The Roseland August Trail (RAT), organised by MudCrew, is touted as the biggest running festival in the south-west and the 2017 RAT failed to disappoint. Comprising four coastal routes along the Roseland Heritage Coast, this is a test for any runner who can only fail to appreciate the difficulty until they have tried it.
Starting with the longest, the routes comprise the Plague (64 miles from Porthpean to St. Anthony's Head and back again), the Black RAT (32 miles from St. Anthony's Head to Porthpean), the Red RAT (20 miles from Portloe to Porthpean) and the White RAT (11 miles from Gorran Haven to Porthpean). The race starts are staggered so that all races will finish at some point on the Saturday afternoon/early evening, with the Plague starting at midnight on the Friday night, the Black RAT at 8.30am, the Red RAT at 11am and the White RAT at 12.45pm.
This is a very challenging section of coast path, with very steep climbing sections in places, and the worst section with steps being the final section for all runners between Pentewan and Porthpean. Nonetheless the camaraderie at the bustling checkpoints, support from marshals, the crowd and fellow runners, and legendary afterparty in the barn at the Porthpean Outdoor Centre, make this an annual pilgrimage for any seasoned off-road or fell runner.
I chose the White RAT due to it's distance, but incorporating the most extreme section of coast path, next year I would probably choose a longer distance to incorporate some nicer coast path running too!