|Looking like a prize dork at the start|
The Duchy Marathon, organized by Cornwall Athletic Club, is in its 37th year. There have been a few different courses over the years but the current one starts and finishes at the Penventon Park Hotel in Redruth. First heading to Pool the route follows a two lap circuit taking in Illogan, joining the coast road just West of Portreath and heading along North Cliffs before returning to Pool along scenic country lanes. A final stretch skirts round Redruth and finishes back at the hotel.
The forecast was for a cold, overcast but dry day and that is what we got. Saturday was very still but an easterly breeze had picked up overnight; oh well, can't have everything.
As the minutes ticked on we gathered in the car park, ready for the start. I stupidly forgot to set my Garmin to locate and was still waiting for satellite reception when the gun went off and we all piled out onto the road.
With easterlies blowing the first few miles were fairly sheltered and the run along North Cliffs was very pleasant, easy really. As soon as we turned back however, we got a sharp blast in the face for a mile or so until the country lanes gave us some shelter further inland. There is a big hill at mile 10 (and 22) which was not entirely welcome but soon fell behind us.
On lap two everything was going well until about 18 miles in when I got a sudden cramp in my right thigh. I managed to stretch it out and got going again but from there on in my pace began to slow. I crossed the line in 4 hours 13 minutes. Not too bad for a first timer; I was happy with that.
Chocolate, bananas and pasties were all provided at the finish, as well as a very attractive medal. I'd been looking forward to the pasty for miles, but when it came to it I couldn't face it. The pint of Tribute in the hotel bar seemed to slip down OK though.
A special word has to go to the Marshalls and Army (cadets?) helpers. Throughout the race they were friendly, helpful and encouraging, despite the biting winds which must have left them frozen to the bone.
You won't see crowds of supporters lining the streets at the Duchy and most of the entrants are club runners so don't be too surprised if the average times are somewhat faster than is usual for a big city marathon. That said, if you are looking to set a fast time then this is also probably not the flattest and certainly not the most sheltered course you could choose from. But it is a well organised event in a beautiful location and well worth a look. I'll certainly be back.