Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Event 17 Imrey's Trail Half Marathon Review

As the dust settles after the successful running in event 15 HOPE24, I wasn't sure how my body was going to be so soon afterwards.

The day after I felt pretty good to be honest and legs could go again, but due to the blisters caused by melting the compeed on my feet to my feet on the gas fire it wasn't going to happen. Two days later and the Armada Athletics Network Summer 5k series was on up at Saltram House so blisters or no blisters I was going to sneak this one in.

Event 16 - Armada Athletics Network Summer 5k

Nothing really special about this one, it was another very local well organised event that happens once a month
. £2.50 to run, register on the day and it's chipped timed. The course is around the National Trusts Saltram estate, in Plymouth. I route I have run before in the past. It has two small but steep hill climbs after a downhill start into a rolling midsection. It has a good downhill finish which makes up for the two climbs. Another club member wanted company to help beat her PB, so I offered and I got her a new PB for that 5k course. There is something very rewarding helping others achieve their goals. Despite the tired legs and painful blisters, I had an enjoyable run. The weather was great and not too hot.

Event 17 - Imrey's Trail Half Marathon.

I entered this event a day after HOPE24, I think it was just before online registration closed. I have a friends who have run this event before and hearing that it was a tough course and the fact the heat last year made it tough, did make me wonder if it was a good idea so soon after HOPE24.

Imrey's Trail Half & Marathon is set around the Clay Pits of St Austell, Cornwall. The Clay Pits are known for it's china clay that's exported all over the world. It's rarely open to the public, so it's definetly a course I wanted to give a go to. Race HQ was at Cornwall College in St Austell, which provided plenty of parking. Living in Plymouth meant it wasn't a massive journey but with the standard road works which always seem to be on going, we needed to allow for this. We arrived in good time, and was marshalled into the car parking area, again marshalled and were running a tight ship.

Cornish Clay Pits (taken off the internet)
 I went to the registration area which is right byt the start/finish line. It was quite busy inside with various runners chatting, registrating or getting ready. I joined the queue for the pre registrated entrant, although the on the day queues had no one in it at the time so I wished I joined on the day. Hey ho it went smoothly enough once I got to the desk.I got changed and I dropped my bagage off  again this was well staffed.

Registration
 It was nice to catch up briefly with some local legends and all round good eggs Andrew Ferguson, Isobel Wykes (GB 24 hour ultra athlete European Champ medalist) and Richard Keefe, all of whom are Mud Crew Ultra Team runners.

Soon enough I was on the start line after some club pictures with fellow Plymouth Musketeers. A local brass band was outside playing all the local hits. I guess it's different to what I've recently been used to at some events where dj's have been the dominate force in the music scene at the events.

The Start
 After a quick safety brief we lined up and off we went. It wasn't chipped timed so gun time was the official timing for this. I was nearer the back of the starting pack where both half and marathon runners were bunched together. The race started with a full lap around the college building before crossing the start line and then heading out of the college up a grassy climb to a small back road. The first mile and a bit lead along this road before finally hitting the "Clay Trail" this is a public trail path around the outskirts of the Clay Pits also known as the Cornish Alps (Yes I know!). After a few miles we were soon into the pits, where I've left the gravel type terrain and now running on clay sand type terrain.

Along the beautiful trails
 The weather when I left Plymouth was bright sun shine, but come the race start it had became slightly over cast. It still remained warm and dry. As the course was dry I opted for road shoes instead of trail shoes. With the way my feet was I am glad for the little bit of comfort the shoes gave compared to my trail shoes.

One of the climbs (2014 taken from the events FB Group)
My legs were feeling a little tired but ok, and I planned on walking the bigger climbs but running everything else. After about 4 miles I soon had some unexpected company, a young female runner caught me up and we soon started chatting. Her name was Chrissy and it was her first half marathon. Kudos to her for picking this one as her first one. She was struggling a little bit, so I said I would keep her company and get her to the finish. We chatted a lot and soon the miles were ticking off. We'd walk the hills and run the rest.

Stunning views!
The route was well marshalled with plenty of happy fun going marshals. Cheering, giving directions and in some places sweets and crisps. There were a few water stations and even a couple sponge stations. I wore my Inov8 Ultra Race vest. I had a full 2ltr bladder of water and two bottles of isotonic drink, so I never had the need for the water stations. I was glad I had my race vest though as it was quite warm and I made use of the fluids as I went.

Pic doesn't do this hill any justice!
 We soon made our way out of the pits and back on the Clay Trail heading back toward the direction we came from. We hit 11 miles and had 1 big climb left. Chrissy was starting to suffer with her back and when we went down hill her toes in the end of shoes. I continued to support and encourage Chrissy, as we soon entered the grassy decent back down into the college grounds. After telling me sloves a sprint fininsh, I picked up the pace, getting Chrissy to keep up, whilst encouraging her all the way. After 2 hours 41 mins we both crossed the line. When you look at the winners time, which compared to a flat road half is slower for someone's first half and a tough off road one at that, that time was a good time. Something she will no doubt beat. I caught up with one of my best mates who else ran as well as his wife and all their awesome Carn Runner friends! They're the Cornish version of my Musketeer club!. I think if there was a social gathering between the two of them it would be a really messy affair HAHA!

Event 17 of 37 done!
 Now it cost £14 to run the half marathon, the course was well run, the goody bag was good it was far better than the Plymouth Half marathon goody bag (it wasn't hard). It even included a tin of Cornish Lager (tasted quite nice and refreshing) amongst other things and the bag itself is a good quality bag. They had a bigger numbers of entrants in the half due to on the day, and some half marathon finishers didn't received a medal at the end. They are being sent out to those who didn't get one, a little gutting but it's not the end of the world. I had to borrow a friends for the pic. It's a nice bit of bling for the collection. 

A good goody bag which included a beer as well as medal (medal borrowed of friend) amongst other things
 I do recommend this event one for it's unusal course, but also because it's a good value well organised event.



If Plymouth Half and this were on at the same time, I'd have to enter this.

So I've a week now until my next event which is a off road (beach and dunes 10k) in Cornwall. Hopefully my feet will be heeled!

Until next time!!

Owain


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