Fron Four Fell Race – 15th April 2017

Y Fron is a very small village with a heritage I would imagine involves Slate. A lot of Slate. Surrounding the village are large mounds of the stuff. Whilst it might sound a tad industrial, that finished a long time ago in the main, and so instead the village is as tranquil as its isolation and mountainous views might indicate.

The former village school of Y Fron with glowering Nantile ridge backdrop

However cold the weather is (and it was bracing), the welcome in the former village school – soon to be a community managed shop/activity centre/cafe – is always warm and today was no exception.

The race is advertised as a 7.1 mile race with 2,345 feet of climbing. Most found out that is was over 8.1 in reality – so the entry fee of £3 for running for over an hour with marshals and prizes afterwards is stupidly cheap.

For that 8.1 miles the usual mixture of terrains, climbs, descents and traverses very wildly. The first climb is a rather short one – short, run-able and a gentle introduction into the race:

The summit stones of Moel Tryfan – the summit of the first climb

Buckley sported an array of runners today – Steve Toogood, Huw Lewis, John Morris, myself (Simon Edwards), Simon Roberts, Jez Brown, Tim Hargreaves, Suzanna Hepenstall, Emma Collins and Andy Pritchard. Jez set the pace for the other Buckley runners to follow, though the gaps were fairly small after the first climb and then the descent to the centrepiece of the race – Mynydd Mawr.

Mynydd Mawr – the main race feature

The climb to the summit is an arduous long climb – a mix of running and walking. Eventually at the end of the climb a descent to the hill shown to the left of the climb is a breather before a difficult, rocky traverse behind the peak to another leg spur off the mountain is used. Then the race returns over the summit and back down towards the finish. The peaty, rocky, heathery and occasionally slippy path requires absolute concentration – especially with tired legs.. However all the running is behind you and the sight of tea and cake in the former school beckons whilst prize giving takes place.

And what results – Buckley placed very well and managed to take home 3rd overall, 1st V40, 1st V50, (Male and Female) and 1st V70.

Prizes and smiles galore – some of the Buckley Runners present today

So the 4th round of the North Wales Fell Series came to a happy ending. The ludicrous Moel Hebog in June will be the 5th round – where Buckley will hopefully continue to sport a strong field. Fell running is an incredibly different activity compared to the likes of the “Borders League” – but if anyone likes the idea of trying it – please feel free to contact me for information or advice.

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