Mid June saw a number of long distance runs for the pioneers to be involved in. Ultra Marathons are becoming increasingly popular as a running event, due the extreme challenge that it creates for the athletes. Clive Finnimore and Jenny Cartwright took part in the Boscastle Scramble, a 25.5 mile coastal path trail. This is the second of four stages of the 100 miles saints and smugglers challenge. This tough run starts at Rock and takes the athletes on the coastal path along to the beautiful Polzeath. Athletes carry on the coastal path, to Port Issac, and then up to Tintagel and along to Boscastle.
Clive Finnimore completed the route in an impressive 5:10:29, coming an amazing second overall on this incredibly tough terrain, during an incredibly hot day. Fellow pioneer who ran that day was Jenny Cartwright completed the route in 6:54:00 and came 21st.
Sarah Barker, completed the 10k route of the Endurance Life Coastal Series race which took place in Exmoor. With some of the route taking place on the South West Coastal Path, this hill route takes in 1286 feet of elevation. Starting near Waterhoe, athletes zig zag along Sir Robert's Path, taking a long loop to Heddon River, before turning back and running on a slightly shorter return route to the start point. Sarah completed the tough and hot route in 1:16:30
Emma Langstaff and Jo Robinson completed the incredible Dartmoor Discovery UltraMarathon. This 32 mile run, takes in some of the most stunning views of Dartmoor. Starting at Princetown, the athletes run along to Two Bridges, then running down hill to Dartmeet, followed by a step up hill and by the 10 miles mark runners are heading towards New Bridge at almost the lowest part of the elevation of the run. Running down hill towards Ashburton and steadily climbing towards Buckland on the Moor. Athletes then run along to Widecombe in the Moor, and Postbridge, where athletes join the road and make their way back to Two Princes, ending the run at Princetown. Due to covid -19 restrictions, athletes are being permitted to run in small waves of people, to prevent athletes running too close to each other, during the route. The route is a tough and uneven one, and to add more pressure to the runners, there is a cut off of 6 and a half hours. However, to add some additional support and fun for the runners, who are staying nearby to the race start, there was a pasta party Friday night and a covid- 19 safe disco taking place on the saturday night for those who still had the energy to dance in the evening. Jo Robinson completed the run in 4:42:12, with Emma Langstaff just behind her completing this grueling challenge in 4:43:14.
Superhuman Sally Crabb, completed one of the hardest endurance challenges, the South Downs Way 100, a 100 miles race, during one of the hottest and humid days so far this year. Overall there is an elevation of 3800 meters, with most of the route being on trail and a small amount on the road. To be able to take part in the race there is a strict entrance criteria, that all athletes must have run 50 miles competitively in under 15 hours. Starting at the natural amphitheatre of Matterley Bowl, located near Winchester. Where athletes run 4 miles around the estate to start the race, before the athletes take to the South Downs Way. From here the athletes run on the Beacon Hill Beeches, before heading to Butser Hill. Then the athletes run on to South Harting, and on to Cocking, then Bignor hill and Kithurst Hill. From here the athletes run on to Botolphs, Clayton Windmills, South Ease, Bo Peep and finally Eastbourne. Sally completed this incredible run in a staggering 24:51:13.
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.
The 7th March, saw Clive Finnimore completing an amazing 24 hour challenge. Clive along with other athletes, many who took part in the Eddie Izzard Challenge earlier in the year, this event was organised by Stephen Cousins. The challenge this time was to complete 100 miles in under 24 hours, this was done via Zwift the virtual running software where Avatars of the athletes represent real life runners on a treadmill. This 100 mile challenge virtually took place in Watopia, a fictitious location created within Zwift. Clive, who is an amazing runner and loves to take part in super human events, completed this staggering challenge of 100 miles in 21 hours 57 minutes.
Last weekend, saw many of the Pioneers taking part in the Bath Virtual Half Marathon. As the actual event has been amended due to the current lockdown to be a virtual event, where athletes could sign up and take part in the half marathon in any location, as long as they conformed to social distancing rules. Many of the pioneers joined up with one another, Donna Gundry ran with Nina Bond, completing the run in 2:59:00. Other athletes who took part in the 13.1 mile run include Julie Gregory, Lynne Overd, Jay Wagstaff and Angela Harrison. For Kathy Saunders this was her first half marathon where she also raised an impressive £500 for Alzheimer's Society. For Becky Brewer this was also her first half marathon. This is an amazing effect, for all the athletes who took part. Keeping momentum during lockdown is both a physical and mental challenge.
Phil Shepley, who has spent the last 30 days running the Looe 10 miler route to raise money for Firefighters charity. He wanted to raise £2000 for the charity but impressively due to his superhuman effort raised a staggering £3500 and the total is still growing. For the last 10 runs, he ran in his firefighter's golden uniform. This PPE uniform made from gortex to prevent the firefighters from getting burnt, also prevents heat from getting out of the suit. Making the runs much harder as the weather has become warmer, during the last week. During his daily 10 mile run, Phil has been joined by either a Looe Pioneer or a firefighter. On his last run, where he was joined by Christian Boyce to complete the 10 miler route. Also for support were fire fighters Ian Simpson and Jack Blackmore in the mini firefighters vehicle, known as Mule. Ian and Jack frequently provided freshments to the fellow firefighter whilst he was running. Peter Haywood also ran the route in support of Phil, changing position from running in front and running behind Phil to support him. Nina Bond and Donna Gundry also ran, keeping social distance between Phil and Christian, again supporting Phil to complete his last run. Along the route, as it is a well known run for all the pioneers, there were pioneers socially distancing, cheering and supporting Phil, providing water, and the odd Jelly Baby too.
Mark Hewitt, Chief Fire Officer came to wish Phil all the best of luck in his last 10 miler route.
Usually February would bring hundreds of runners to Looe, to take part in the annual Looe 10 miles race, known as for being "Hillish and Hellish". However due to Covid- 19 lockdown this is not possible this year. So instead Looe Pioneers decided to offer this as a virtual run- run 10 miles, in one go or broken down into smaller runs, within one month, starting from 20th February. Money raised will be donated to the Firefighters charity. Over 180 runners signed up to the virtual event, many who live in and around Looe, however some athletes, from all over the country.
Most athletes ran a 10 mile in one go, making the most of the recent drier weather. A few including William Gundry, the youngest runner (aged 8 years old) broke the run down into small runs, but completed the event. Though any 10 mile route was permitted many choose to run the actual Looe 10 miler. For Heidi Hoskin and Nina Bond (usually the organiser of the race) this was the first time they completed the Looe 10 miler.
The 10 miler route starts runners in the millpool car park, taking them up the first of many hills on West Road, from here athletes change terrain and run along the field and carry on towards Talland. From here the athletes get a brief look at the sea, before they need to run up Bridals Lane, turning on to Talland Hill and then on to Sclerder Lane, turning right again, making their way back to Talland. Where athletes return to the first road, and run back to Looe. During the run the athletes deal with an impressive 1600 feet in elevation.
Phil Shepley, is one of the athletes who signed up for the 10 miler, however Phil, who is also a firefighter, decided that doing the route once was not enough of a challenge. For the 30 days between 20th February - 20 March, Phil will be running the Looe 10 miler route every day. As is permitted within the government's regulations he is allowed to socially distance run with one other person- on several runs he has been joined by both friends, other Looe pioneer athletes and fellow firefighters. though he still has some runs to complete, before the end of the month. Phil has single handedly raised over £1800 to support The FireFighters Charity. Each run he is completing in roughly 1 hour 30 minutes. This route is a tough one, to go back day after day and complete this is an impressive physical and mental achievement. Not only that but day on day he is getting faster at this challenging route.
Carol Beaver, set herself a personal challenge to see if she could run every day in February. During the course of the month, she went out every day, regardless of the weather and ran an impressive 76 miles during the month of February. During the month Carol also took part in two duathlons, riding 12.5, then running, and a week later riding 16 miles then completing a run. She ended on a high, her last run was the Looe 10 miler.
February also saw Lynne Overd raise money for Cancer Research. She signed up for a month-long challenge where she needed to run 2 miles each day over the month of February. With each run, another Looe Pioneer joined her, but obeying social distancing rules. Over the course of the month, she raised over £300 and ran 126.7 miles
January saw stand up comedian Eddie Izzard complete a staggering 31 marathons in 31 days, with a surprise double marathon on the last day, making it a total of 32 marathons. All of this took place in a Covid secure room on a treadmill. During the month she also performed 31 gigs to highlight the Make Humanity Great Again campaign. The campaign raises money for charities supporting disadvantaged and vulnerable people. Eddie managed to raise a staggering amount of money for the cause totalling over £300,000 for the campaign. Eddie is no stranger to mammoth running events, back in 2009 she ran 43 marathons in 51 days for Sport Relief, at this time Eddie has no previous long distance running experience. 7 years later she donned her running shoes again running 27 marathons in 27 days in South Africa to honour Nelson Mandela.
As the event was taking place on a treadmill, other athletes were able to join Eddie on Zwift, an online running game, which enables people from around the world to run together with avatars from their treadmills. Zwift is very similar to a normal running club, and provides massive amounts of support for athletes. So when the Zwift community heard about Eddie's challenge several runners decided to join her virtual. Her team, called the Blue Angels, these athletes ran virtually alongside Eddie to show support for this amazing physical and psychological feat of endurance. With each marathon, the runners changed digital location and virtually travelled around the globe.
One of these Blue Angels was Looe Pioneers athlete Clive Finnimore. Who made the decision that he would support Eddie, by joining her on Zwift as much as possible during the month long endurance challenge. Over the month, Clive ran on his treadmill, every day with Eddie and the Blue Angels, with some days running more than once to show his support. This superhuman effort by Clive who overall ran a staggering 21 marathons during the month. Even more impressively, 16 marathons were on consecutive days, an unbelievable feat. Where most other athletes would take some time off and have rest days, Clive didn't and he kept going. In addition to the marathons Clive also ran 8 half marathons, 1 run at 10k, 12 runs at 5 k and 2 runs less than 5K. All of this was done on his treadmill from his home. In total Clive ran an amazing 728.61 miles over the course of the 31 days. Not only did he complete these massive physical challenges but he also averaged an incredible pace during the month, running at 12 -13 minute miles. Clive was able to virtually run in several amazing locations, including Central Park (Marathon number 32). Clive joined Eddie and fellow Blue Angels, on the final day of January to run not one by two marathons, totalling 52.4 miles within 24 hours. Finally finishing at midnight for a well earned rest. However Clive, being the incredible athlete that he is, ran 3.2 miles on 1st February, at an even faster pace than usual. This is a completely mind blowing effort by both Clive and Eddie.
Fellow Looe Pioneers were showing their support and massive amount of respect to Clive for such an amazing effort. Frequently other Pioneers were sending messages of support via social media to help keep Clive motivated and focused on his task.
Last Sunday saw an incredible effect by many of the pioneers who took part in the Virtual London Marathon. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, this year the marathon for non-elite athletes became a virtual event. Therefore athletes could sign up and run the 26.2 miles in any location, during the course of 4th October, the distance can be split into smaller runs, as done by Nina Bond and Donna Gundry, as long as the final distance is reached. This opened up the event making it more inclusive than ever before, providing people with an opportunity to take part, who would not have been able to due to the restriction on capacity.
Emma Langstaff, Jo Robinson, Sally Crabb, Mandy and Phil Gibson travelled to Plymouth to complete their marathon, where their run followed along the length of the Plym river on the cycle path, the Plym Valley Trail. Then the athletes looped around Saltram, to repeat the Plym Valley Trail. An incredible effect was made by all the athletes who took part in this long distance challenge. Emma Langstaff completed the route in 3:33:00, Jo Robinson, finished the route in 3:13 a person best for her. Sally Crabb finished in 3:52. Whilst Mandy Gibson completed the route in 3:44, with Phil finishing 4:24.
Mark Deacon, who created the route for the pioneers to ensure the correct distance, also completed the marathon. Cycling the 26.2 miles to support the athletes. Sadly during the ride, Mark took a tumble from his bike, but quickly recovered and continued to support his fellow athletes.
Clive Finnimore completed the marathon in a personal best time of 3:45:38, this being his third marathon. The route he took was to complete the 26.2 miles. Running from Cary Park to Trelaske creating a triangle, then along the A387, passed West Waylands Campsite, then to create a second triangle at Tencreek, repeating this a number of times until he completed his marathon. Showing amazing spirit later that day then ran to the finish line with Lynne Overd.
Mark Grassam took a simpler route, running 26 laps around the picturesque Hannafore. Mark, who is recovering from a knee injury completed the route in 4:49. During the run he was joined by John Gossan, Clive Finnimore (having already completed his marathon), Graham and Di Foster, Nina Bond with Donna Gundry
Lynne Overd, who braved the night air by starting in the early hours of the morning, designed 4 different routes around looe to complete her 26.2 miles. Her routes took her over to Hannafore where she met fellow athlete Mark Grassam, Kilminorth Woods, over to Millendreath beach and tackling some of the hills in Looe via Barbican Road. She completed the run in 6 hours 53 minutes.
Julie and Jas Gregory also chose to complete the Virtual London Marathon in Looe. For Jas, this was her first marathon and completed the route alongside her mum an impressive 7 hours and 5 minutes. Their route took them from near Barcelona, outside of Looe, into West Looe where the pair crossed the river several times to complete their challenge. Running many times over to Hannafore and onto Lammana Chapel, before running into Kilminorth woods and then back in the town and the beach.
Darren Hardwick who opted to take part in the Manchester Virtual Marathon ran along the Camel trail and was joined by fellow pioneer, Linda Cuff, running the London Virtual Marathon. Darren and Linda's run took them from Wenfordbridge, their starting location to Hellandbridge, via Bodmin and Wadebridge to the coast where they overlooked Padstow, to return to Bodmin to complete the route. This largely flat but very wet route, which originally was a railway line, takes in some beautiful scenery for woodland, moorland and estuary. Darren completed his run in 4:49, with Linda completing hers in 4:56. The last 5K of the route Sara Grattan joined Darren to complete the Tiki Challenge. Sara having recently joined the pioneers and trained as part of the 2020 Couch to 5K group prior to lockdown, this is her first outdoor run in 3 months. Sara completed her run in 52:31.
The final pair to run the Virtual London marathon from the pioneers was Nina Bond and Donna Gundry. Opting for a slight variation, in splitting the run into 4 runs each 6.55 miles in length. Their first run, taking full advantage of the 24 hours time allocation, started at midnight and were joined by Christian Boyce. This leg of the journey took the trio around Looe, towards Hannafore,then the beach and looping back to the Scout hut. For the second run, at a more reasonable 8.30 in the morning saw Nina and Donna make a team of 6, whilst adhering to social distancing rules, where joined by Kirstie Maywood, Kathy Saunders, Geraldine Bowden, Emma Collins. Kathy very generously made flapjack for the pair to boost their energy along the route. This run took place in Duleo along the country lanes. For their third run, they took to the Kilminorth Woods, running passed Watergate camping site creating some variety for the runners. However by now the heavy rain had created much harder running conditions, in places the duo ran through thick mud. After leaving the woods, they ran on to Hannafore, to see fellow runner Mark Grassam. For their fourth and final run, this took place back in Looe, running incorporating a loop at Hannafore and again on to the beach and were met by fellow runner Emma Collins, who provided a much needed chocolate for the pair.
Julie Gregory, completed the Breakwater swim 2020, in Plymouth Sound. The 4K open water swim saw Julie battle 4-5 foot waves with a 30mph North Westerly wind. The swimming conditions were incredibly tough, when many swimmers needed assistance. However Julie, who has been in training for months pushed on and completed the long distance swim. The swim was organised to raise money for The Chestnut Appeal, a charity raising money for Prostate Cancer. Swimmers were taken by boat out of the breakwater and then had to swim back to Tinside.
Whilst Amanda Southern, who took part in the Couch to 5K in 2019, has spent September walking to raise money for Dementia UK. The target was to walk 1 mile a day, however Amanda has so far walked 41.5 miles and is set for a personal target of 50 miles. Additionally she has raised an amazing £500 for Dementia UK. During her walks, she has endured wet weather, but still managed to smile. Many of the walks she has been accompanied by friends and family and managed to enjoy some Me Time, in some wonderful local locations, including Sibleyback, and Golitha Falls.
Last week saw, after weeks of preparation, Looe Pioneers operating again as a running club, for most people this is the first time in 6 months that they have had an opportunity to meet up with fellow athletes and run. Having gone through many changes due to COVID-19 regulations, the club has needed to invest in a track and trace system, and is limited to 12 runners per evening session. However it was great to see the return of the running club, not only does the running club help with fitness, and provide a socially distance support network, the club provides a much needed support for mental health, during such trying times. The session started in the car park, where athletes used the white car park space lines, to ensure that a safe 2M distance was adhered to.
This was the start of an excellent week for the Looe Pioneers, with many of the runners taking part in the Cornwall Air Ambulance 10K virtual run. Last year, this took place at Newquay airport and provided athletes with an opportunity to run under the recently grounded Thomas Cook planes, however with the pandemic, this year the run could take place in any location, at any time during the weekend, and this time athletes could split the distance, or even cycle to complete the 10K. For the Looe Pioneers many took up the challenge. Emma Collins and Sandra Northcott completed their 10K during Saturday. Whereas Donna Gundry, Nina Bond and Lynne Overd ran during Sunday morning. With all the runners ensuring that they adhered to at least 2M running distance. Jay Wagstaff completed her 10K along the scenic Coastal Path and then ran another 5K for the Race for Life. Julie Gregory also completed her 10K run, as part of her action packed weekend, as on Sunday she took part in the Breakwater Swim in Plymouth.
William Gundry, aged 8, learnt how to ride his bike during lockdown as part of his daily outdoor exercise allowance. He took to his bike and completed his 10K over the weekend, riding just over 5K in the picturesque Seaton, then completing his distance Saturday afternoon around Looe. He also managed to raise £50 for Cornwall Air Ambulance.
With the Sunday morning runners also being able to cheer on Anne Libby, who completed her Race for Life run, running and raising money for Cancer Research UK. Along the run she was supported by fellow Pioneers, whilst social distancing. Clive Finnimore who ran with Anne, then completed the Watopia Run Festival, a virtual half marathon on his treadmill, in an impressive 1:58:52.
Rob Kernaghan and Sandra Hayes completed the Man up Man Down, a 20K Coastal Path trail run along the rugged north Cornwall coast, from Portreath to Perranporth, taking in some very steep terrain. This run was created in partnership with Man Down Cornwall, a charity supporting mental health in men for the county. Rob Kernaghan completed the route in 2:38:48, with Sandra completing it in 3:18:54.
The amazing Emma Langstaff and Richard Patrick competed in the Arc of Attrition. Which is an extreme coastal path run, from Coverack to Porthtowan, covering a staggering 100 miles. This ultra marathon, is an incredible run taking in the dramatic Cornish landscape. From Coverack, athletes run along the coastal path towards the Lizard. During the route athletes get to see some of the major coastal towns including Porthleven, Marazion, St Just, St Ives, Hayle, before finishing finally at Porthtowan. The race has a strict 36 hour limit. For the two pioneers Emma completed the race in 31:17:32 and Richard completed the route in 32:37:39. To support the runners, several of the Pioneers went to cheer on their fellow athletes, Christian Boyce and Nina Bond ran the final 22 miles as sweepers, ensuring all the athletes completed the race safely.
Last Sunday saw an amazing turn out of 25 Looe Pioneers taking part in the Newquay 10k run. With Mark Deacon (38:30) being the first male back for the pioneers, with Jo Robinson (40:42) being the first female pioneer over the line. Followed by Clive Finnimore (43:37), closely followed by Mandy Gibson (44:47). Alison Catnach completed the run in 49:49, quickly followed by Rob Kernaghan (50:57) then Darren Hardwick (51:54). With Di Foster (52:37), seconds later Martin Gregory (52:53), followed by the youngest pioneer to take part in race Megan Hearnden (53:00), followed by Helen Lawes (54:23). Quickly followed by Emma Collins (55:27), Linda Cuff (56:03), Geraldine Bowden (59:28), and Mick Torres (59:55) completing the route in under the hour mark. David Hotchkiss finished just over the hour (1:01:04), followed by Sharon Moreau (1:04:41), then Kathy Saunders (1:07:01). Which was closely followed by Mandy Kemp and Lisa Kernaghan (1:07:18) who ran together. Moments behind them came Julie Gregory and Sandra Northcott (1:10:56). With Lynne Overd completed the route in 1:20:04. Guy Cooper and Shaun Pengelly also ran together.
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.
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.
Last weekend saw a trio of pioneers travel over to Southsea, Portsmouth to take part in the Great South run. Nina Bond, Christian Boyce and Mark Deacon competed in the 10 miles route, which take the athletes from portsmouth Blue Reef Aquarium, along the coast towards Portsmouth Dock, then over to the University, back to Southsea, along the coast and back again to Southsea.
The Pioneers Trio who took part in the race were Nina Bond, who completed the run in 1:38:44. Christian Boyce finished in 1:17:33. For both Nina and Christian this was their personal best times for both 10 mile and 15K. Mark Deacon who wanted to finish the race near the hour mark, but managed to run an incredible time of 1:00:00, and finished 130th place. This was a personal best time also for Deacon. The trio did amazingly well, all to finished with personal best times, within a very popular race of 20,000 other athletes taking part.
Saturday saw Paul Wright and Kathy Saunders complete the Lanhydrock Park Run. A 5k route, with 144 athletes taking part in the race, which takes athletes around the Lanhydrock estate, taking in some beautiful scenery. While Julie Gregory competed in the Park Run at Eden. Another fantastic location for a free to enter 5k Saturday morning run. Lisa and Rob Kernaghan ran in the Bryn Bach Park Run, where Rob achieved first in his age group.
Last week also saw the Pioneers run another Return To Pioneers session, starting at the earlier time to the regular club runs, of 6pm. These sessions have been set up by the club, to encourage people who have been out of running for a while, maybe due to injury or another reason. Other Return to Pioneers sessions are planned for up and coming Thursday evenings.