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.