On Sunday 13 March, runners from across Cornwall and the country, gathered in the carpark of Ships and Castles leisure centre to run the 13.1 miles of the Falmouth Half Marathon.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the race is notoriously hilly, including hills such as Swanpool, Maenporth, Roscarrack, Pennance, and Pendennis (to name a few). With over 1000 ft of elevation, this is a race that leaves runners vowing “never again” or cursing Cornwall’s hills. It is, in hindsight, a rewarding run however, with money raised for Cornwall Hospice Care, plenty of support from locals along the route, and some of Falmouth’s lesser-known lanes to be explored.
The race last ran (non-virtually) in March 2020, just before the first lockdown. I remember it being a classically Cornish day of mizzle and overcast sky. This year, the weather was surprisingly warm and bright with a cooling breeze to whip away the sweat of 13 miles, or dry the feet of those who ran through the middle of the flooded road at No Man’s Land (still there two years later).
I was marshalling with my mum and our dog at around 7.5 miles in, on the corner of the hill leading to Penwarne Road. We’d arrived at the race HQ nearly two hours before the beginning of the race at 8 AM to collect high-viz vests (not the first time I’d worn one that weekend after parkrun on Saturday), to find the carpark of Ships and Castles completely packed with keen runners. The marshal who approached the car to tell us this also mentioned there were at least 600 people taking part this year.
After collecting our kit, my mum and I headed out to our marshalling spot to await the first runners and direct them up yet another hill. Around 39 minutes after the race began at 10 AM, the frontrunner came into view led by a cyclist on an electric bike. A steady stream of runners passed us over the next hour as we cheered them on, and my dog barked incessantly at them. Despite the tough route, everyone looked strong and positive as they passed the halfway mark and began heading back towards Falmouth. A special mention has to go to the man running in Crocs, and the student runners from the university. At around quarter to twelve, the final runner came through proceeded by a four-by-four blaring Avicii’s Wake Me Up from a stereo strapped to its roof. The course record of 1.14.28 was just missed by two minutes, meaning it still stands from 2019.
Although I love running and felt particularly jealous of all the runners taking part this year, marshalling is also an extremely rewarding experience (not just because you get to eat cake and watch people run up hills from the comfort of the side of the road).
Well done to all 599 people who took part, and all the organisers and volunteers who made Run Falmouth possible for another year!