Race Report by Simon Edwards
Tuesday 9th June – Y Garn (Tuesday Night Fell Series)
A short hop along from Moel Hebog which leans over Beddgelert was the target for the 10th Tuesday evening fell race ascent. This peak is already the subject of a Saturday race which I already class as an intense experience – 3.5 miles in total running with 1500 feet of climb.
Mike Blake – the series organizer – did not rest of those laurels and instead ran the race clockwise rather than counter-clockwise and removed most of the flat and made it almost an out and back type affair. The consequences of these seemingly minor changes were dramatic. The course was reduced to a seemingly paltry 2 miles – but still had 1500 feet of climbing. So after a minute of fast relatively challenge-free running we attacked the climb in earnest – two points became clear: Local knowledge was very useful and a good walking technique was essential.
For the next 15-20 minutes we were mostly reduced to panting extreme walkers; only near the summit was it actually possible to break into a run (read “stagger”). The profoundly steep terrain of course was not the only impediment; the thick tufts of grass seemingly soaked any spring from your step and occasionally boggy sections absorbed what little levels of energy were left in turgid limbs. Yes – “limbs” not “legs” – the gradient on occasion relented, but much of it was steep enough to require hands and feet to gain traction.
The descent of course might sound like a relief and for the first minute it almost was – if you ignored the haphazard jumble of rocks that littered the early part of the return leg. However before long the gradient once again became the telling factor and finding a less steep line through the heather appeared to be random luck. Almost immediately thighs again started to burn and more alarmingly quiver as fatigue took its toll.
Fell runners quickly gain toughened feet; even so the effort required to provide some level of control on the reckless plunge made for smouldering soles at the finish – a sure sign of a committed assault!
For a change Steve Toogood and John Morris did not win prizes! Of course this might be down to the fact I was the sole representative of team blue. A somewhat lonely drive but still a worthwhile experience.