Race the train

Andy Robinson writes:
On Saturday five of us went to Tywyn on the Welsh coast to race the train: up the valley from the coast and back for 14 miles racing the Talyllyn narrow gauge railway train. The event was a big carnival really, with a salsa band, beer tent and big crowds. As we lined up with 800 other runners at the start Jackie said “Well this is a bit better. This is the fifth year I’ve run this and every other time it’s been pouring with rain and the mud’s been atrocious.” And a minute later the rain started.

The race started through the centre of town, the roads briefly closed to traffic, lined with cheering spectators. Then it was off through the fields parallel to the railway up the valley. I managed to keep up with Jane for the first five miles, but the hill up from Dolgoch station was too much for me and she pulled away from there. On to the turn at the halfway point, then we started back down the valley again following a different route higher up the valley side. More climbing and more mud. A lot more mud. I was very glad I’d decided to wear fell shoes as runners with less aggressive soles slithered around all over the place. There was long frustrating section traversing a steep hillside on a narrow path, too steep and rough to overtake anyone, but then it was back to fields, tracks and finally the road back through the town to the finish. Somewhere along the way the train passed us, and more yells of encouragement came from the passengers, and of course there was more on our way back through Tywyn. I finished knackered as always, having run faster than I’m used to as it’s such a flat course.

I staggered along to join Jane and her family, and the rain started in earnest. It had only rained a bit during the race, but we quickly got cold as we waited for the others. Then Rachel arrived, then Jackie, and by this time I was too cold and had to disappear back to my car to get some warmer clothes on. Sorry for not waiting, Carol! We all met up later over a brew though.

An excellent event, and a good time was had by all. This was the fifth event out of the six in the Trail series. Full results can be found at the following link


Helsby finishing positions and times below.

180th The Train 1:48:05
247th Jane Ashbrook 1.54.49
290th Andy Robinson 1.57.17
478th Rachel Arnold 2.10.30
533rd Jackie Keasley 2.15.03
684th Carol Shaw 2.34.22

Well done to the hardy Helsby runners who raced the train at the weekend. Full results can be found at the following link


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