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Magnificent 7...or not!

Round 10 in the Cornish Grand Prix Series and well over halfway through now, Magnificent 7 represents a tough and challenging race through the picturesque country lanes around Saltash in the eastern extremity of Cornwall. Famed for containing 7 hills, though I was personally so tired I didn't count, many runners could be forgiven for not thinking the race was particularly magnificent by the finish line! As is typical for this July race, the weather was warm and muggy on the start line, although thankfully the cloud cover did hold and some welcome rain 40 minutes after the start did bring some relief. The race starts off, rather like the last 3 GP races, with a fast downhill section, but before the first mile is completed, runners are hit with the first major hill. Quite a gruelling climb up a series of switchbacks before the gradient finally levels off. To use my apparently favourite word in these reports, the course is certainly "undulating", with a number of smaller hills over the coming miles all adding up to a significant cumulative ascent. After mile 5 though there is something of a respite and a fairly long fast downhill section, eventually into some nice cool forest by a tranquil lake. Don't be fooled by the optimistic sign exclaiming "It's all downhill from here" though. This sign is brutally fibbing, as in some sort of cruel joke, the final mile is predominantly uphill, initially quite steep once again, before a long uphill drag through housing estates to a final fast flat finish. I was pretty fatigued by the halfway point and started going backwards, but was still pleased to make up one place in the final mile and finish 26th. Next up in the series...probably the fastest half marathon in Cornwall at Indian Queens!

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