Round 2 of the Cornish Grand Prix Series 2018, the Newquay 10K is one of the faster 10K routes in Cornwall and home to many Cornish runners' PBs, including mine. As a result, it is an extremely popular race and sold out months in advance this year. Typical of the grand prix races run by Newquay Road Runners, the race has many attractions which draw in the crowds, including a nice Cornish-themed finishing medal and an item of clothing worth keeping as a memento. This year's was a nice light-weight long-sleeve running shirt. New for this year was the introduction of a timing chip in each racing number, although ultimately it transpired that some runners ended up with a seemingly incorrect chip time at the end...
Winter was biting hard as we lined up on the start line just down the road from the Tretherras School playing fields, as a breezy north-easterly wind blew in a proper wintry chill from Russia. Once up and running though, it wasn't long before everyone started to warm up.
The start of the race is fast, downhill along the road, past several roundabouts, then a long flat section where runners were guided across the road following marshal's instructions. All good so far you may think, but then suddenly runners are directed onto a gravelly track to the right, which climbs fairly steeply uphill. The gradient briefly levels out, as runners pass a farm on a muddy track, before emerging onto the road again to continue to climb uphill. This hill saps the energy and really makes you think that actually this isn't really a PB course at all, and a flat city 10K would be much faster.
Runners are eventually directed to the left to form the start of a loop which will eventually curve back round and head for home at the halfway point. The road continues to climb though, albeit at an easier gradient, until eventually runners are directed to the right to start the descent. Finally the chance to get some good speed back up!
Around halfway down this descent, you join the outbound route, giving faster runners the chance to offer encouragement to runners still slogging it up the hill. A bright February sun shone in our faces, illuminating the bare muddy fields, but the bracing north-easterly buffeted our faces, making progress back down the hill less enjoyable than it should have been.
However, the Newquay 10K has one last sting in the tail. After returning along the long flat section, the last mile climbs back up the hill that we had the pleasure of running down at the start. It really isn't welcome at this stage either. Runners muster all the energy they can to manage a sprint finish alongside the school playing fields.