Race report – THE DYSYNNI TRAIL FEST
Ynysymaengwyn, Tywyn, Saturday 11th June 2016
Report by Rob Mackey
Picture is at approx 2km into the race heading along the riverbank.
Trailfest is one of a series of events put on by Watson Events, alias George Watson. This event is races at 5km, 10km and 15km for both runners and CaniX, effectively six races. It starts and finishes in the walled garden at the historic estate of Ynysymaengwyn near Tywyn.
I meant to do it last year but other things got in the way, so this year I went for broke. I entered the 15km! and decided to make a weekend of it. The plan was to camp for the weekend; drive down Friday evening, bite to eat, get a good night’s sleep, lazy morning and get ready to run at 11.30.
The plan started OK, but starting on the single malt on Friday night may have been mistake. Forgetting the pillows definitely was; can’t sleep without a pillow and it meant a shopping trip before the race.
Still, got to walled garden with plenty of time to savour the atmosphere, lots going on; burgers, ice-cream, tea and coffee, laser quest, and sitting around enjoying the hot sunshine. Went to listen to the 15km briefing for CaniX who set off 10 minutes before us. Then listened to the repeat, this time without being drowned out by the dogs!
It really is an excellent course. From the walled garden the first 1.5 km is round the woodlands at Ynysymaengwyn, twisting and turning with very mixed surfaces. It was shady but very warm and humid. This section is great for spectators. Then the route leaves the woodland, turns left onto the riverbank to follow the Afon Dysynni down past the Broad Water for the next 4km. this section is perfectly flat, surfaces generally good with a bit of breeze but no shade. At 5.5km there is a much needed drinks station; water, isotonic and big buckets for the dogs.
The route joins the new tarmac section of the Wales Coastal path over the new Dysynni Bridge. 1 km later a sharp right takes you onto C Class road, very narrow along the north side of the estuary. Hot along this section as the bit of breeze was behind us with some slight hills. At about 10k we re-crossed the Dysynni River on the old (very old and disused) road bridge.
The second drinks station at 10km is followed by the start of 3km along the riverbank back towards Ynysymaengwyn, briefly interrupted by running through Afon Fathew. This section of riverbank is less well used, some is on private land and the surface is rougher. And it’s still warm. Finally the route turns left back into the woodlands to repeat the 1.5km along the tracks. The finish in the walled garden was a welcome sight.
I was very pleased just to get round. I have not done much distance training recently, and not run distance in high temperatures at all. There was a patch in the middle when I felt it was not going well (it wasn’t!) I had run on my own for a long time, and then I was overtaken by a lady from Milton Keynes who admitted she had decided to stop messing around and very quickly disappeared into the distance. At around 9km I started catching up with last of the CaniX runners who were clearly enjoying themselves. Most of them were staying on the same campsite; we chatted for a while until they stopped to water the dogs, explaining to them that the swim was only a mile away. Not sure that they understood, but they all finished. Quite happy with 33rd out of 38, and 1st Vet 65 (only V65!). Disappointed with 1 hour 51. Had hoped for around 1.40, but if you deduct 3 minutes for the whisky, 3 minutes for the lack of pillow and 5 minutes for the heat I was exactly where I meant to be!
I met up with my wife and the dog in the walled garden. We sat around and consumed the drinks, oranges and bananas provided by the organisers. Now the warm sheltered environment of the walled garden is welcome as we waited for the presentation. Fabulous friendly atmosphere; great to meet up with many friends from north Wales clubs and from the campsite. Marshals on the course were amazing, some even recognised me from Race the Train and asked if I was returning to do it again this year. For some inexplicable reason I said “yes”.
Organisation for this event is exemplary. Setting out the course, marshalling, drinks and support for runners (2-legged and 4-legged) is excellent. Marshals and other officials are cheerful and supportive, . The results service by TDL is amazing; I got a text with my time and position within a couple of minutes of finishing, even before the last runners were in.
I chatted with George after the event. The date is set for June 10th next year. It deserves far more than the 125 entries. But without that support this gem of a race will disappear. Put this one in your diary. You won’t regret it!