The event was being put on by Purple Gecko Events, a company I had only started noticing in the running world over the course of this year. They have been putting on some trail running series events in the Cornwall area, and I had seen some friends that have been participating in them. So I thought I'd give it a go, hopefully being recovered from MoKG which was towards the end of August. I wasn't sure how I'd be after that race when I thought of entering the Saint's Way Challenge.
|The Mandatory Kit required for the race|
As it got closer to the event, the weather forecast changed and it appeared after a glorious week leading up to the start day, the weather was going to be rubbish and a weather warning for heavy rain came in. Looking closely though, as a friend Pete, who was also running, he noticed the days before there looked like a break in the weather for about 6 hours ish in the area. So we may be lucky, we could only hope.
Although it was a couple miles longer than a marathon distance, I decided I would have my wife support crew me again. The reason behind this was, it would mean I wouldn't have to carry two litres of Tailwind with me in a hydration bladder, the mandatory kit says minimum of 400ml which basically is a bottle. So my wife would pre prep my bottles I'd swap over along the way and have no requirement to stop at the CPs and wait to fill up my bottles. The cut offs through the CPs were generous but I wanted to put in a reasonable time for me and if I could save time running through the CPs the better and unlike a road marathon there isn't a water stop every 3 miles or so, there was only 3 CPs along the way.
We left Plymouth around 5.45am as it was about an hour drive to Padstow, registration opened at 6.30am and was due to close at 7.40am with the safety briefing at 7.45am. We arrived just after 7am and it was a good job that we did, as the queue to register, pick up trackers/maps and kit check etc, was getting longer. It was in a Methodist Church which wasn't very big, and it soon filled up with runners and supporters. The line for registration around 7.30am was out of the Church door and down the car park out side. The RD came out and informed everyone not worry about it, there was a issue with trackers causing a delay and the start was going to be delayed until everyone had gone through registration.
|The start of the Saint's Way Route in Padstow|
Now for the first time since getting my Fenix 5 over a year ago, I decided to load the GPX file that was provided on to my watch. I've never used this function before so I was interested how it'd get on. We were provided with a map and as part of the mandatory kit we had to carry a compass (I'm quite happy to use a map and compass so this wasn't an issue for me). The race was down as Self Navigation, although like most national trails etc it is sign posted in some form along the way. With sign posts, watch and map/compass, I was sure I was not going to get lost as I've done in the past.
|Heading out of Padstow|
As we approached the first CP which was at 5 miles (it was originally set at 7 ish but was moved closer to the start date) I quickly switched my bottles from my wife, and I ran through the CP not stopping. The first section was uber humid, I like many others were sweating like the RAF when told they have to work on a weekend! I was on tarmac now and starting to make good time. The signs were still pretty good, and with my watch confirming everything I was in a happy place.
|The route took us through a Corn field|
I eventually left Nick behind as I continued my way ahead, through to CP2. Wife swapped my bottles and quickly looked at the map I was carrying as there was no internet signal there, so she could see where next to meet me. I went on my way and headed up another hill out of CP2. I was soon over taken by another a couple of lads up the hill out of CP2 in Lanlivet. They were proper yomping, and it was when one changed steps to be in time with the other in front of him, I knew they were ex services. Definitely not Royal Navy as we don't yomp, we bimble. From here on though we yo yo'd. I'd over take them when I ran, they then over took me on the hills. Soon they left me as they made better progress, but as I made my way up the Hellman Tor they were at the top. I got to the trig point, took in the views, and we made our way down. I met my wife who swapped bottles and carried on. We went down some flooded, muddy lanes, where again my road shoes weren't very good and I had no other choice but to get my feet wet. I now had soggy wet muddy feet. I'm about 19/20 miles into the race, do I grin and bare it or change socks and shoes. The weather was warm and humid still so my feet would dry out. I left the two guys behind, emptied stones from one of my shoes and carried on.
|Moving forward, keeping smiling! pic by Purple Gecko Events|
The wife met me at the 25 mile point, changed my bottle for the last time, and off I went to head to Fowey. There were still a couple of hills left to go, but the last mile was pure pleasure. Like pretty much most of the route, it was stunning to look at. As I made my way into the busy town, I followed the road round to the finish. I was over taken at the last moment by another runner who obviously upped her pace as I never knew anyone was near me, just before the finish line. I crossed the line in 6 hrs 26 mins. I was hoping to be around 6 maybe sub 6, and I felt I could've run better but it wasn't meant to be. Ah well....
|The stunning scenery coming into Fowey|
Once again, Tailwind did me well throughout the event, I had no need for anything else. My mate Pete, used my Tailwind as well and it also sorted him out too. My Uglow kit was comfortable throughout whether it was when it was warm and humid to when it cooled down slightly, it made little difference and I didn't feel uncomfortable once during the race.
|It was a little lumpy, with about 4000ft of climb total|
So now I look towards my next big event the Cornish Marathon in November with the Plymouth 10K supporting my buddy Liam from work coming up next in October.
As the big season starts to wind down for me, I need to remain focused for next year, with some possible big races already being lined up.
Thanks for reading, until next time.
#GoTailwind #UglowSports #StitchFree