Stu Nicholas in the RAT Plague 100k

Stu Nicholas picks his poison in RAT Plague 100k

Stu Nicholas in the RAT Plague 100k
Stu Nicholas was back for second helpings in the Roseland August Trail Plague 100k

You know that feeling when you complete a brutal 100 kilometre race right through the night and into the following day and you think… I must do that again sometime!! No?… Me neither. Stu Nicholas does though.

In the summer of 2019 he completed the Roseland August Trail Series race they call The Plague, setting off a 12 midnight and heading out into the pitch black for the next six hours or so armed with only a headtorch and whole lot of hope.

Then as daylight begins to emerge the running continues until eventually the full 100k distance has been covered. Stu took to it surprisingly well considering he’d never done 100k before and finished in 5th place with his time of 13 hours 33 minutes and 17 seconds.

And yes indeed. Even though that box had been ticked, Stu was mad enough to attempt it all over again. The route is basically a 64 mile out and back along the South West Coast Path between St Anthony Head on the Roseland Peninsula and Porthpean in St Austell Bay, which is where Stu grew up.

Stu Nicholas comes down the steps in the RAT Plague 100k
Would it prove it be one step too far for Stu though?

The elevation is big and constant, amounting to 3,390 metres and is multi terrain all the way, with uneven and slippery ground in places and stiles, gates, rocks and steps to negotiate. It’s every bit as grueling and energy sapping as it sounds.

Unfortunately the race was destined not to go quite so smoothly for Stu this time round though. He had a few tumbles during the night which really set him back and as daylight broke, he was greeted by torrential rain showers. It was the perfect recipe for some awesome blisters!!

It was a real mental battle for Stu as well as a physical one and for the last 40 miles or so, his heart wasn’t really in it. 40 miles is a hell of a long way to go when it’s raining cats and dogs after having ran through the night.

Stu Nicholas during the night in the RAT Plague 100k
Stu had a rough night, taking a couple of tumbles on the way with the darkness making it hard to see where he was going

Somehow Stu soldiered on though and managed to complete the race, getting to the line in 14 hours 5 minutes and 24 seconds. Given everything he’d been through and considering the conditions, that was actually still a very good time.

It also gained Stu a place in the top ten which was a good result in a pool of 82 runners who successfully managed to complete the route.

It might not be an event that Stu looks back on too fondly but he should still be able to recognize the achievement in overcoming the adversity and getting through such a difficult journey without giving up.

It was a real test of character and resolve and Stu stood up to that test which says a lot about the type of runner and the type of person he is.

Stu Nicholas featuring in the RAT Plague 100k
It wasn’t quite the race that Stu had hoped for but they can’t all go smoothly

Ellis Bland of Team Vaga picked up the race win in a time of 10:01:11, which gave him a very comfortable margin of victory over Andrew Berry of Durham Fell Runners who was 2nd in 11:33:52.

Daniel Rowe-Leete of Highland Hill Runners finished 3rd in a time of 11:50:04.

Emma Langstaff of Looe Pioneers led the way as far as the women’s race was concerned and she completed the course in 14:48:20 to finish in 14th place overall.

Holly Holmes was next quickest female, getting round in 15:30:56 which put her in 23rd place overall. Then it was Melissa Nicholas, doing the surname proud to finish 3rd female and 25th overall in a time of 15:34:27, putting her just ahead of Emma Nicholls who clocked a time of 15:35:11.

Anna Trehane in the RAT Black Route 50k
Anna comes soaring in to complete a terrific performance

As she did the previous time, Stu’s partner Anna Trehane competed in the Black Route race, which was 32 miles and she completed that in 7 hours 40 minutes, putting her in 71st place in the overall standings and making her 19th quickest female.

Anna Trehane after the RAT Black Route 50k
Anna Trehane looks pleased to have successfully negotiated the 32 mile route

That was 16-and-a-half minutes quicker than she ran in the previous edition so she was pleased with that. Her sister Katherine who runs for Norfolk Gazelles also competed in the same race and she did very well to finish in 6:31:50.

Katherine Trehane in the RAT Black Route 50k
Katherine Trehane had a fantastic run in the RAT Black Route 50k

That put her in 36th place overall and she was 7th female and 3rd F40. It was an improvement of 37 minutes over the previous time so a cracking result for her.

Katherine Trehane finishes the RAT Black Route 50k
Katherine’s face is a picture of relief as she reaches the end of her epic adventure

They were joined in the race by their other sister Helen as well this time and she completed the course in a time of 8:22:40, putting her in 103rd place overall and 35th fastest female.

Helen Trehane after the RAT Black Route 50k
Helen holds aloft her well earned medal after conquering the grueling 32 mile route

How many other sets of three sisters are there out there who could all complete a very tough 50km race? There can’t be many other there surely so that was quite an achievement from the Trehane sisters.

The Trehane sisters after the RAT Black Route 50k
The Trehanes celebrate their collective talents for endurance running

In fact, Stu and the Trehane sisters could all be very proud of the performances they put in in extremely challenging surroundings  and in a very trying conditions. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and that will certainly be the case after their accomplishments at the Roseland August Trail.

Stu and the Trehane sisters at the Roseland August Trail
Stu with the Trehane sisters who each successfully completed the 50k distance