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.
The last two weeks of 2019, were certainly not quite ones for Looe Pioneers. With many athletes taking part in their longest run of the year, and having festive fun along the way.
A record number of pioneers attended the festive Park Run at Eden Project, where athletes, donning seasonal fancy dress, run a 5K route, around the Eden. An impressive 47 Pioneers, and juniors took part in the race, which was the highest turnout for the pioneers at Eden Park Run for the year. Park runs are excellent events, which happen all over country. They are free to enter and are 5K in length starting at 9am. As they are open to everyone, you can try for a PB, or take it at a slower pace and enjoy the hour before the site opens. Both the Deacon brother's put in an amazing effort, with Mark Deacon coming in 4th overall, and his brother, Andy coming in top 20. Jo Robinson finished first for the females. Gary Williams come in the top 20 out of nearly 300 competing athletes that day.
Christmas Eve saw the Looe Pioneers compete in a practice run of the Looe 10 miler, which is due to take place in late February. The route, takes the athletes from Millpool car park, running up West Road, across the muddy and in places slippery Downs. Then the athletes run towards Portlooe, and on to country lanes passed Hendersick National Trust site and on to Talland. Here they loop around Talland, taking them up to West Waylands Touring Park, back to Talland. Then the athletes run back passed the Hendersick National Trust site, then back home to Looe, via The Downs, then onwards and gratefully after a hilly run, downwards to the finish at the Millpool car park. For half a dozen of the Pioneers this was their first 10 mile race, including Jay Wagstaff, Mags Pope and Becky Allman. For Kathy Saunders, Darren Hardwick and Donna Gundry who were all part of the this years couch to 5 K training programme, this was a great achievement to have completed the route, having only started running in January 2019. Maddie Southall a junior pioneer, also completed the 10 mile route, she was the only junior to compete this year in the Christmas eve event.
On Christmas Day when most people were opening their presents, Nina Bond and Christian Boyce, who are both race directors for Park Run with the additional support from Mark Deacon, organised a very special Park Run. Putting all three of them on Santa's nice list for year. Taking place at the usual 9 am start time, a record number of people to take part in the 5K run, at Plym Valley. A staggering 400 athletes joined the athletic trio on Christmas Day morning for the Park Run, with Kylie Bond, Nina's sister joining in the 5K run.
To end the year on a high, dozens of Looe Pioneers meet again at the Millpool car park to have another practice at the 10 miler route on New Years Eve. Following the same route as the Christmas Eve run. Athletes were greeted with the same muddy, and hilly conditions.
Darren Hardwick ran in the Longridge Christmas Pudding 7 mile race. During the race, he had to deal with freezing cold conditional and heavy rain. Hardwick ran an impressive route given the terrible weather conditions, completing the race 139th out of 416 athletes. With an impressive finishing time of 1:00:56, where he received a Christmas themed medal, in the shape of a pudding.
Christmas Canter race took place Cardinham Woods, athletes could take part in the 5 or 10 k route, both routes take the athletes around Cardinham woods, but for those who do the 10k they get to do it twice. Several of the pioneers took part, dressed in their festive best, Nina Bond completed the 5K route in 35:07, Lisa Kernaghan completed the route in 34:00 who ran alongside Mandy Kemp. Whilst Zak was the first pioneering back rocketing across the finish line. Whilst Rob Kernaghan took on the hard 10K route, completing the route in 54:06 sadly the rain started for the second loop, making the conditions slightly harder for those athletes on the 10k route.
Saturday saw the Santa Fun Run, the one mile fun run taking athletes from west to east Looe. The days events brought together many community groups from the town, showing a great spirit to support the town and provide some entertainment for the people of Looe. Many of the Looe Pioneers joined in the fun, and to mark the festive occasion, they were dressed as presents. Gary Williams was the first pioneer over the finish line for the pioneers at the fun run and Zak was the first junior pioneer back. All competitors of the Santa fun run were rewarded with a box of Cornish Tea.
As is tradition for Looe, Santa arrived in style, arriving on boat with the help of the RNLI and a few reindeer helpers.
Santa and Mother Christmas then take to their sleigh, followed by Sheila's Dance Class and the Pioneers, singing and dancing through the streets. Where Santa in his sleigh, then circles around the car park and goes to the Grotto to meet eager children, hopefully all of those children are on Santa's nice list.
During the day, there was an indoor Christmas market, additional places to eat and drink as well as children's entertainment. Luckily the rain held off and lots of people came to see Santa and enjoy the festive fun.
When the evening started to draw in the Christmas lights were switched on in the evening, lighting up the town, including the bridge followed by the lantern procession through the town. The evening at the entertainment continued, including a carol service and musical entertainment going on until 7.30.