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.
Last weekend saw Cheryl Broas take part in the Pelham half marathon. The 31.1 mile route, starting on 5th avenue, taking the athletes around this village in New York. The route takes the runners towards the Shore Park, then gets them to loop back, taking in two hills before the finish line. For Cheryl this was a special run, not only is this her hometown, but also she completed the race first, for women in her age group.
Last Sunday saw an early start for 5 Pioneers, who took part in the Race for Wildlife race. Which is part of the Cornish Multi Terrain Race for 2019 series. The 7.5 mile route, taking place in the countryside north of Penzance. Taking in some of the spectacular views of both Mounts Bay and St. Michael Mount. Athletes had to negotiate both stiles and stony ground. The race's finish line was at Penwith College. Jo "The Rocket" Robinson came in 4th overall of the females, completing the route in 54:58. Shortly afterwards followed by Mark Grassam 55:27. Followed by Clive Finnimore 59:02, then Rob Kernaghan 1:06:55, followed by Nikki Williams 1:07:16.
Last Saturday saw Rob Kernaghan, competing in the Tilgate, West Sussex park run, completing the 5K route in 25:14. Dave Hotchkiss took part in the Eden Parkrun, completing the 5k route in 29:49. Park runs are great runs, 5K in length and take place all over the world, usually in really interesting locations, and are free to enter.
Last weekend saw Mandy Gibson take part in the Gloucester 10k. This year the race incorporates the South West of England Inter Counties Challenge. Where Mandy was part of the Cornish female team. With County pride at stake, all the athletes were pushing themselves to their absolute limit. This is a massive honour to represent the county. The course, is an all inclusive event, with elite athletes running next to new runners, as well as a 10k wheelchair users. This is a mostly flat road race, taking place in the Haresfield and Colthorp Villages. The route starts at the Kingsway Manor Farm Park, taking the athletes on to Naas Lane, which takes the athletes over M5, heading down towards Haresfield, where athletes then loop back and again over the M5, to finish in the village centre. Mandy completed the route in 46:22 and her team walked away with Gold for Cornwall.
Last Sunday saw 14 Pioneers travel down to Falmouth to take part in the 5 mile Mob Match, this was the last in the Cornish Grand Prix series. The route starts and finished out side of the impressive Falmouth hotel, taking the athletes on the coastal path and including some of the finest hill that Falmouth has to offer. this impressive route takes the runners, passed Pendennis point, taking in the opportunity to run passed the castle and Gylly beaches to Swanpool. From there athletes take a lap around Swanpool lake, for a final hill up to the cemetery then up again to the welcome site of the hotel and finish line.
Clive Finnimore completed the route in 39:27, Rob Kernaghan, who has already run the day before in the park run (42:00), Emma Collins finished in 44:52, Helen Lawes finished 45:36, Tania Elliott finished in 46:09 and achieved her personal best on many areas of the route. Sandra Northcott (55:33) who ran the route with Guy Copper. Lisa Jago (1:04:09), Lynne Overd (1:05:39), Mandy Kemp ran with Lisa Kernaghan completing the route in 53:00.
Following the Mob Match race the awarding of the trophies for people who had run either 8 or 15 races within the series. Several Pioneers picked up their trophies for completing 8 races, Guy Cooper, Clive Finnimore, Lisa Jago, Lynne Overd, Gary Williams, Shaun Pengelly, Mark Deacon, Mark Grassam, Mick Torres, Helen Lawes, Mandy Gibson and Linda Cuff. Andy and Tania Elliott completed 15 of the Grand prix races and picked up there awards.
Jo Robinson, took part in the Venture Roller coaster Trail Race, in Blanchdown Woods. Finishing the race in 41:05, and she came third lady overall. The route is 5 miles, and takes in 5 hills, on forest track, taking place in the Tamar Valley, an area of outstanding natural beauty. Given the recent rainfall, this was a muddy and at times slipper route.
Last Saturday saw Paul Wright, Mike Visick (31:06), Mandy Kemp and Kathy Saunders take part in the Lanhydrock parkrun, with 140 other athletes. The Lanhydrock route is a tricky one, due to hilly section during the 5K route. Parkruns happen all over the world, are free to enter and take placed early on Saturday mornings. Whilst Christian Boyce (23:02), Nina and Kylie Bond (28:52) where holidaying in Orlando, Florida, they took part in the Caremont Waterfront parkrun.
Last Sunday saw Robert Kernaghan and Mandy Kemp took part in the 12k Lopwell Loop. This hilly road race, which was organised by Storm Plymouth running club. The race starts at Tamerton Foliot and takes the athletes down towards Lopwell dam, then they loop back around to the Tamerton Foliot. Mandy completed the race in 1:24 where as Rob Kernaghan completed the route in 1:10.
Kathy Saunders and Clive Finnimore travelled down to Marazion, to take part in the St Micheal Mount Remembrance Day race. Where all athletes were requested to wear something red. Starting at 11:02, following to 2 minute of silence. This just over 4 mile race, starting at the Sailing club with take the athletes along the beach and athletes will need to cross a river. With the race finishing in front of picturesque St Micheal's Mount. Clive finished the 4.2 mile route in 39:59. With Kathy finishing in run in 56:45.
Last week, saw a series of events taking place for the Looe Pioneers within Cornwall. The brave Pioneers who battled against the wind and rain to compete in some spooktacular events.
On the eve of Halloween, 6 weather hardened athletes, took part in the Cardinham Woods Twilight Run. This creepy run, taking place at night, took the runners in the dark on a frightening 5k route. For those who were brave enough to do the 10K route, they would have the pleasure of running through the woods twice, just to give them a proper scare.
The 5K route saw nearly 100 athletes complete in the race. With Rob Kernaghan completing the race in 28:40, Christian Boyce was hot on his heals (28:55). Nina Bond, as the first female athlete for the club to cross the finish line, with a time of 36:13. With Mandy Kemp (36:20) who came first in her age category, quickly followed by Lisa Kernaghan (36:23).
Darren Hardwick, was the only pioneer who did the 10k and completing the race in 53:18 and came in 27th out of 121 athletes who took part.
Last Saturday saw Emma Clarke travel to London, to take part in the Thames Meander Marathon, where the route takes the athletes from Kingston Upon Thames following the River Thames, towards Twickenham, Richmond, past Kew Gardens, then over the London Wetlands Centre, this is where athletes turned around to return to just north of Kingston Upon Thames. However on the return leg, the athletes had to run into the wind, making conditions harder to run. Emma completed the 26 mile run in 4:18:03, making this narrowly her second fastest marathon. However she did achieve her fastest 30k run.
On Sunday morning 9 athletes took part in the Runway Runaround, whilst Wingwoman Maddie Southall cheered on the runners, providing much needed support in the miserable weather conditions. The race took place at the RAF St Mawgan site. The race was organised to raise money for Cornwall Air Ambulance, an amazing charity close to the hearts of many within the Pioneers. With this race being even more special, as this year celebrates the 100th anniversary of the RAF starting, and 75 years since RAF St Mawgan, the location for today's race, site opened.
This amazing and flat route, on the runway, where athletes had the pleasure of running under the stationary Thomas Cook planes wings and tails, which is not part of your everyday race! Sadly, the race itself was delayed for 20 minutes, athletes tried to keep their spirit up by doing a massive team warm ups, with roughly 900 athletes taking part.
The Pioneers wore orange tutu's and wigs during the charity run and started the route whilst being played to by a steal drum band. Darren Hardwick (48:36) and Rob Kernaghan (48:35) came back first for the Pioneers, with Emma Collins being the first female across the line for the Pioneers having completed the race in 54:08. Mandy Kemp finished the race in 1:06:00. Donna Gundry and Julie Gregory ran together and completed the race in 1:06:33. Sandra Northcott, who has been resting for 6 weeks as she has been recovering from an injury, ran with Lisa Kernaghan who both completed in route in 1:06:52. Kathy Saunders was just behind them with a time of 1:08:35. Lisa Jago completed the route in 1:15:38.
This weekend was also the Cornish Marathon. However due to the terrible weather conditions that have been effecting Cornwall recently, there was a last minute change to the route, due to flooding, removing a much needed 6 miles of flat running whilst running near Jamaica Inn, for more hills. However, that didn't stop 10 Pioneers taking on the challenge. The route started at Pensilva with a quick loop around the primary school, from here the athletes, run toward the beautiful Golitha Falls, where athletes then ran toward the edge of the Moor, just to turn and run to the middle of Bodmin Moor, running passed Colliford Lake. Then turning just before the athletes reached Bolventor, to repeat the run back to Pensilva.
Jo "The Rocket" Robinson put in a truly amazing display, and after several races where she topped her age group, this race saw Jo come back first not only for the club, but also first female back. Jo ran against 475 runners taking part, with a superb finishing time of 3:18:50. This is an incredible achievement, given the weather, harder conditions and length of race.
Other Pioneers who took part were, Tommy Murran (3:21:07), Gary Williams (3:31:05), Emma Langstaff (3:51:08) who came second in her age category, Alison Catnach (4:12:42), Clive Finnmore (4:20:00), Gary Oswald (4:45:36) third in his age category, Tania Elliott (5:11:41), Mick Torres (5:21:32) and Andy Elliott (6:09:52). Mick Torres, Andy Elliott, Tania Elliott and Tommy Murran all choose the Cornish marathon to be there first marathon.
Showing real team spirit to support the athletes during the marathon, many of the Pioneers including Di Foster, Mandy and Phil Gibson, Guy Cooper and Nick and Mags Pope jumped on their bikes and clocked up 15 - 25 miles of the route, just to cheer on their friends and fellow runners!
Robert Cioppa and Cheryl Broas, who live in America and also spend time in Looe, when they are in Looe they run with the Pioneers. Last weekend saw them both participate in the New York Marathon, along with 56,625 fellow runners, they took to the streets on a perfect Sunday. For Robert, aged 77, this was his first marathon with a finish time of 6:14:11. Cheryl, aged 58 completed the run in 4:21:46.
Saturday saw great turn out from the Pioneers competing in the Eden Project parkrun. Helen Lawes (27:07), who finished 5th in her age category, making her 18th female across the line, out of the 211 athletes who took part. Julie Gregory completed the run in 32:50. Also in attendance were Mark Deacon, Nina Bond, Christian Boyce, and Cathy Saunders.
Sunday, saw several pioneers taking part in the Tavy 7 race, which is organised by Tavistock Athletics Club. The 7 mile route, is held on Dartmoor, and takes the athletes from Plaster Down on the western edge of Dartmoor on an undulating route and goes past Pew Tor and the hamlet of Sampford Spiney on its 7 mile route. Along the way athletes are treated to wonderful scenery. Athletes who took part from the Pioneers included Di Foster (1:01:01), Sophie Wones (1:05:57), Dave Hotchkiss (1:08:34), Steve Skinner, and Mandy Kemp.