race report

Muskies Madne5.5 Report

On the 24th of May a total of 145 runners tackled Plymouth Musketeers’ “Muskies Madne5.5” race, a demanding 5.5 miles of undulating multi-terrain starting from the Musketeers’ club house in King’s Tamerton, routing through Ham Woods and back up to the club house.

This is the second year this event has taken place and this year all profits will be going to Mill Ford School.

The runners may have found the numerous “little inclines” challenging, but hopefully the burgers and cake available back at the club house will have provided a welcome post-race reward.

Pete Waumsley of the Tamar Trotters won the race with a new course record of 31:52, followed by Neal Russell in 33:10, and Thomas Humphrey of the Plymouth Harriers in 33:56.

Charlene Shorey was first lady in 36:44, closely followed by Ellie Sutcliffe of Exmouth Harriers in 36:54 and Cleo Andrews of Erme Valley Harriers in 37:16.

Full results >>>

A big thank you to all the volunteers, marshals, sponsors, supporters and runners. We hope to see you again next year!

Some nice things people have been saying about the Muskies Madne5.5:

Ken Kingston does Anglesey

Endurance life Anglesey 18/01/2014

Well that was interesting …thought I was reasonably fit and marathon ready but Anglesey gave me a spanking good and proper. An amazing route over Holyhead mountain heading south along the coast before looping back on itself to face the big lump of rock again. The thing that made it live up to its name as an endurance event however was the conditions … it was a proper mudfest! Those of you familiar with the meadow in Plymvalley Parkrun might be able to put it into context if I say think of the meadow at its muddiest and it was like 15 miles of that … And that was the easy bit!

Setting off today in rain which was a feature of over half the race, my feet were soaking within the first few minutes, a couple of miles of gradual uphill to the foot of Holyhead mountain and then the 500 ft climb which ensued. The first checkpoint was at the other side of the mountain at mile 4. I seriously considered how much of a wuss I would look if I pulled out at that point. Let’s just say I wasn’t feeling the love. And so it continued until about mile 14/15. Legs like lead trying to extricate my feet from the mud which dominated coastal path.

I think at that stage I had a revelation, stop trying to fight it and just go with the flow and enjoy it for what it was. The second half of the race whist certainly no easier, seemed to slip by … a bit of walking and chatting and a bit of running … Happy days, until the slog up and over Holyhead hill faced me again ( treated with some gusto I may add, even managing the equivalent of a sprint up the final section of road/track leading up to the hill). It was then nicely rounded off with a mile and a half of downhill scrambling/running/trying to say upright back to the finish.

The end result 27.2miles in 5hrs41min, suitably tired limbs and a big grin (ish). Plenty of scope to improve on my time, ideally with better conditions underfoot. So would I recommend it to anyone else? … Hell yeah!!!

Looking forward to the next Endurance Life marathon at South Devon already

Tavistock Half Marathon – 24/03/2013

A strong team of Musketeers triumphed in the Tavistock Half, despite strong head winds.

27th was Guy in 1h32m 2nd in age category, 40th Eroy 1.36 and 17 in age, 61st Craig F in personal best 1.42 25th in age, 79th Chris W 1.46 80th Jenny K 1.47 4th in age, Claire Squires 1.55, 136th ,Sarah H 1.56 4th in age, 139 Jane H 1.57, 3rd in age, 157 Sharon Stevens (ex Muskie) 2.04 6th in age, 158 Bob C 2.04 1st in age, 176 Sam G 2.08 personal best.

This was a very good set of results with personal bests and high age category results and everyone is to be congratulated.

The race is generally well organised except it was let down before the start by the lack of race numbers. This led to long queues for those who registered by post and had to have their chips marked with a number by felt tip. Therefore, those who joined on the day could do so very fast.

Another consequence of the numbers was lack of obvious visual identity so the commentator could not call out
names as they entered the finishing circuit of the Tavistock College running track which meant a lack of atmosphere. Though of course, the Muskies stayed in force to applaud their colleagues in true team spirit.

The course is not an obvious one for fast times, having about one mile of hill half way through and a long road into a head wind for about three miles. The route takes the runners along a spectacular high viaduct overlooking the town, new to many non-Tavistock residents.

By Guy

Dig Deep 10k – 10/03/2013

Plymouth Musketeers made a strong showing the first event of the first ever Dig Deep series – this month’s 10km at Sibleyback Lake.

72 runners finished which was pretty encouraging for the Dig Deep team as the weather was terrible, strong freezing winds with rain and hail were enough to deter runners from making the longish trip to a remote race.

So only the tough got going to dig deep into their stamina, fitness and determination. Tough Musketeers included first home for the club in a very impressive 13th was Martin French in 41.07, 2nd Muskie was Guy Boswell in 24th in 43.37 and third Muskie in 39th was Ken Kingston in 50min.

The weather can only get better for the Dig Deep next series of 5km races and September’s 10km, not to forget the triathlons. For those keen enough to trial the new race it was a worthwhile challenge and I forecast many more runners will be attracted to a spectacular location and a great route which should appeal to those who
want an intro to trail races.

Sibleyback Lake is high up on Bodmin Moor, near Minions village, Liskeard area. Despite the remote site, the facilities are luxurious compared with many off-road runs, boasting indoor changing, showers, under-cover registration, toilets excellent café with home made food and friendly staff.

The race was well organised with good marshalling and pre-race briefing. The route is easy underfoot and basically a level trail surface twice round the lake.

Scenery varies from twisting puddly, firm woodland where you have to watch your feet on slippery tree roots, to soft to firm loose surface where you can run with more confidence and even admire the scenery. Two laps of the lake means you do get the chance to get familiar with the circuit and push on for a fast finish – even with a gale in your face.

Most runners were slower by about two minutes than their average 10km due to the conditions. But it was a very good event all round and we even received an
early Easter egg in the goody bag and a medal.

By Guy

Bideford Half Marathon – 03/03/2013

A flying quartet of Musketeers were successful in the Bideford Half with Vic, Lucy, Craig and Guy flying the flag in N.Devon.

Small in numbers, but not lacking in quality — from Lucy’s long legged stride to Vic’s rubber-burning starts and Craig’s lung-bursting finish.

Having run with him I at least know Craig’s efforts were rewarded with a fantastic PB. But not sure about the others. The course is renowned for PBs which is surprising considering there are flatter courses at Cardiff, Bath, Exeter and Bristol for instance. Maybe the secret is in the lay-out which is ideal for Musketeers who train for negative splits – faster second halves and on hills.

The course begins in a tightly packed crowd with the field only thinning out about a mile later when we sadly had to pass Lucy. The route is very pretty on a wide gently undulating road above a wide river which proves a welcome distraction from the running sometimes, as does a special bagpipe band

This was probably the coldest start in the race’s 19-year history which took everyone by surprise. There was a scramble in kit bags for long-sleeved shirts before the start. At least after the first hill we were warmed up considerably and it was easier then to get into a regular breathing and running rhythm.

Now was time for Craig to crank up the gears and consistently over take those running ‘targets’ in front. It is sooo easy to run at the pace of the surrounding pack. Overtaking also gives you a shot of adrenalin and confidence – especially when it is Vic. But it took us an amazing five miles.

Once over the river bridge, not long after half-way we came down to the canal and onto the Tarka trail, a more or less flat cycle and walking route. This is where Craig injected a surge of pace and settled into it until he felt comfortable – though he might dispute the comfort…

However, his leadership seemed to inspire others to tack onto him and a small ‘peleton’
formed with non-Muskies tagging on. The pace settled at about 7min 30sec until about three miles from the finish when the interlopers dropped off the hot pace.

The only danger of running on a straight flat path is that it feels unrelenting and can lead to a lack of concentration. This is when mind games kick in and you start spotting more running ‘targets’ and looking forward to lunch as distraction.

After exiting the spookily dark tunnel (which did not take us into the bowels of the earth) we maintained the pace for a while until Craig slightly slowed. But still managed to push on past the old railway carriage café and then into town across Bideford’s splendid river bridge and cheered along the quayside to a famous finish.

I saw Vic and Lucy finish and they may also have PBs. But whatever the times, deserve credit for finishing strongly on a race where you can’t help but give your all due to the fast finish.

By Guy

Mount Edgecumbe 10 Miles – 27/01/2013

Plymouth Musketeers aquitted themselves well in this year’s Mount Edgecumbe ten-mile race in SE Cornwall.

Running for their queen, county and club were Guy B who finished in 1.19 (4th veteran male) 12th overall. Lucy S – 1h 51, 15th senior female and 66th overall, Sarah H – 1h 51 8th vet female and 67th overall, Pip D – 2h 51, 13th vet female and 81st overall, Kath WG – 2h 51, 22nd senior female and 80th overall.

This was a gritty show by the Musketeers on a tough multi-terrain course and shows we are more than road-running club and are not afraid to get our shoes dirty.

Those Musketeers who ran the first of these Devon V Cornwall ten-mile races knew what they were letting themselves in for. This was the second year of the two-race series of the inter-country duel. And this year the extra rain made the going even tougher. But you know who gets going when the going gets tough…

In true Muskie tradition Sarah and Lucy supported each other round and Kathy and Pip the same.

This is a mainly trail race which are normally fairly easy to run on, but the added rain created slippery and quite treacherous conditions, especially when the paths dissolved into true rural tracks.

The weather was perfect and the route challenging, but rewarding, taking you headlong down the steep grassy slope from Edgecumbe House (a prize awarded for the first to the bottom) and along the coast (with fantastic views across the Sound and beyond) to Cawsand, via

Maker Church heights and down again through the deer park of Edgecumbe and returning up the steep bank to Edgecumbe House.

Along the way are well trodden muddy steps, narrow paths, muddy field edges with sheer drops on one side and later in the race the relief of country roads and village streets and forest trail.

There is little time to gather breath except one straight road section, it is undulating with two long uphill sections.

If you run for Devon you wear a green race number and white if for Cornwall – Devon won this time round with the Muskies doing their bit for this victory.

With diminishing entry numbers it is hoped this fantastic event will continue as there are few multi-terrain races so close to Plymouth, from where the biggest entry originated.

The only negative aspect was the route signage which was ambiguous, not helped by too few marshals. And the prizes are nothing to boast about. But that is not why we put ourselves through these challenges.

By Guy Boswell

Chris Reason Charity Run, 5 Feb 2012

A bunch of merry runners from Plymouth Musketeers paid tribute to Chris Reason, formerly of Frank Elford Sports shop who died young last year despite his fitness.

Proceeds from the Chris Reason Tribute Run were donated to help support his young family. As result the event was in celebration of his life and role in helping runners of all ages and abilities and less of a race, more of a cross-country fun run, although the terrain was testing and muddy.

Sunday’s run reflected the celebration with runners in fancy dress in a cheery mood from across the spectrum of age, experience and ability.

This resulted in the bizarre sight of a large crowd of Noddies, leprechauns and fairies trudging round the mud and shrieking oggy, oggy, oggy, oi, oi, oi, throughout the route round Newnham Park, Plymouth.

Local residents, dog walkers on a peaceful stroll, the natural wildlife and serious looking off-road bikers were all wide-eyed in amazement at the colourful and rowdy sight. Indeed we obviously disturbed some people badly deep in dingly dell because the woods rang with the sound of shotguns alarmingly close.

In true team spirit most of the Musketeers ran together in solidarity. Sam, Donna, Robin (her first ever race), Kate, Sarah, Sharon, Chris Andrews, Doug, Kev, Robin, Guy, Neil and Dave, Caroline.

There were some who preferred a faster pace however, with Maggie the fairy forming a break away group, while Dave, Guy and a hung-over Neil led the way and ran back to encourage the larger contingent to the finish – only to find Chris A had beaten us all back.

‘All for one and one for all’ – except Mr Andrews! He, He.

Finally, we were all chuffed to bits to survive the shooting and terrain and to receive a mini running shoe as a momento at the finish. All in all a very fitting event in memory of Chris, with the Musketeers throwing themselves into the party spirit.

By Guy

January Jaunt, 8 Jan 2012

Jane, Nicole, Michelle, Mark, Chris, Guy, Kate, Margaret, Donna, Voirey, Tracey and Lorraine made up the Musketeer racing squad for the January Jaunt ten km.

Fresh from festive excesses the elite team were off the starting line like whippets to scorch round the course, from Plympton, along the River Plym and through Saltram and return on the same route.

The mild winter meant most of us were far fitter than last year, give or take a few extra pounds from too much foraging.

As a result most of us were pleased with our times. Some target times were reached, some only closely missed and some exceeded which is very good for morale and amounts to a sprint into the New Year and promises some good race results ahead.

The race began in the speedway circuit and ran over the wobbly railway bridge down along the riverside through the woods and up the long steepish hill past Saltram House and then return along the same route.

Very little of it is level or even of the same gradient for very long and two thirds is a trail run – for some that might have been their first trail run – a less rugged version of cross-country.

It was hard therefore, to get into any sort of breathing and leg and arm rhythm which makes it more of a testing race than most of that distance. But all very good to test your pace and determination.

We all got a finishers medal, although a rather underwhelming design for all that effort. But a fantastic run was had by every Musketeer (possibly the biggest club entry) and all should be proud of themselves.

By Guy