The Human Race Festival of Sport 2012 came to a close yesterday at St Michael’s Mount, Marazion, West Cornwall, having delivered a fantastic three days of sporting events and entertainment for over 3,000 thousand visitors.
The festival was a unique celebration of sport based around four core disciplines; cycling, running, open water swimming and triathlon, with the aim of encouraging participants to take on the challenging and stunning terrain of Cornwall.
With participants travelling from all around the country to take part, the caliber of athlete at the front end was strong. Saturday’s schedule kicked off with the Cycle West Sportives. Three distances were on offer, a 40km women-only Cycletta as well as 100km and 150km sportives. The routes were all challenging with frequent and steep climbs across the Cornish landscape.
Amongst the participants in the 150km sportive was ex-Arsenal and England defender, Lee Dixon, who took on the 150km bike ride.
Dixon spoke fondly of the event: “It was a fantastic route; I’ve cycled in Cornwall quite a lot, but that route took in pretty much every climb in Cornwall and in my view tougher than the Dragon Ride. It was great fun and I have to say a superbly organized event.”
The much anticipated open water sea swims were next up. The 3km and 10km courses started with a dive off of the causeway, usually a crossing to St Michael’s Mount, before circumnavigating the Mount and heading west in the direction of the Penzance shoreline. Large crowds gathered at the Swim Finish to cheer the 400 swimmers home. 1.5km and 3km races were completed on both Saturday and Sunday offering competitors the flexibility in selecting their race schedules for multiple events across the weekend.
For many at the Festival it was the Beach Runs that provided truly memorable moments as Olympic Gold medallist, Helen Glover was on hand to offer some words of encouragement before officially starting the races. With scenes reminiscent of Chariots of Fire, competitors ran down the beach in great numbers, starting in the walls of the mount and there was a clear mix of abilities. Potential future stars of athletics were also on show as children between the ages of 4 and 11 lined up for the 800m beach fun run, again started by Olympic hero Glover.
Speaking after setting off the 5km and 10km Beach Runs, Glover said: “The Olympic and Paralympic Games have been such a celebration of sport in the UK and it’s been wonderful to see that energy continuing down here at The Festival of Sport. The range of activities on offer is really impressive and it’s great to see so many people getting active here on the Cornish coastline where I have lived and trained for many years.”
After a competitive first day, Sunday morning was the turn of the Triathletes. Sprint, Olympic and Half-Iron distances were completed by over 500 athletes along-side the hotly contested Footy Anstey Corporate Team Relay Challenge.
The Swim leg commenced with a mass start for each distance from Mount’s Bay beach. Competitors then made their way into the Festival Hub to transition and embarked on the cycle leg into Cape Cornwall, including Penzance and St Ives. The run leg saw competitors make their way along the seafront before heading through the town of Marazion, cheered on by supporters who lined the streets in great number.
Also on the programme were sporting activities of a more relaxed nature such as Touch Rugby, Beach Volleyball and Gig Rowing – a traditional Cornish sport. The many children in attendance were well entertained throughout the weekend, with many of them sporting elaborate face painting designs whilst participating in the very popular Children’s Zumba and Fun Runs.
The Festival was blessed with ideal racing conditions, beautiful clear skies and calm sea conditions provided first timers – or those going for a time – with an opportunity to relax into their events without having to worry about rain, strong winds or waves. There was a full mix of abilities and experience amongst the athlete’s with large group of friends and families all competing in various disciplines throughout the weekend.
As the sun went down on the Friday and Saturday evenings, the focus turned from sport to music as participants were treated to live entertainment on the Pirate FM stage. Local Cornish bands really raised the roof on Friday evening and then the crowds poured in on Saturday night as British rock band, Reef, led the way among several excellent acts to provide festival-goers with a fantastic night out.
Gary Stringer, lead singer of Reef, said “St Michael’s Mount, by the beach, what a setting for a festival; it’s just beautiful here. We feel really stoked, there crowd were amazing, happy days! It’s a really good vibe, the crowd was full of people rocking out after a day of sport; what else can you ask for?”
To help participants with their post event celebration Jamie Oliver’s Fabulous Feasts were on hand, all washed down with superior beers and real ales from St. Austell Brewery within the Human Race Festival of Sport Hub.
Human Race, the event’s organiser gave their thanks to Visit Cornwall, St Aubyn Estates, and Cornwall Council for their help in making the Human Race Festival of Sport such a success.
Nick Rusling, CEO of Human Race, said “Never before has an event been delivered with such a wide offering of sporting disciplines and entertainment for people of all ages and abilities. In a year when so many people have been inspired by the world’s greatest athletes, the Human Race Festival of Sport has given the general public their chance to emulate their heroes; real legacy in action.
Seeing so many groups of friends and families enjoying themselves, participating and supporting each other over the weekend has been a truly special feeling for us. This event would not have been possible without the support of the region and our event partners. We hope that our continued work together will ensure this event returns for many years to come!”