Discovering a new club!
I slept incredibly well at Malcolm’s place – even the copious Chelsea FC memorabilia didn’t unsettle me. Ever the gent, he drove Scott and myself out to Veor RFC so that I could interview Scott and add another club to my ever-growing list.
Rugby clubs are built around individuals like Scott Lake. Recently honoured as Volunteer of the Year by the RFU, Scott became chairman of the club in his 20’s and is involved in literally everything; including helping with some incredible fundraising for local charities. Check out my visit to Veor here.
The next stop would be Redruth – a gentle 4-mile trot to start Day 3. I never run fast, but I start even slower. Gently getting the muscles and joints moving, making sure I don’t over-stretch or over-work tight limbs. As the blood started flowing I was delighted to post a clean bill of health. The foot pain from the previous two days had all but subsided.
Wonderful weather on the way to Redruth
It was another glorious day; the sun beating down and not a wisp of wind. The Redruth town centre was alien to me. Although I’d played at Redruth RFC at least 5 times, I’d never seen the town! The big red gates, however, were very familiar. As was the smiling face of a former opponent – Pete Joyce.
Pete was joined by Peter Flack and another former opponent of mine Craig Bonds. Banter and stories flowed as we reminisced about the days when we used to lace them up and go to war. Check out this tour of Redruth including a visit to Hellfire Corner!
The guys at Redruth were fabulous hosts, offering me isotonic drinks and more protein bars than I could carry. As Pete was driving out he even offered me a lift to Perranporth, but I thought that may be deemed cheating, even though as a member of the front row union, he’d promised not to tell!
What I haven’t mentioned so far is the general terrain. Newsflash – Cornwall is hilly. In my experience so far, the only areas of flat ground are the rugby pitches and even those aren’t all that flat either. The added fatigue to my legs due to the uneven ground was beginning to tell and a tiny piece of me wished I’d taken Pete up on his offer.
As I chugged into Perranporth, I was hit by memories of childhood holidays as kids carried buckets and spades to the beach and the adults sported fresh sunburn. There were ice-creams and candy floss and it was even sunny!
As I took my pack off at Perranporth RFC, I become acutely aware of how much I’d perspired. My bag, my shirt, my shorts and all base layers were literally dripping. Nice. I took some time to recover in the shade (it was getting seriously hot) and even attempted to dry out my clothes on the pitchside railings.
Perranporth RFC, AKA – The Brewers sadly couldn’t muster a member to come and meet me, but I did record this short video detailing some of my reasons for choosing to support mental health charities and a little bit about the club.
The heat was now a huge factor, I’d sucked my hydration bladder dry and was forced to ‘snood-up’ to protect my perfectly bald head from sun damage. I refilled my supplies at the petrol station before heading along some sandy trails.
The route to Newquay appeared straightforward; mostly quiet backroads. However, when I got to the A3075 and looked down the hill into town I aborted my plan almost immediately. This road was not runner-friendly. Especially to a runner that was getting close to completing 60 hilly miles in three days and was feeling about as nimble as a pregnant hippo. I checked the map and realised I would just have to suck up an extra couple of miles to add to my already considerable total.
It was about this time that I noticed I was making fatigue-induced errors. I record all my runs with Strava and I was excited about getting full stats of the entire run. However, I forgot to turn Strava off when I got to Newquay RFC. This meant I had a long section where I averaged 30 miles per hour as my host for the night, Emma Critchley, gave me a lift home! Strava did give me the option of deleting the section where I’d been riding in a car, but to my complete despair, I deleted the wrong bit – mental and physical fatigue!
A short while later the incredibly kind Kevin Oates turned up with my bag which he’d driven to Newquay for me. I thanked Kevin, got the following photo then realised I’d locked myself out. Without any socks or shoes on. And without my phone, I had no way of contacting Emma! Thankfully, she appeared shortly after with the news that I could have just gone through the side gate which is always open. My brain, I was acutely aware, was losing some of its usual function.
I didn’t dwell on it for too long. I couldn’t, I had Emma’s enthusiastic puppy, Doris, to play with. She was a handful! Emma (a friend of a friend) was a remarkable host. Absolutely amazing vegetarian (or was it vegan?) traybake dinner that I honestly could have consumed for breakfast, lunch and dinner for at least a week. She also sorted my bag transport to Lostwithiel the following day and there was even time for a game of scrabble with her housemate.
I was exhausted, but it was such a fun night – I really didn’t want to go to bed!