Last Saturday saw several pioneers brave the weather and take part in the Polruan Shuffle, organised by Purple Gekko. The race starts on Looe Beach, with athletes having a staggered start, due to Covid restrictions. The route takes the runners through the town, over the bridge, and then follows the muddy South West Coastal Path to Talland, where the first checkpoint and refreshments are located. Athletes stay on the coastal path to Polruan, where they then enter Coal Wharf to complete the 12.5 mile run. Due to recent weather conditions the path was slippery and mudder than expected, causing some of the athletes to slip and fall during the run. That added to the usual hilly terrain of the Coastal Path and livestock, this is not an easy run. Though the route does offer amazing elevated views over the Channel. With several pioneers running, many came out to support the athletes.
Clive Finnimore finished overall second place out of the 90 runners who took part in the race, with a finish time of 2:04:35.
Tom Burns, wearing bid number 4, a very early individual to sign up for this run completed the route in 2:28:44.
Jenny Cartwright was the first female pioneer back and completed the route in 2:36:00
Darren Hardwick finished the route just under the three hour mark, even after having a few slips along the way, 2:57:16.
Rob Kernaghan, completed to cliff top route in 3:19:11 with Sandra Haynes, kept smiling and finished the route 3:45:39
Last Sunday, saw Carol Beaver take part in the Wadebridge triathlon. Carol took part in the Big Camel, which is a 400 m swim, followed by a 26K bike ride and a 5K run. Sadly as the weather has been unseasonably wet recently, the bike element was removed due to health and safety. Much to the disappointment of many athletes, including Carol. However Carol completed the swim in 13.27, which took place in the Wadebridge Leisure Centre and the 5K run in 30.01. The run takes the athletes from the leisure centre, over the bridge toward the camel trail.
Beth Aldridge took part in the Boconnoc Woods Freedom Racing, this roughly 5.5 mile trail route, takes athletes through the Boconnoc estate, taking in woodlands and parkland. This off-road race is rocky, uneven and currently very muddy. Beth completed the route in 1:07:41. For athletes who completed the race they received an environmentally friendly wooden laser cut medal.
Last weekend, saw Christian Boyce and Nina Bond complete in the #51fiver Triathlon in the Cotswolds. This amazing athletic couple, who have masses of energy and support of other athletes, are both committee members for Looe Pioneers Running Club with Christian as an exceptional Chair. During lockdown the pair worked tirelessly to support others, arranging fun activities, including Zoom quizzes to help reduce the monotony of lockdown. Both Christian and Nina are fundamental to the development and growth of the club. Equally they symbolise the ethos of the running club, that the club is for all abilities and running is an integral part of providing wellbeing and improving mental health.
Last Sunday was Christian and Nina, who have been training extensively this year, took part in the Cotswolds triathlon, in one of the fastest standard distance triathlon races within the UK. For a triathlon to be referred to as standard distance, then the swim must be 1500 meters long, 40K bike ride followed by a 10K run. All of this takes part in the beautiful location of the Cotswolds. Athletes were offered the option to reduce the swim to 400 meters, due to athletes being unable to train due to lockdown. With the swim being one lap of Lake 32. Whilst the bike ride, as a fast and flat route, takens in some of the prettiest villages, Ewen, Kemble, Crudwell, Charlton, Minety and Ashton Keynes. Whilst the 10K run takes place around lake 31 and 32, a completely flat trail route, however recent rainfall had, made the conditions very muddy for the athletes. All that training has paid off, Christian completed the swim in 10 minutes, 8 seconds. Followed by an incredibly fast ride, completing the 40K route in 1 hour 17 minutes. Whilst the last component of a 10k run Christian completed it in 52:19. Nina Bond’s combined time for all three events was a highly impressive 2:48:09.
The end of April saw Looe Pioneers coming back together as the lockdown started to ease. Club sessions, now operating with a booking system, have started but are limited to 12 athletes. Though many people have been running solo or with one other person during lockdown, the return of the club has been fantastic for many people who have had limited contact with others over the past few weeks. The club sessions adhere to all the government's advice and runners are socially distancing, but for many the return of club nights, helps support both mental health and fitness levels.
The end of April also saw the restarting of races, whilst some still operate on a virtual basis. Mark Deacon took part in the Exeter Sprint Duathlon. The athletes run a testing 5K route, through the Escot Estate, then move on to a fast and flat 20K bike ride. Followed by another 5K run. Mark completed each section in excellent timing, even though he was sent the wrong way for the first 5K run, he still managed to complete the first section in 25:57, followed by the bike ride in 41:03 and the final run of 26:43.
Whereas 4 Pioneers took part in the third stage of the Saints and Smugglers Challenge. This 100 mile run based in Cornwall, is broken down into 4 sections, with the April segment, being 36.6 miles long and taking the athletes straight across the county. The runners start at the picturesque town of Boscastle and run across Bodmin Moor, ending the route in Looe. This is the longest section of the 100 mile challenge. Just under 40 runners took part, due to the distance, this challenge is also self navigated stage, meaning not only do the runners need to complete the ultra marathon distance, they also need to be able to use a compass and map read to stay on the right track. Just to make the challenge slightly harder, there is also a cut off time, where all athletes need to be at the finish line in under 14.5 hours. Clive Finnimore (6:54:00), Jo Robinson (6:54:19) and Emma Langstaff (6:54:44) ran together, supporting each other along the way and came in 4th, 5th and 6th overall. Sally Crabb, completed the ultra marathon in 8:19:45, coming in 12th overall.
Lynne Overd decided to keep her virtual run local, when she completed a virtual marathon in and around Looe. During her solo run she was joined by other pioneers to cheer her on. She dedicated her 26.2 miles, to mainly road running looping around the town, but also ran along the coastal path and through Kilminorth woods out to Widegates. Anne Libby was one of the pioneers who joined Lynne. Whilst Anne, who frequently supports charities by running and raising money, was completing her virtual 5K Race for Life run. Virtual runs are a great way to stay motivated and keep exercise with targets, plus a medal at the end.