I peered out of the window at the incessant drizzle. A light film of rain was slowly soaking everything and my heart warmed. The first four days of The Great Rugger Run had been a story of hills and heat which had seriously depleted the energy tanks. Today’s 19 miles would be flat and cooled by fine rain. I couldn’t wait!
I rolled out of bed and grabbed the T-Shirt and shorts that my hosts had lent me. There was a time when Nellie Bayliss and I were about the same size but all this running has led me to lose a few pounds (careless, I know). I put on the shorts and T-shirt, looked in the mirror and immediately felt like I was a kid again wearing my brother’s hand-me-downs for the first time.
Nelly and Suzi had been fabulous hosts thus far, organising all kinds of things on my behalf, providing amazing grub and being wonderful company. I hobbled into the kitchen and Suzi immediately thrust a bacon and spinach wrap in my hand before driving me all the way back to Wadebridge to start today’s run. What a star!
Mapping my runs with Footpath
I use an app called Footpath to map out my runs. I had gotten into the habit of speaking to my hosts each night to gain some local insight before plotting out my route before bed. I had used Mike’s recommendations and I was very happy with my planned route along the Camel Trail, past Bodmin Jail and Lanhydrock House to Lostwithiel.
I set out from The Camels clubhouse and headed east, up the hill towards Sladesbridge. I enjoy a bit of uphill at the start of my runs. The incline forces me to run slower, have a shorter stride length and I find I warm up much quicker. All of which is good to get the body flowing and reduce injury risk.
The Camel Trail
My plan was to hook a right and get down onto the Camel Trail as soon as possible. I followed the route I’d mapped out but I couldn’t find the path I had earmarked. I wandered about for a bit looking confused until a farmer strolled by. I enquired whether the path I was looking for existed. He said it did but he wouldn’t recommend it – not even in wellys! So, I headed back out to the main road and would have to join the Camel Trail later – adding another mile to my day’s tally.
The Camel Trail (a former train line) is a wonderful leisure space. A tree-lined wonderland for runners and cyclists. With amazing place names, like Grogley Halt along the way, I was never short of amusement. The trail was flat, if not slightly downhill, and the fatigue of the previous days ebbed away as I strode purposefully towards Bodmin.
Check out my little video from Bodmin RFC…
Back on the trail and the miles were flying by. This was the first time I would be sleeping in the same bed two nights in a row which meant zero logistics for me to be concerned with. I passed the stunning Lanhydrock House (thanks, Mike for the tip) and found myself careering down leaf-covered trails. I was absolutely flying and I had a huge grin on my face – this is why I love running!
My lovely hosts run Nelly’s Pasties and Pies in Lostwithiel, and I stopped in on the way home to pick up my post-run snack from Suzi…
Well, that conversation got out of hand very quickly!
With a hot pie in my backpack, I headed off for the final 6 miles of the day back to The Bayliss’s place out in the country lanes. There were a couple of brutal hills to negotiate but I got back just as the sun was setting over the fields. The rain had stopped and I sat on the steps and tucked into my well-earned Steak and Cheese Pie.