5 Tors...my favourite Cornish race of the year on a day of beautiful April weather!
The only proper fell race in the MTRS calendar, 5 Tors takes runners out from Minions across firstly Tregarrick Tor followed by Stowe's Hill (home to the infamous Cheesewring), Kilmar Tor, Bearah Tor and lastly Sharp's Tor. The race takes runners across a lot of open moorland, involving some quite technical and steep descents on grippy granite, utilising rough tracks across the moor where convenient.
Red/white streamers flapped gamefully in the stiff breeze and guided our way across the rough terrain, which was very dry for the time of year after the recent dry weather, meaning the course was notably faster than last year. The race starts with some gentle ups and downs largely off-track across rough moorland, involving some quite sharp and unexpected hollows, to the most westerly point, Tregarrick Tor.
After looping Tregarrick Tor, runners then turn north-eastward across a long section of open moorland before descending into a valley and starting the steep climb up to Stowe's Hill, with a fine view of the Cheesewring to the right.
After flying across Stowe's Hill, there's a fantastic fast descent, involving some technical sections over granite blocks embedded in the grass, to a farm and a private rubbly track not usually open to the public. A long gentle incline then leads to a steeper ascent up Kilmar Tor, before another fantastic fast and technical descent down granite blocks, before looping round and back up the northern part of Kilmar Tor.
Only two more tors to go by this point, with a nice gentle downhill section followed by a short steep climb up onto Bearah Tor, in turn followed by another fast and technical descent into a valley below Sharp's Tor. The final long climb up to Sharp's Tor steepens upwards, and I found myself walking for the first time in the upper half to save energy for another fast technical downhill and fast finish.
The final section, across granite sleepers comprising a disused railway across the eastern slopes of Stowe's Hill drags on, the sleepers spaced at an awkward distance such that stepping on each one involves steps which are too short, whereas stepping on every other one involves a long stride. The finish back at Minions couldn't come quickly enough!
I enjoyed a fantastic battle with Simon Williams throughout most of the race, he being faster on the ups whilst I was faster on the downs, but I finally managed to pull away on the final granite sleepers to finish 5th. Really pleased with that and happy to get some valuable points for the MTRS table!
Special congratulations go to Jenna Hunt for a fantastic performance to claim 5th in age, Tom Carthey for making the podium amongst stiff competition and the FRR lads team for bringing home first team prize in consecutive years at this event. Already looking forward to next year's race!