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Beacon Beast Marathon – The Bodmin Way!

Updated: Apr 24, 2023

Sunday 16 April 2023 saw the town’s second marathon.

Starting line. Photo credit Mark Rowe.

Tracy Tonkin, donning number 1 on her bib, said: “I enjoyed it so much last year, I was the first to enter this year!”

Phillip Henwood, runner of 100 marathons, said: “This is the nicest one I’ve ever done. It’s my favourite!”

Running his 132nd marathon, Tony Rinaldi said: “It is one of the best.” He added: “It’s not often you get so many good marshals, in the right places, and with smiling faces.”

All three are talking about the Beacon Beast Marathon.

Runners were joined by a pasty at the start!

Just a few hours before, runners set off from Priory Park to take part in the challenging figure of eight course with the finish line outside St Petroc’s Church. The course incorporates Bodmin Way's 21 mile walking route between the historic churches in Bodmin.

Standing on the church banks, participants were heard saying words such as “fun”, “really enjoyed it”, "great route". Passion, commitment and determination were evident to all and these qualities mirror the team who created a marathon for Bodmin.

Cllr Phil Cooper, Bodmin's Mayor, Carolyn, Lady Mayoress and Revd Paul Holley stood ready to present a medal to runners as they crossed the line.

Megan Carrey and Krissy Scott

Champagne flowed when Krissy Scott and Megan Carrey crossed the finish line. Their run raised money for Air Ambulance. The young women chose this charity as we may all need it one day and the charity depends on public funding.

Marc Smerdon with daughter Eden and Sharon Hambley, Race Director

Marc Smerdon, who finished first in last year's Bodmin marathon, said: “It feels good to be first again.” He added: “It’s tougher than other Cornish routes due to its elevation. My personal best for a marathon is 2.42 and today my time is 3.08.”

Standing nearby was Marc's wife. When she was asked how Marc manages to run a marathon in three hours she said: “He does go out running every day.” She added: “He’s just become a father for the second time to Luen who is 11 days old. With sleepless nights he’s tired.”

Watching Eden, Marc’s 2-year-old daughter, running around the church, makes it highly likely that she will follow in her dad’s footsteps.

Jodie Gauld

Jodie Gauld, first women to cross the line, said: “It was a really fun run with the right amount of mud! I ran 15 miles yesterday. Next year I’ll be encouraging other speedy women to run on fresh legs with me.” She also said: “The GPX is spot on but if you do take a wrong turn, it’s good to have ‘bonus miles’!”

Alan Jeffrey and son Harvey

Second man home, Alan Jeffrey, said: “I really like this course. It’s varied and it keeps you on your toes. You’ve got to be vigilant to stay on course which makes it more of an adventure than a road marathon. We’re lucky to have this marathon on our doorstep.”

Tom Trance and Tim Fisher

Tim Fisher takes third spot. It’s his first official event. Tim said: “I ran the length of America, from Mexico to Canada last summer, which was my training for the big Bodmin marathon!”

Melissa King

Melissa King, second woman back, spoke about the wonderful Cornish countryside. “It’s an absolutely beautiful route, with pockets of cottages and lanes. I loved the mud! It was such fun to see the Beast on the beacon. The marshals were great. I’ll do it again.”

Top tip from Melissa, “If you’re only used to road running, this course is a great introduction to trail running.”

Soozie Trice

Soozie Trice took third place this year as she did last year. “I loved it again!” she said.

Slate plaques were presented to the first three men and the first three women to complete the Beacon Beast Marathon.

Runners took a well deserved rest in St Petroc's Church, where a cup of tea does wonders!

Tail runners for the first half

Helen Smith hasn’t run since 2019. “I’ve got my mojo back." she said. She added: “The hills are fruits and although I don’t normally run a route twice, I would do this one again.”

This is another huge success for the Beacon Beast Marathon - The Bodmin Way. For the second time, many local charities will be benefitting from money raised. The plan is to ensure the run is an annual event for Bodmin.

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