Whilst the joint pain suffered as a result of a rat bit lingers more recent events have caused me to lose my joy in running. However, given Justin’s love of the race, on a warm Spring Saturday myself and Justin were the sole representatives of Buckley (Fell) Runners down in the Brecon Beacons taking part in the Cribyn Race.
Cribyn sits alongside Pen y Fan – the highest point in South Wales. The picture below shows both – Cribyn is aligned with the street lamp whilst Pen y Fan sits to the right.
Cribyn and Pen y Fan from a distance
The race itself is only 5.5 miles – but given it includes 3100 ft of ascent, it is particularly tough. Having arrived too late to warm up, myself and Justin knew this was going to be tougher than normal.
So at 1pm in very warm sunshine myself, Justin and 63 other lunatics set off. The first climb starts immediately and climbs around 900ft. Then immediately you drop into the deep valley to the base Cribyn. The first climb hurt – without a warm up we both struggled somewhat. However that was nothing compared to the main climb of the race itself…
The climb is steep. Very steep. Walking steep. In places you grab the grass in from of you with your hands to pull yourself up. Also there are no tracks on the majority of the climb – just energy-sapping spongy grass. This climb hurts… really hurts.. But eventually the lower slope is behind you and the last 100-200 is a relief comparatively. Of course, as the picture below shows it is still very steep and in the sunshine the runners were definitely cooking!
The last part of the Cribyn ascent – and still be walked!
The climb hurt me. Given my emotional state I have to admit I had to stop and shed a few tears. Trying to find joy in running is very hard currently. On the plus side it did allow me to take the picture above! However after a few deep breaths I carried on and finished the climb.
It was then “just” a matter of climbing Pen-y-Fan and then dropping back to the start. A very short, tough race that is recommended if you are in the area – though the 5-6 hours of driving in the day can be a bit much!
However the key point was that myself and Justin both made it to the finish and I still was able to beat him – always a bonus!
Justin heading back to the finish – The above photo has not been edited – the sky really was that clear and blue.
The race over, there was the opportunity to mingle over free cakes. Given the length of our drive back we unfortunately were unable to stay too long. There are no results available as yet – but that doesn’t matter – we both did reasonably well and it certainly put a smile on Justin’s (tired) face!