Saturday saw a plethora of Looe Pioneers head to either Eden or Lanhydrock to take part in the Park Runs. Park Runs are 5k in length and take place all over the country, being free to enter they are highly popular. Pioneers who travelled to Eden to take part were Mark Deacon who finished 6th out of 324 athletes in attendance, with an impressive time of 18:35, this is even more spectacular given that Mark has recently been injured and needed to rest for several weeks. Also taking part from the Pioneers include Emma Collins who finished 26:27 with a personal best time, Maddie Southall, recently awarded with junior pioneers of the year, also achieved a personal best time with 33:13. Sandra Northcott, who ran with Maddie came in 33:14.
Where as Lanhydrock saw more pioneers in attendance, with 182 other athletes taking part in the Park Run. Rob Kernaghan coming in first for the pioneers, with a time of 28:26. Mick Visick came in 31:03, with Paul Wright not far behind him with a time of 31:25. Mandy Kemp was the first female back for the Pioneers with a time of 35:19, Lisa Kernaghan completed the route in 36:28, which was a personal best time for her, followed by Kathy Saunders completing the run in 38:48 followed by Jackie Tanner 43:07.
Sunday's weather didn't deter just over 400 athletes, along with 19 Pioneers who took part in the first of the Cornish Grand Prix Series races, Storm Force 10.
Starting just outside Camborne this 10 mile race, takes the athletes through Barripper. From here the athletes, then run in a square taking in Carnell Green, Leedstown, before turning back on Praze Road and finishing the square to Carnhell Green, before running back through Barripper and returning to Camborne. With several of the Pioneers achieving personal bests on this undulating road race, there were also treated to seeing alpacas on route.
Mark Grassam (1:09:56) who had an excellent run and can celebrate this being the first race his has come back first for the Pioneers, as well as getting a personal best time for 10 miles. He was followed by Tommy Meyes (1:11:54) who also achieved a PB. Quickly followed by Gary Williams (1:12:51), Mandy Gibson (1:14:28) who came back third for her age category overall, and Clive Finnimore (1:14:44), who also achieved a PB for the run today. Followed by Alison Catnach (1:21:40), John Hoskin (1:26:22), Darren Hardwick (1:27:58) who also achieved his PB for 10 miles. Then Martin Gregory (1:28:35), with Helen Lawes and Linda Cuff running together (1:38:10), followed by David Hotchkiss (1:39:44), Nina Bond (1:43:32), Kathy Saunders (2:00:00) and Vicky Senior and Julie Gregory running together (2:00:56). Just over the 2 hour mark, came Lynne Overd (2:13:00) with Lisa Jago and Shaun Pengelly (2:14:00)
Whereas as Mandy Kemp and Rob Kernaghan took part in the Braunton 10K or 10 miles respectively. Both routes set off from the North Devon Athletic track, and take the Hill Road into the town of Braunton, then turning left to take the country lanes towards Knowle Water, where the two distance athletes split, the 10K route loops round on to North Lane and heads toward West Ashford, where athletes turn towards home, running through Heanton Punchardon and Heanton, then back to the athletic track.
For Rob and those other athletes that signed up for the 10 miler route, they left the 10K athletes, and headed out to Pippacott, then turned to Whitehall and on to Ashford, before rejoining the 10K runners at West Ashford. Mandy completed the slippery and hilly 10k route in 1: 06:00. Whereas Rob on the 10 miler track, which included two additional hills completed the route in 1:28:00.
January saw the annual awards evening for Looe Pioneers. Each year members of the club are asked to vote for a series of awards, this year the dazzling award ceremony and end of year party took place at Tencreek Holiday Park.
Awards went to Mark Deacon for Best Male Runner of the Year, with Mandy Gibson picking up Best Female Runner of the Year. Both who are outstanding runners and frequently come first in their age group when competing.
Most Improved Female Runner of the Year went to Mandy Kemp, with Darren Hardwick being awarded the Most Improved Male Runner of the Year award. Darren only started running at the start of 2019 in the C25K training scheme and has gone on complete a half marathon, with his first marathon booked for April 2020.
Clive Finnimore was awarded Pioneer of the Month for December and picked up the award for Newcomer of the Year. Maddie Southall was awarded with Junior Pioneer of the Year, having competed in many of the club runs, most recently the 10 miler practice runs for the Looe 10 Miler Race which will take place on 22nd February.
Peter Heywood received the Chairman's Choice Award, due to his outstanding contribution to supporting the club.
Nina Bond won the Ian Slee award. Ian Slee was the founder of the club and the award was created after he sadly passed away in 2007, he was passionate about the love of running and the benefits that running provides. Nina, a fantastic runner, was awarded this for all the extra work that she puts in to the organisational aspects of the club, going above and beyond other runners. Previous winners have included Brian Maywood, Kirsty Webb and Di Foster.
New Years Day, kicked off with 4 of Looe Pioneers bracing the muddy and slippery paths of Bodmin, to take part in the Brown Willy Run. The run is organised by Truro Running Club and they are keen to point out that this is a sociable run and not a race.
The route is 7 miles long, mostly on Moor land. The route starts at the famous Jamaica Inn, and gives the athletes the opportunity to run on roads, until they reach the edge of the moor. From here the athletes run towards Brown Willy Tor, on the way they run passed Tolborough Tor and Catshole Tor. At Brown Willy Tor, where athletes have reached an elevation of 420m, before looping around the Tor to complete the run and return to the welcoming warmth of The Jamaica Inn.
473 athletes took part in the run, the run is free to enter, but the organisers requested a donation, this year the event raised £2370 to be split between two charities, Cornwall Search and Rescue and Cruse- Bereavement Care in Cornwall. The 4 Pioneers, seeing in the New Year with a bracing run were Dave Hotchkiss, Rob Kernaghan, Mandy Kemp and Sandra Haynes.