12th August 2017, Saturday

Nerve-shredding, tedious, repetitive, never-ending ... but enough about David Monge Garcia's musical choices on the car journey down to St Austell, we're here to talk about the RAT (Roseland August Trail). This is a series of easy-peasy races along the South Cornwall section of the coast path - 64 miles (The Plague), 32 miles (The Black Rat), 20 miles (The Red Rat) and the kiddies race of 11 miles (The White Rat). With more steps than Andrew Wooff's CD collection, these fun runs are not for the faint-hearted. Or those with a full set of marbles.

Above: The Plague elevation profile. Also the type of structure you feel like throwing yourself onto as you approach the last four miles.

First up in The Plague was mad Catalanian David Monge Garcia, who took on the 64 mile race (which started at midnight!) from Porthpean to St Anthony Head and back on only half an hour's sleep. Alas, it was not to be for the ageing foreigner as a knee injury flared up and he retired after seventeen miles.

Next it was the turn of Mary 'Speak up we can't hear you' Menon and Joe 'Dan' Murdoch, who boarded the bus to St Anthony Head for the start of The Black Rat at 7am. Mary naturally beasted the course, finishing third overall and first lady home in 05:04:00. There was almost a photo-finish, but Mary broke the tape ahead of her nearest female rival by an ultra-slim margin of fifty minutes. Joe 'Dan' Murdoch ended up eight minutes behind Mary in seventh position overall on 05:11:40.

The rest of the IRC crew took on the rather more leisurely (not!) twenty mile 'Red Rat' course. Dan 'Joe' Mackenzie led the way home, finishing in twelfth position overall in 03:36:30. There was more success for the Ilfracombe ladies though as Becky Williamson finished as the third lady overall in twenty-fourth position, her time being 03:47:55. Pete 'Which way?' Westmacott amazingly completed the entire course without getting lost and finished in 04:34:02, while Mary's mentor Mike 'Coach' Robinson finished the course in 04:40:40.

The last survivor was Peter 'Not Pete' Addison who blundered over the finish line in 06:31:02. Said Peter 'The only thing that kept me going over those final four hellish miles was the thought of my fellow club members cheering and clapping as I ran over the finish line. Happily, they did not disappoint, and I was moved to tears ... mainly because my nipples were bleeding again. I think they were there but I was too knackered. Wait ... there were some people in blue, definitely. What day is it? Can I sit down now? I don't feel very well.'

Once everyone had recovered their sanity a pleasant evening was had by IRC runners and non-runners alike, sipping cider, beer and whiskey, watching for shooting stars and paying the kids 50p a time to make lots of noise around a 'sleeping' David's tent. Until next time, RAT fans!

Nick Marsh made the gravy too thick while preparing Sunday lunch for his family.