The sun was beating down; sweat dripped from foreheads, and water bottles were stacked up high in bin bags held by volunteers. With a heaving chest and a pang of relief, Poppy Collingwood crossed the finish line of the Bristol half marathon.
Turning to her friends from university who had also run, she vowed never to run a half-marathon ever again. That was in 2019; however, as lockdown took over the world, Poppy laced up her running trainers and joined the swathes of people who discovered or rediscovered their love for the outside.
After becoming “addicted to the stats”, Poppy, aided by her dad, began approaching long distances, leading her to win the 2024 Arc50 on the Southern coast.
“I think my biggest inspiration is my dad. He did the Arc50 with me this year, and then he did the Arc of Attrition two years ago. I think that slightly catapulted my motivation to keep going.”
Before this, she completed 33 miles from the North to South Dartmoor for ovarian cancer and the Eden Project marathon in October 2022. However, Poppy states her love for the South West Coast Path was a big draw to do the Arc50.
The Arc50, by Mudcrew Events, is a 50-mile event running along the Cornish coast path. Starting from the Miack and finishing in Porthtowan, the self-navigation route down the South West Coast Path takes in Cape Cornwall, St Ives and Portreath.
“The coast path is beautiful. In April, I did the Southwest Traverse with the same race provider, Mudcrew. I texted my dad asking if he wanted to do the Arc50, too; we don’t run together but do the same events. I’m just drawn to that part of the country.”
Leading up to the race, Poppy and her coach, Doug, from the Elite Trail Team, crafted a training plan, which she admitted was a significant weight off her shoulders: “I wake up, look at my calendar, and he tells me what to do. I used to coach myself or create my own training plans, which was quite laborious.”
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