Hello Green Army
Apologies for not sending out anything last week, I was too busy uploading photo’s to Facebook. So this week you have double the reports…..2 ha ha. Oh and Col’s TT results.
A notice from myself and Tim Palmer about the North West Road Relays. It would be great to get a few more runners so we can enter a couple of mens and ladies teams, but numbers really are low right now. This was a brilliant event last year.
The road relays are being held at Edge Hill University, Ormskirk on Sunday 8 September 2019. These were held last year in Delamere Forest; we hope for better weather.
Women’s team are made up of three runners each doing 5km. Men’s teams are made up of four runners each doing 5km. The start times are 13:00 (women) and 14:30 (men)
Tim and myself have volunteered to co-ordinate entries of teams for the club so please let me know by Thursday 29 August 2019 at the latest if you are interested. Please note this competition is only open to first claim runners (second claim runners should approach their first claim club).
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Or contact us on our Facebook page, you can look at my photos whilst your there.
Rebecca Tate has sent in a race report for the Cybi Coastal Marathon
Well, all was going to plan. We set off over the first few miles at a fairly brisk pace through the town of Holyhead, which took us past the station and some built up parts, which diverted into urban trail, and then to the coast. It became really pretty, with deserted white sand beaches, little rocky coves, patches of woodland, flowers and butterflies. At one point we crossed a road bridge, with millpool-like water on one side, and a hollow where the water was being sucked under the bridge. At another place we ran on the beach past some moored boats, then there were fields, sand, marsh (boarded, so we didn’t get wet), rocks, narrow tracks through heather, vast open grassland.
Marshalling was fairly scarce, but we’d all been told to follow the coastal path signs, which was straightforward enough – but we had to be scanned at every checkpoint. The first checkpoint was on a pavement and they provided oranges, peanuts, crisps and sweets – all very welcome even though I’d come prepared with my own food and drink. It was fairly hot – at least 20C with only a mild breeze, and a thin layer of cloud keeping the worst of the sun off. I drank to thirst, which turned out to be quite a lot, filling up my bottles at every checkpoint, but I was glad of having trained in all weathers including the heatwave.
The second checkpoint at around 10 miles was on a beach, and was stunning. There was a bit of a queue for scanning here, but everyone was pretty jovial, and we didn’t seem to be feeling the miles yet. Towards CP 3 the miles started to grind – a dodgy piece of signposting meant that a group of people ahead went the wrong way, and despite our shouts didn’t hear and carried on. I heard they put in a few extra miles finding their way back to CP3, which seemed to take forever coming and made me panic in case it was our group that had gone wrong. It was on a beach front though, where people out to enjoy the sun and beach cheered us on.
We continued through tiny villages and some roads, cliffs, narrow trails, past gorgeous rocky coves with crystal clear water which was so tempting to pop in and have a quick dip, but I’d overtaken an Ironman, and various other people, and was feeling slightly competitive, so I carried on. The pace slowed down with some hills and tracks too narrow or rocky to run on easily. CP4 came up suddenly, which felt good, then we started the long slog upwards to South Stack lighthouse CP5, after which was Holyhead Mountain.
This didn’t turn out to be the doddle I’d imagined. “I run up Moel Famau loads, it’ll be OK” I’d assumed. Well, it was steep, rocky, tall steps, not as rough or long as The Gulley, but not far off in terms of effort which, after 21 miles, was actually quite tricky! The final CP was at the summit, where we got scanned then had to be like mountain goats to take a narrow and steep rocky path down again on our jelly legs. The tricky terrain continued, up and down on rocky paths that couldn’t be run on without fresh legs. This is where nausea set in – with my heart pounding, I started wretching, and decided to sit down for a bit to clear my head. I couldn’t face any more electrolyte drink or food, so hoped I’d clear up without it. With only 2 or 3 miles to go, there was no chance of stopping now!
After a minute, everything felt better so I carried on. My legs were hurting now, it was a case of hanging on in there until the end, wherever that was. With the nausea I’d lost a good number of places, which was disappointing, but eventually the mountain was done and we reached coastal grass tracks, some road, then the Lifeboat house was finally in view. Although my time was 6 hours – considerably longer than I’d expected – there were plenty of people cheering on finishers and a lovely atmosphere at the end. One of the Lifeboat guys was waiting with a hose to spray us to cool down, there was soup, bread, tea, flapjacks and more fruit. I came 92nd out of a starting list of 200 (though only around 150 made it to the start it seems), so whilst 6 hours is a long time, it seems like a reasonable one for this particular marathon, and 7th in my age group isn’t too bad (yes, there was plenty more than 7 in it!)
Beacons 100 Ultra
This one hurts… not so much the event… although that did of course… but the punchline.
Paul Cunningham, still on his post Chester 100 high: “you free a couple of weeks on Saturday to do a 100 miler in the Brecon Beacons?” What? Of course not, who’d say yes to a question like that? But he’d planted the seed and we soon found the Beacons 100 a month later, which I could pretend was enough time to prepare.
An 8pm Friday start meant a drive down that afternoon and half an hours kip for us in the car as the last sleep we’ll get till Sunday. The weather on a reccy a couple of weeks earlier had been baking hot with water shortage a problem. This was not going to be a worry this weekend with heavy rain and high winds promised for most of the 48 hour maximum allowed time. I don’t mind the bad weather but we’d signed up to a summer ultra so the nerves were definitely there as we ate our pre race lasagne in a pub down the road waiting for the start.
The route is a tour of the Brecon Beacons: Starting in Chrickhowell in the east, heading to the far west and back, taking any opportunity to go over a bump and back to the valley it can. Paul and I had decided to stick together, the company over two nights of it would be very welcome.
About 45 of us on the start line and the race got going. it stayed dry for 20 minutes and then the weather started to deliver what it had promised. It heads straight up to 2500ft and we were on the first ridge around 9:30pm or something, head torches were turning on and Paul asked another runner we’d been keeping with (Bev) if she fancied sticking together through the night which she liked the sound of so we became a three.
(It’s already a long writeup and we’re on mile 5 or something so lets crack on)
The first 20 miles consisted of getting used to the terrain and conditions…. 5 metre visibility by head torch, very wet – running in streams that previous weeks had been bone dry paths, getting battered by the winds and realising Bev was a good runner. We encouraged her to head off if she wanted a couple of times but she was happy to stay together (a long way still to go).
CP2 was in the valley and at the start of 8K along a canal to get us to the next big haul. We took it in turns leading and it was good to be able to run at a better pace and get some miles behind you without the ‘stubbing your toe on a rock / heart in mouth as you catch yourself from falling’ type thing that’s never far away running on the tops. We knew what was next though as we’d done it on our only reccy: a straight line 600 metre ascent in about 2.5 kilometres. On our reccy, it took forever, and that’s when we could see. The climb was exposed too so as soon as we got going we’d be in the weather again. We decided we’d regroup every 100 metres or so as stopping for 30 seconds or whether every now and then would be better than being further apart and waiting for longer at the top.
It was crazy. Genuinely never seen weather like it. Easy as much energy being spent staying on the path (stream) as it was moving forward. Regrouping would involve crouching, hands on the ground to keep steady with your back to the weather and your hood as far over as you could pull it. Bev’s head torch got blown off at one point!
The summit was very welcome. No more climbing now tonight, we just need to get on the right path down to Brecon and start (in my head) leg 2 of 3 – ‘Saturday Day’. It was about a 6K descent that we all just got on and did without much in the way of chat, just get it done and get out of the weather which wasn’t easing as things got lighter or even lower really.
In the valley at CP3 finally the wind has eased and you realise how noisy it’s been for the last 7 hours as you’re able to talk to each other without shouting. A couple of guys who’d been catching us arrived 5 mins after and promptly handed in their trackers (the wind wasn’t for them) and they dropped out of the race. Talking to a marshal, they weren’t the first.
We had another 8K valley stretch now heading into Brecon (thankfully before any cafes had opened as the draw might have been a bit much) before starting to head back up to the tops with the third, ‘big haul’ out of a valley to a summit. By far the hardest ascents were in the first half of the course and all three of us were in great shape, all smiles, moving well and plenty of chat. I don’t think anyone actually said it, but we were enjoying the extra challenge of the weather and it was doing us a favour in that others weren’t enjoying it so much.
“We’re going up into the weather again, has everyone eaten? … Same again in regroup regularly on the way up…”
We were heading to the top of Cribyn. We’d seen it from the other side on our reccy and it looked a big thing then. This climb from the valley though went on and on, just didn’t stop. The wind was as bad as ever and the rain (or hail?) was hitting you like you were standing behind a gritter lorry. It was motivation to keep going to get it done but you were going up into it for a long time before there’d be any relief. Every brow I was trying to picture… ‘is this it? I thought it was steeper?’. And then there it was 100yards in front we saw the ridge you needed to take heading straight up to the summit… nice and dramatic with the rain whipping over it. Bev said “other races would have had diverts by now you know…” i checked my phone but no messages from the safety team so carry on it is.
About 10metres onto the ridge and a gust pushes me off balance. Admittedly it wasn’t far to go as it was almost hands on scrambling anyway, but Bev almost went straight after the combo led her to say out loud what we were probably all thinking… “this isn’t safe”. Either side of the ridge (which i think was only a couple of metres wide) the mountain dropped steeply away so the wrong gust of wind could have been dangerous. We sat down and made a plan to come off route and drop onto a path which avoided the summit but took us back to the route shortly after, adding a kilometre or something. The decision wasn’t taken lightly. None of us wanted to miss any part of the route but Cribyn will be there another day and so lets make sure we all are! The organisers had made it clear that if anything felt unsafe, don’t do it. This qualified.
We set off and called it in so they knew what were were doing, they completely agreed and actually thought we’d called to drop out. “No we’re having a great day… we just aint going up there!”.
Another summit (Pen-y-Fan – highest of the route) and into the valley again for CP4. A cup of tea… banana and anti chafe stick where needed! We’ve been in the top 10 the entire race and now we find out there have been more dropouts – we’re up to 6th overall (with 4th and 5th heading off just 5 mins ahead of us) and Bev has gone from 3rd woman to 1st! It was a great checkpoint and we set off raring to get to CP 5 and over half way. Only 8 miles this stretch.
It went on for ever (spotting a theme here)… it had a good climb at the start but then over that it was an undulating expanse of Brecon Beacons moors. My watch was in my bag charging so I didn’t have a gauge on time or distance. Every hill we headed over, I was convinced we should be seeing CP5 and it wasn’t there. CP5 meant drop bags which meant dry clothes, restock of food and the start of the ‘last stretch’ into the finish: A ridge I’d been looking forward to since I first saw the route, then another 10miles to put us into the night again before 15miles of the route we reccyed. After that was the final 10miles down hill and flat to the finish. We were all still in great shape and, although it sounds early with 40 something miles to go, we knew we were going to finish and Bev had a great chance for the win.
There it was, an A-road which meant the checkpoint. Painfully steep descent as a last test but it didn’t matter… we’d were there. Bev had her fella and a mate crewing for her who we’d met at earlier checkpoints and as I got to them I said “that was a hard stretch” but only got half a smile back. Seemed odd but they knew what we were about to hear a second later from the marshal: “Sorry guys, the race has been cancelled due to the weather. We’re pulling everyone off the mountain.”
Absolutely gutted. You don’t know what you’re putting in until you hear it’s all over out of your control. Paul said he understood and how dangerous it was up there. He was was completely right of course and he looked to me to back it up but I couldn’t get my head round it. I managed to say I understood but it didn’t stop it being very painful. We were managing the weather… we had dry kit, plenty of food, moving in a group etc etc we were fine! But another night of it with people tired cold and wet and scattered about remote parts of the mountains on their own… it would have been too easy for someone to get in trouble. Bev pulled us in for a hug. It had been quite a thing.
So that was the Beacons 100 (or half of it). 20 hours, 60miles and 17000ft gets you pretty focused and with the rest of the route well visualised… it’d take a few days to stop replaying it. Which, as you can maybe tell from the write-up, I’ve not quite done yet 🙂
Same time next year then.
Sensible decision by the organisers by the sounds of it, but well done, really great efforts by both of you.
No report as yet but another big well done to Danny Ryder, the Captain and Bish, coming 3rd at the Chirk Castle Relays last Thursday. There is a you tube clip that has appeared of the event, have a watch, it might just persuade you to do it next year, it’s a cracking event.
Colin Bishop 35.53
Richard Hankins 41.56
Peter Rodriguez 43.12
Chris Lloyd 43.14
Jane Ashbrook 45.51 (1st lady)
Tracy Woods 51.13
Neil Fergusson 53.16
Lauren Cooke 1.00.47
Well done everyone who took part in a park run last week. Our consolidated club results are available HERE
Please keep sending contributions into: firstname.lastname@example.org
See you all soon