My running journey only began a few weeks ago and I have just completed my first race, the St. Ives Bay 10K! (read about how it all started here.)
That is a pretty big statement to make considering the little training I have actually got round to, and with not even completing 10K in any of my training runs, it’s surprising I even made it around the 6.2 mile course. And I can even say that I ran the whole way, apart from up ‘The Dune’ which I will tell you about in a minute…
The St. Ives Bay 10K running race starts at Hayle Surf Life Saving club and takes you along the beautiful golden sands to Gwithian where you run across the towans and back along the beach.
This race is organised by Hayle Runners, and I’ve got to say as a newbie to the running race community I thought the whole race was expertly put together. From the seamless registration, to the race start and the cheery marshalling throughout, just the sheer number of runners taking part shows how popular this race is.
The members of Hayle Surf Life Saving club organised a cake sale, BBQ and teas and coffees for the runners and spectators, and with views to die for the setting for this race was unbeatable.
The race itself was not in the slightest bit enjoyable, and by no means did I race. Even though the sun was shining the infamous Cornish winds were well and truly blowing a gale on to the vast expanse of beach which we had to battle with for the first 3 miles.
The race began just on the mid tide beach in front of the surf club and with almost 200 runners lining up on the start line I made sure I didn’t set off at too fast a pace. There were some very serious looking club runners most of which had the running attire to match, so me turning up in a pair of flip flops didn’t look too professional – let it be known that I did change into my trainers before the start…
We were off…
The first 2.75 miles stretched out in front of us and after the first mile on the soft sand I was ready to give up. My running partner left me within the first mile, and all I could make out was a blue vest gradually getting smaller in front of me. I plodded on and Gwithian soon came into focus and before I knew it we made our way around the rocks and up the steps leaving the beach. I was surprised on the half way turn that there were even people behind me as I seemed to be in tunnel vision even forgetting I was part of a larger race.
Once we left the beach the running became easier on the harder paths of the coast path and sand dunes. We made our way along the windy sand dunes and headed inland towards an old mining chimney before looping back out towards the beach to face ‘The Dune’.
Also known as ‘The Terminator’ and ‘Mother Dune’ or ‘Dune Mother’ on Strava it is a well known sand dune for its almost vertical sandy path!
Once I had walked/crawled to the top for a brief second the views across St. Ives and the sunset were appreciated, but this didn’t last for long as I made my quick decent back down on to the beach. The marshals along the whole race were full of encouragement, praise and applause, but after ‘The Dune’ we were even treated to some inspirational music!
The last mile and half on the sand was a struggle, as the many people who had passed before me had churned up the sand making it even more difficult than on the opening stretch. But after what felt like a life time running, and indeed it was the furthest I’ve ever run the finish line gradually began to come closer.
As I approached the finish line I was welcomed in with cheers and a medal strung around my neck, I was pleased to finish within
1 hour 30 minutes 1 hour 15 minutes (just had the official time in!). Although I was later told that the first runners came in just under the 40 minute mark, so I’ve still got a long way to go. All I can say was that the flapjack from the cake stall went down a treat!
If you are thinking of giving a 10K race a go, and the St. Ives Bay 10K is your preferred location then make sure you do lots of running on soft sand to prepare… and if you’ve never given it a go then just imagine running with heavy legs and weights in your trainers.
My running partner is now considering a half marathon in the autumn, and has applied for the London Marathon next year, but I don’t think I’ll be considering any further than a 10K… watch this space!
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