An old favourite, but a new course, the Great Flat Lode returned for 2018 as a fairly fast multi-terrain 10K. The route circles the iconic granite mass of Carn Brea, starting and finishing at the King Edward Mine, near Troon. Despite the milder weather of recent days, a gusty south-easterly wind blowing off a cold sea made it feel really nippy on the start line. It was a case of keeping warm and wrapped up until the last minute, then stripping off into the racing vest and jogging to the start.
The first couple of miles are predominantly uphill, never steep, but it is quite a long drag and the easterly headwind also made the going a little tougher than it could have been. A horse rider added extra excitement within the first half mile, as the lead runners all backed up behind the shying horse, before horse and rider finally made it off onto a side path and the race was back on.
The middle section of the race was really fast, with long sections at a gentle downhill or flat gradient, on gravel path or tarmac, easily within the realm of both road or trail shoes. As runners contour along the eastern then northern slopes of Carn Brea, there also fine views out to the north towards the distant choppy sea and and an attractive valley directly below.
Towards the end of the fast flat section though, I personally got confused as to the way to go and lost at least 10 seconds dithering between taking either a gravel track or small footpath. This lost me valuable ground to the 5th placed runner but fortunately I held him off until the finish. Although a charity race, it could have benefited from a few more marshals placed in more strategic positions.
The race does have a late sting in the tail in the final mile, involving a very steep 60m ascent on a tarmac path. I was being chased by 5th place, therefore pushed on and managed to hang on running up the whole thing. I was rather hanging by the top. The rest of the race though is brilliant, a nice fast downhill section of trail to the finish in a muddy field.
Overall, a really enjoyable 10K and a nice potential future addition to the Cornish Multi-Terrain Race Series to replace the Trelissick 10K or 5 Tors if it doesn't return next year.