As you may know the Truro half marathon course was changed this year for traffic reasons. Unfortunately they have removed the best bit of the run – the last 3 miles! For those that have completed it in the past the final 3 miles is along the A390 from the Threemilestone roundabout past Truro College and down into the town centre which is either flat or downhill!
The nasty hills at 9 and 9.5 miles remain and the new section goes back to Truro via New Mill and Goosebean and for good measure they have thrown in another 3 hills which get progressively worse as can be seen from the course profile!!!
The hooter went off on cue and we all shuffled past the start line, each trying to get into our stride as the crowd stretched out around the first 1.5 mile loop of the town. At the 1 mile mark my watch bleeped at me – 6m 50s…too fast, too early I thought. As you enter the undulating lane to leave the city centre you hit the first hill at around 2 miles. Again the watch bleeped at me – 6m 38s! As you know it’s so easy to get pulled along at the start but the hill soon put a stop to that as I settled into a more comfortable and reasonable pace.
The lane is undulating for a couple of miles and you can maintain a steady pace, in my case just over 7m. However at mile 5 you are faced with a steep incline. Some people were walking and my pace dropped by a minute, giving me my worst average mile pace over the run.
Once up the mountain there is some respite and a welcome drink before another long haul up to the highest point in the course at roughly the half-way mark. You can settle back into a steady pace for a mile or so until a steep downhill section. The problem here is that the downhill is very steep, which puts strain on the quads, and when you get to the bottom you hit a steep climb up to mile 9. The change from steep down to steep up hurts the legs and at this stage of the run it really saps your energy and again reduces people to walking.
The course is relentless with another steep incline up to 9.5 miles. At this point you join the new section with a fairly good downhill stretch and then between 10.75 and 12 miles you hit the three new hills in quick succession. With that out of the way the run back into Truro under the viaduct is flat and you can see quite far ahead. At this point knowing that the end is in sight you suddenly feel a lot better. People line the roads as you enter the town and cheer you over the line. Phew!!!
Tim Drew was first home for MBH in 31st place with a time of 1h 27m 53s. Although the course was more challenging a number of competitors managed a PB, which illustrates the improvements over the year. In addition to the PBs there were a couple of other achievements worthy of mention. Katherine Matthews was the first lady in with an excellent time of 1h 30m 22s which was just over a minute quicker than the 2nd lady in. John Doyle took 3rd in his age category with another excellent time of 1h 30m 54s.
It was good to see Viv Matthews competing for MBH. He told me prior to the race that his aim was to get back before it was dark! He had a good run and I expect to see him there next year collecting an age category prize.
Unfortunately we were not in contention for a team prize due to both the clash with Fowey triathlon where MBH competitors collected most of the silverware and not being able to rely on runners like myself for the points!!!
As always thanks must go to the race organisers and marshals without whom we would not be able to compete.
Later on in the evening as I sat with feet up, sipping golden ale from skinners, reflecting on the days events I thought it was certainly a more challenging run but in a strange sort of way I think we all enjoyed it and I’m sure, all being well, we will be back next year with even better times.