day before. Ahhhhh this could only mean one thing……. “Andy’s loo’s” had returned. The green Tardis type boxes with push pull flushing mechanism and that familiar aroma of whatever the blue stuff is in the toilet bowl [Elsan fluid?!!!]. No beautifully refurbished toilets that we had the use of last year. My readers will be let down, should I hide or just take the flack. Flack it was to be, with one of the Newquay readers broaching the subject first.
So I formally apologise to everyone reading this, but the toilet situation was out of my control!
We find Alison sheltering from the chill wind blowing, in one of the farm buildings, and I collect my race number for today….I’m now runner number 11, definitely not my age. I get a text from Steph saying she maybe late, then another to say she is lost, but before I can answer the second one, she arrives with her nice new barefoot running shoes on. [Ahem, Steph would like to say she texted Hana to say she was IN Lost (ie Lostwithiel), NOT lost!!!]
They may change colour today I fear, but at least they will look seasoned!
A very large gathering of TRC runners appear, we are multiplying at each race and pleasantries are exchanged….in some cases, but I did hear one say, “so where are these great toilets?” ahhhhhhh!
The start is at its usual location, not far from the gate to the main Boconnoc house. The crowd of runners that have gathered is much larger than the last two years and I wonder if we are making enough noise to wake the newly weds……who are preventing us from using the TOILETS!
The pre race briefing cannot be heard as everyone is talking, but soon I hear 3..2..1..and then the mega phone lets out some football chant and we are off.
It’s a bit of a squeeze and picking up any pace is nigh on impossible, unless you are one of the elite runners at the front (Gordon is in that lot). Down hill along tarmac we run, which is good, but I can’t pass the gaggle of women in front who are merrily chatting. Why didn’t they do that in the car driving up?
We turn right and continue along more tarmac before then entering the woods. I had heard the words “mud” “knee deep” “ford” “ankle deep” during the pre race briefing and now these words were starting to make full sentences. The first being, “Oh my goodness, that ford looks like the water is ankle deep” Squelch, left foot now fully submerged and it takes me back to walking in wellies full of water as a child, who had slipped over in the stream. I think this obstacle could have done with being towards the end of the race., to wash the shoes off.
We plough along muddy paths, with me trying to following in the foot steps of the runner in front of me. This is quite hard work, and all I can think of, is that I do not want to turn my ankle, or pick up an injury before my 3 half marathons in 4 weeks, which start in Leeds next weekend.
Ah, a hill, the ground is slightly firmer before returning to a form of tarmac surface. We haven’t used the words “Knee deep” in a sentence yet, I wonder what that is all about.
Well the answer is simply, Mud, lot’s of mud, in rutted well sloshed grooves, in which feet have stomped and rain has gathered being mixed into a gloopy consistency that sucks off shoes. I don’t do mud, I’m a tarmac and dry trail girl, but today this was not going to be an option.
I try running on my tippy toes, going “ooo, ah, ooo” with an occasional squeak thrown in for good measures. My Barbie pink and black, “run anywhere even through mud” trail shoes can’t even be seen, they have disappeared into mud that smells rank and water that there is no way of telling it’s depth, until you have placed your foot into it. Over the ankle and into the shoe was the average depth.
To top it all, some very inconsiderate males then, just as I had found some higher firmer ground, ploughed through the rank mud and water, causing a huge tsunami, which then plastered any part of my legs that weren’t the darker shade of brown, in gloop. To think some people pay to have this sort of stuff rubbed over them for health benefits?
Thankfully I’ve remained upright, the path improves and I see the 4 mile marker. And Claire is just ahead of me. Can I catch her?
Sadly the gloop had been working at my shoe laces without me realising, and a shoe lace malfunction stopped me in my tracks.
Bloody Nora, to think I managed to get through that last section upright, I was now being stopped by a shoe lace. My fingers don’t want to work and after what felt like an eternity I finally get running again. No darn chance of catching Claire now. This is “storm force” all over again.
One last hill to go up, and the man ahead states he has only half a left leg or was it right, so I suggest that he does the same as me, and walk. The lady behind thinks differently. So whilst I speed walk, she huffs and puffs, sounding more and more in pain until she can take no more, and I walk by with ease. “I told you it was quicker to walk” I say cheerily as I pass her. Stony silence is what I get in return and as I jog off into the distance, I don’t see her again, probably best, as I might be sporting a black eye otherwise.
Quarter of a mile from the finish line and flap flap flap, my bloody shoe lace has come undone again. Well I’m not stopping again, I’ll just have to lift the legs higher and try not to stand on it and fall flat on my face. That woman I passed earlier would have had the last laugh if I did.
As I approach the finish line, I see plenty of TRC shirts already there and looking at Belated birthday Garmin, I am within a couple seconds of last years time of 45:47. Last year it was firm under foot and I was trying to go faster. This year mud, mud glorious mud and I was only trying to stay upright and finish uninjured. I really should do some training then I might improve!
I cheer the other TRC runners in, then it’s off to the car to get the camera so we can have a group photo. In fact a large (for TRC) group photo. We all think the race was great and the common denominator is a broad grin on every one’s face.
A cup of tea is required, so Alison, Julie and I head for the area where tea is being dispensed. 50p a cup…bargain.
Steph was left in the queue for the tap and hose, so she could find her barefoot shoes from under all that mud.
So all in all:
- Toilets………………Grrrr back to Andy’s loo’s. Sadly someone else’s special day (wedding) put pay to all you Boconnoc virgins sampling their delightfully refurbished water closets.
- Parking plentiful and well marshalled.
- Marshals. Brilliant. There was no way you could have got lost, and all of them wore a smile.
- The race course/route. Delightful in a masochistic sort of way. Mud wrestling would have followed as a reserve sport for today.
- Goodie bag. Well Boconnoc/St Johns ambulance water bottle. This makes water bottle number two for this year and I have a plentiful supply at home already. I may make a mobile out of them to scare the wood Pigeons away very soon. They wouldn’t work very well as wind chimes would they?
- would I do the race again…………I will have to do it for as long as I run races, as it is my anniversary race and the Boconnoc estate is just so beautiful.
- 0:29:10 Dan Rodgers, Launceston RR
- 0:29:48 Dan Alsop, STARC
- 0:30:00 Tony Brewer, Mile High
- 0:35:42 Lucy Mencer, Benfleet RC
- 0:36:09 Revis Crowle, ECH
- 0:38:00 Emma Murray, STARC