The second race in the 2017/18 Cornish Multi-Terrain Race Series (MTRS), the Lanhydrock 10 is arguably one of the toughest. The route follows a tortuous lap of the attractive Lanhydrock Estate, taking runners around some fantastic undulating hilly countryside. Yes hilly. By the end of the race, all runners had no doubt about that. In complete contrast to the first race of the season at Tywardreath, the race took place in beautiful early Autumn sunshine with a cooling breeze blowing through the trees as warm sunshine beat down.
The race starts with a gentle uphill towards the main house, before runners turn left past the small crowds, take in another slight uphill, before turning left again and taking in a long downhill. A real chance to pick up speed, but everyone knew they were losing a lot of elevation. That means only one thing. At some point, all that elevation lost would have to be gained again.
In fact it wasn't long before that happened, with a long uphill drag back up to the estate house followed by a further uphill to near the top of the estate. What goes up though, must come down again. You can see a theme developing here. In fact this second downhill was quite muddy lower down and even in trail shoes, I found myself slipping, sliding and drifting wide on some of the bends.
The middle section of the race offers a rare respite however. A decent section, around a couple of miles of relatively flat running where you can start to build up some rhythm, with only a few gentle undulations. There is a particularly nice section along by the river, including some pretty bridges to cross.
However this is a bit like the lull before the storm. There's no hiding the fact the river is at the bottom of the estate, yet the finish line is at the top. Quite a lot higher up in fact. A gruelling hill follows, around a mile long, never particularly steep but long. So long you think it can't possibly go on much further. Finally you emerge out of the trees, wiggle around a bit on a crazy track, then head for home.
Or so you think. You get tantalisingly close, you can even see the finish line on the right. But then you are directed left. The heart sinks. There's still more to do. At this point, the winner, Simon Williams, was just turning into the finish straight. I ended up finishing around three and a half minutes behind him so that was the length of this extra loop, at my pace anyway.
Back down towards the start you go, before turning right, then right again onto some rough grass followed by slippery mud. There's no need for that at this stage. Once that is cleared though, it's back onto the road for a sprint to the line!
A really tough race but run with great atmosphere and followed by the annual 2016/17 MTRS prize giving, with plenty of awards for Falmouth Road Runners. It was worth going along, I think...