Race Report by Simon Edwards
Saturday 23rd May – Moel Eilio Fell Race
This race was hosted at the Heights Hotel in Llanberis and following the usual pre-race preparations of registration, gobbling a bit of food, packing bum bags and trying to out-vie each other regarding injuries we ambled through a few backstreets towards the start line situated at a campsite on the edge of grassy banks of Moel Eilio.
Around 1pm 107 of us set of up a gently inclining road prior to the steeper approaches of Moel Eilio itself. The calm, partly overcast weather influenced the humidity and soon became a notable factor as the long climb continued.
Eventually after a run-walk combination the summit was reached and at that point I realised that the title “Moel Eilio” fell race was somewhat misleading. Instead a more apt title might have been the “Moel Eilio, Foel Gron, Foel Goch and Moel Cynghorion” fell race. So whilst Eilio was the largest effort the race entailed far more climbs than anticipated. However the terrain was mainly benign and the biggest issue was tired legs rather than rocky, steep or slippy descents. The final ascent to Moel Cynghorion was testing due to its length rather than the gradient. Offsetting the sweat, bursting lungs and heavy legs was the fantastic views of Snowdon on offer; almost worth the modest entry fee to the race alone.
It was at that point the territory changed from benign to testing. The descent off the final summit was by the far the most telling section of the race. Immediately it became disconcertingly steep; the soil and grass terracing to offer the bold good opportunities to leap down and the wary reassurance that a fall might be muddy but not bloody. The obligatory boggy section followed just to sap tired legs further and then a dash from a stream which was knee or waist deep depending on your luck in choosing a crossing point! From that point onwards a long, long gradual descent initially on rocky trails and eventually widening to a country road was a trial that many couldn’t wait to finish.
Buckley were well represented with eight runners all placing respectable times and positions. Friendly club rivalry adds extra spice to such events. Jez and Simon tussled; Jez losing out due to still recovering from a cold. Steve and Andy continued their skirmishes – this time with Steve the victor. Hayley and Huw duelled on every climb and descent; the long run-in favouring Huw by just 20 seconds.
The good weather continued after the race; allowing a post-race drink to be enjoyed outside for the first time this season whilst we awaited John Morris to collect his V70 prize. Finally (as appears to be becoming a regular post fell race activity at the moment) – a splendid ice cream parlour was found and sampled to end the day in style.