The Classic Quarter is a 44 mile coastal run organised by Endurancelife. In the interests of openness, I ran this event in 2013 as my second ultra, but didn’t make it down there in 2014 (my original write up with all the painful bits in is here: http://doarunner.wordpress.com/2013/12/24/cornish-classic-quarter/)
Even through novice eyes, this run was well organised – bus to the start, plenty of info. The race brief got the point across, despite the very loud thunderstorm overhead! It was clear the formula they used was tried and tested. It did feel a little bit commercial though – while many races will be run on a commercial basis, it’s nice to feel some passion too (sorry RD, I’ve no doubt you’re passionate about your races but I’m still annoyed about only getting gels and pink water at the last aid station!).
Say ‘coastal run’ and you may think flat beaches and sunshine. Fool! The route is non-stop short ups and downs for the first and last sections, with a few miles of flat tarmac in the middle. While navigation was in theory simple (keep the sea on your left), there were a few sections where I felt a little bit unsure but hadn’t really been keeping track of my map. I also managed to go wrong on one of the road sections and missed the photographer! Again though, the route made the most of Cornwall’s spectacular scenery and getting to Lands End in time for sunset was well worth the extra time on my feet.
Food and People
The people as ever (both marshals and runners) were mega friendly, and welcoming to a newbie. The aid stations however were disappointing for the (at the time) £60 entry (my basis for comparison was the fellsman with their mega food stocks). The front runners may have had more, but at the back end I was left with some jelly babies, biscuits and gels. Not ideal endurancelife 😦
The route goes a long way to make up for the slightly formulaic aid station/food set up. As ever, everyone was friendly and helpful to a newbie, and there’s a handy pub and ice cream van where the route passes through Penzance so take cash. If you’re already in the South West, this event is well worth having a go at. If you’re further away, it’s a very early start after a long drive, though 1 UTMB point is on offer. Entries for June 2015 are open now at http://www.endurancelife.com/event-new.asp?series=86