Race Report by Rob Mackey
My records tell me that it is about five years since I have run this tough little race. It does not get any easier. Various things have stopped me doing it recently but this year I joined 72 other runners for this excellent event.
The race HQ is at The Golden Lion Inn in Llangynhafal, you get your number and get ready. Normally in May we should have been discussing if Factor 35 was enough or should we be going for the Factor 50. It wouldn’t have made any difference; they would have both washed off. Instead we talked about how many layers to put on. It was cold, wet and windy.
The start is half a mile from the pub, and it is all uphill so that is the warm-up. The first half mile heads along the Vale on excellent grassy tracks, with the wind and rain in your face. However many layers you opted for it wasn’t enough for this section. The route then swings up the valley towards the summit of Moel Famau; pleasant enough at first, getting gradually steeper until the famous “Gully”. The heavy rain made it very slippery but at least it was sheltered from the wind, finally emerging just below the summit. Good running from the summit along Offa’s Dyke, with the wind behind. You turn sharply down the road towards Llangynhafal, take a path through the bracken to a point a few hundred yards from the finish. You can almost see it but instead of turning right towards the finish the route climbs sharply about 500 feet up a bank of heather, bilberry with a bit of gorse to remind you that shorts were not an good idea. Once over that it is a long run down to the finish; a most welcome sight. It was still raining. Back down to the pub for well-earned “refreshments”.
The event was organised by Huw Lewis and well supported by other Buckley Runners. It was a real test for the marshals; running in weather like that is tough but standing out in it is much worse. Congratulations to Huw for putting on a splendid event and huge thanks to all everyonme who helped. Big thanks to Hazel who now has a great respect for sports and wildlife photographers who take pictures in the countryside. The photos are great and give a real impression of just how steep the last climb is.
As for the runners, the club has a splendid day. Simon, Andy and Steve all in the top 10. Good runs by Paul S and Steve (won his age-group). Phil chose this one to start his fell-racing career; he admitted it was tough and that the mile splits on the Garmin were a bit off. Hayley had a good run and Justin tells me he enjoyed it even though his dad “forgot” to mention the last big climb. And I got round helped by Gill from Wrexham and I wasn’t last!
It was an excellent race in typically challenging weather, but if you run up mountains you have to expect these things.