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  • Writer's pictureJay Grady

Episode 5 - South West Traverse.

For episode 5, as we were both competitors we thought we'd do a race special on the inaugural MudCrew Events South West Traverse ultramarathon!

For those who aren't aware of it we (Tris and Jay) live in a bit of a trail running mecca, the rocky, rugged county of Cornwall in the far south west of the UK. Storm beaten by the atlantic weather systems in the winter and baked warm weather from the south in the summer, it really is place of contrasts. Even the north and south facing coastlines can differ vastly, and so therefore so does the running.

Trail running here has been growing in popularity for the past decade (check out episode 2 for a potted history) and one of local race organisers MudCrew Events held a brand new race at the end of May 2021.

Starting at the most southerly tip of the UK mainland and following the coastal path 44 miles to the most westerly point at Land's End the course undulates with over 6500 feet of vertical gain through rocky coves and bluffs, through fishing villages and the town of Penzance before heading into the rugged mostly unpopulated 12 miles leading to the finish. If things go wrong in the final 12 miles the most probable way out for an injured runner is a rescue helicopter, such is the nature of the terrain.

So as we were participating we thought it would be fun to do a special episode with the first half discussing how we had prepared and how we thought our race might go and the second half of the episode covering how it actually went. Would our race prep and strategies stand up under the pressure of a race in a place with notoriously changeable weather, the locals will tell you 'if you don't like the weather outside, just wait 15 minutes'!

If things go wrong...the most probable way out for an injured runner is a rescue helicopter!"

Race Day

The forecast for Sunday May 30 was sun, lots of it and 10 mph winds, mostly as a tailwind. This course is almost logically split into four, 11 miles sections. Rocky coves devoid of humans save for a few cliff top houses, followed by steeper more populated sections with stretches of beach before an almost 10 mile section of tarmac and town before leaving all of that behind and heading into the wild and rocky stretch to the finish at Land's End.

MudCrew held this year's race as essentially a soft launch due to the Covid restrictions before they increase the number and range of entries from just solo and relay pairs, to teams of 4 relay runners. There's a rumour that 2022 might even involve an 88 out and back, running the entire route twice!! A frightening proposition, taking on the last 12 miles on legs that have covered 76 miles will not be for the fainthearted!

So how did it go?

Join us for episode 5 of Trail and Error to hear how we got on... one thing's for certain, things didn't go entirely to plan!

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