Race Preview: THE DARK (Sat. 22nd March, 7.30pm, Cardinham Woods)

This weekend’s main event is the long awaited Mud Crew offering, The Dark, at Cardinham Woods on Saturday. Three hundred runners will compete over two laps of the ‘Bodmin Beast’ mountain bike trail in the dark, with a total prize purse of £500 at stake. The course is technical and steep in parts, with sections labelled ‘Breakneck’ and ‘Switchblade’ on the official trail guide giving some idea of the terrain. Organisers advise that the ground is firming up nicely after the terrible weather we’ve been having, but there will still be tricky spots, and overtaking may prove difficult in places.

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For a full-size map, and guide to Cardinham Woods, download the forestry.gov guide here (pdf).

The sell-out event should be eye-catching for spectators, offering the sight of hundreds of head torches and reflective vests spread out along the trail. Being a lapped course, visitors will see runners at the halfway stage as well as the start and finish line.

At the sharp end, Green Man Ultra winner and third place finisher at The Grizzly, Sarah Morwood (Mud Crew Ultra Team), should cope well with the terrain. Izzy Wykes, fresh from her victory at the Falmouth Half sits this one out, but fellow Mud Crew runner Jane Allison (fifth at The Grizzly) should also be in contention. Both Sarah and Jane will be keen to post a win for the host team. Their strongest challenge may come from Jaz Finney of Bude Rats, who held off Izzy Wykes to win the Cornwall Fire & Rescue Half on very similar terrain in February.

In the men’s race, Nick Lowendhahl (St Austell) should be in the chase, with wins in the VO2 Glow In The Park 10K, and Cornwall Fire & Rescue Half already under his belt. Peter Waumsley (Tamar Trotters) also has a hilly win this season, having completed the tough Looe 10 Miler in 1:04:19 earlier this month. His club-mate and last year’s winner at the Looe 10 Miler Michael Robinson should also place well.

As well as the prize money at stake, the top three men and ladies will take home a unique hand-crafted glow-in-the-dark trophy, made by another race favourite, Kensa Rescorla (fourth at Storm Force 10):

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Race info.

Mud Crew have produced an event guide, which you can download here (pdf). Race HQ will be clearly signposted when you arrive at Cardinham Woods – the race starts at 7.30pm, with registration from 5.00pm

Refreshments by Nomad Weddings will be available including hot food and a bar.