Thursday, 1 October 2009

ACC DAY 2 - Perranporth to Hayle

Day 2 promised more of the same just tougher, steeper, more steps and more sand! My recovery from Day 1 had gone well as I stood on the start line at Perranporth feeling fresh and up for the new challenge that lay ahead. There was a definite buzz today after yesterdays run as everyone seemed well into their groove and up for giving it a good go.

Just after we started the gentle climb up from the start line I bumped into Danny from the RW forum - good to meet you finally!
The organisers had warned of a gate shortly after the start which as predicted caused a major bottleneck as you can see... Damn! This played havoc with my average pace meaning that I was playing catch up for most of the day. This probably worked out well though as I pressed forward with extra vigour.
The scenery throughout the Challenge was stunning but particularly on the 2nd day, although you never had too much time to fully appreciate it, something I told a passing walker much to their amusement.
The ascents on Day 2 were shorter but far steeper. One captured here is the sharp climb up from Saily’s Bottom with Gullyn Rock on the left hand side. This climb was a real killer which was definitely not for running as one needed to conserve as much energy as possible to be capable of running again once reaching the top!

Once at the top the route levelled out and I could pick up the pace again. The scenery was fantastic on this stretch near Portreath including this structure pictured below (any guessers for its use??)

Towards the end of this part of the costal path was the biggest staircase on the whole challenge which went straight up to the top of Gooden Heane Point. On approach to it certainly looked very daunting!

But as with all these things... slow and steady was the order of the day. Once at the top the view was well worth it across Gooden Heane Cove with Horse Rock (middle of picture) and Gull Rock (far right). Impressive stuff!

From here the path flattened out and so speed was again the order of the day taking in Western Cove and going along the Reskajeage Downs and the North Cliffs.

Western cove

North Cliffs

This stretch was the best surface on the entire path so I gave it my all, and tried to keep a runner who I had seen on the horizon along this entire stretch in my sights to keep me going. By this point the sun was beating down and it was getting extremely hot. I’d failed to pack any sun tan lotion but got lucky as I passed some competing walkers on the challenge and asked if they had any. They did, so thank you very much whoever you are!

Then it was around Navaz Point with Godrevy Island in the background with the lighthouse. The couple who took this photo asked in bemusement what was going on and why there were so many runners about. I’m not sure they quite believed my answer when I told them what we were doing.

Just after this was the final main checkpoint of the day before the descent on to St Ives Bay sands which was a 3 mile stretch of golden sands to pretty much complete the day. I had been looking forward to this part all day as the beach which lies just in front of where we were staying for the weekend was stunning. And so despite my tired legs I enjoyed every second of it soaking up the sun (and sweat).

St Ives Bay sands

After the beach there was just the small matter of navigating around Hayle Towans to the final checkpoint, and back through the town (where I mistakenly added an additional hill I didn't have to! doh...) I then finally reached the finished at St Ives Holiday Bay in a time of 4hrs26mins completing 24.55miles and placing 11th for the day. Result!

I treated myself to a massage straight after which I figured was well deserved and would help recovery for the final big push on Day 3 from Lelant to Lands End.... gulp...

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