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October Newsletter

The WFRA Championships and Series are sponsored by Inov-8 and Cotswold Outdoor and Paul Fosh Auctions. Cotswold Outdoor offer a very good discount to WFRA members.
The Welsh Fell Runners Association (WFRA) is an independent organization providing the following services to fell / mountain runners in Wales – an annual race calendar, regular Newsletters (minimum 3 per year), website, Open Championships,Civil Liability insurance for members (including Race Organisers). Annual Membership is £10.The membership year runs from January 1st to December 31st. If you join after 1st October your membership will last until the end of the following year. If you would like to join a membership form is available on this website (click on Join). You will need acrobat reader to download the form. Acrobat reader is available free on www.adobe.co.uk.
2015 WFRA Wales and Borders Race Calendar
This is a comprehensive Calendar, containing details of most Fell races in Wales and the Borders. It includes some races not in the FRA Calendar. The Calendar is free to paid-up members. Members, who have renewed their membership for 2015, will automatically be sent a copy. Non members can obtain a copy for £5.00 from Sandra Rowlands. Cheques payable to ‘Welsh Fell Runners Association’.
Please enclose a C5 size(162mm x 229mm) SAE with standard first or second class postage.2015 Membership renewals Now   
Fell Race Organisers  WFRA Safety Requirements 2015
The WFRA Committee has finalised its revised Safety Requirements document (see above).
The Safety Requirements document re-iterates the principle that fell runners have primary responsibility for their own safety. The document includes minor changes in standards and clarifications but nothing that changes the essence of the sport. The Committee encourages all prospective competitors and Race Organisers to read the document carefully.

Any comments should be directed to Andrew Blackmore, Hon. Secretary Andrew Blackmore

Race organisers for any of the events listed on the WFRA site are invited to e.mail full results to the webmaster when they will be promptly published on our results pages.
WFRA Race Acceptance Policy
Jubilee Craig yr Allt   Tarren Hendre   Llyn Llydaw   Corndon     just arrived I will also feature any race reports I receive

Volunteers Wanted
The WFRA is looking for volunteers to join its Management Committee. We are particularly interested in hearing from individuals who would be willing to assist us in managing our financial affairs and coordinating our annual programme of races. The duties are not onerous, especially as we will provide full support and guidance to all new Committee members. For an informal discussion, please contact any current Committee member and/ or Andrew Blackmore, Hon. Secretary. Andrew Blackmore

2015 Membership Form is now available
Dash in the Dark     23rd Jan 2015    Results

Friday night saw the final round of the Dash in the Dark series return to the forest trails of Coed Llandegla. The biggest field so far in the series warmed up for what eventually turned out to be the most tricky and coldest of conditions so far in the series. In the days leading up to the race, the forest had its fair share of fresh snow, but with the final inspection of the route late on Friday morning, the go ahead was given for the massive field of 191 runners to set off into the deep dark forest. The runners did set of slightly later than planned, delayed only due to some late course alterations to ensure that all runners safely returned for their well earned hot soup and tea.

First home in the ladies field was Kirsty Steddon of Chester Tri in a time of 33:13, Helen Davies from Wrexham Tri came home in second place ladies with 33.20 and Sarah Rhyder from Wrexham Tri third with a time of 33.58. Sarah also defended her overall lead in the series and won the best female overall.

In the mens category, and for his first time competing in this years series, Stephen Skates, u/a, came over the line with a blistering time of 25.30. The course record holder, Karl Steinegger from Ambleside AC, came in for a second place time of 25.44, closely followed by Thomas Hiles, u/a, coming in third with 26.39 on the clock. Karl’s consistent efforts over all 3 of the races in the series saw him take both best male overall and also maintain his 6.Km off road course record at 25.15.

Nine runners competed for Clwydian Range Runners with Paul Stinton 30:35, Neil Coppack 32:48, Chris Wilcox 34:29 ( 1st male 60 ), Dave Stephens 36:37,Rebecca Roberts 37:29 Eifion Matthias 37:45, Wayne Thomas 47:40, Susan Ridings 49:10 and Karol Howard 57:52.

Many thanks goes to all the race marshals and helpers for their help and support over the race series and to those runners that gave up their race on the night to marshal due to the high numbers that entered on Friday.

A massive thanks goes to One Planet Adventure for hosting the series.

Full results can be found on the website clwydianrangerunners.com
Keep an eye out for future events with a summer race planned for the summer solstice.

Ras Tarren Hendre     Sat 24th January    Results     Pics from Arfon Hughes

Great race today visibility was excellent, no rain and the ground had thawed out. Sharp cold wind on the top but soup at he pub helped to warm the runners and marshalls. Next race in Meirionnydd's winter series Ras yr Aran on 21st March.

Craig yr Allt      Sat 24th January    Results     Pics from Jane Aggleton

This was the second year that the race was held and attracted a marginally larger field of 87 runners. The field would have been slightly larger however an accident on the motorway delayed a few runners from making the registration in time.

Whilst the weather immediately before the race was the same as last year, the weather during the race was very different thankfully. The pre-race sunshine continued for the duration of the race and for post-race prize-giving too. It was 7-8 deg C with a mild 9mph wind from the WNW.

The race started at the foot of the access road to Rockwood Riding Centre (from Blackbrook Road) and took the most direct route to the summit before traversing off the path towards the north. The runners then had to run a long muddy flat section, then make another ascent to the ridge before descending towards the Taff Trail via the technical descent near the zig zags by the mast. The subsequent Taff Trail section enabled the road runners to stretch their legs however this was followed by a long ascent to the summit before a short descent to the finish near the northern edge of the Access Land boundary.

Sebastien Krogvig and Ben Moon (MDC) had a great duel at the front of the pack with Sebastien pipping Ben to the finish line by a split second in a time of 29m 40s, ten seconds outside the course record set by Chris Jones (MDC) in 2014. Daniel Hooper (Sarn Helen) just managed to make the race start after negotiating a motorway queue and finished in third in a time of 30m 02s.

In the ladies category, Katie Beecher (Mynydd Du) smashed last year’s course record in a time of 32m 00s. Niki Morgan (Mynydd Du) finished in 2nd in a time of 37m 35s and retained the FV40 title from 2014. Caitlin Pearson (Les Croupiers/MDC) finished third in a time of 38m 23s.

MV40 Winner – Daniel Hooper (Sarn Helen) also 3rd overall
FV40 Winner - Niki Morgan (Chepstow Harriers) also 2nd lady overall

MV50 – Paul Dodd (Chepstow Harriers)
FV50 – Julie Scholey (Les Croupiers)

MV60 – Michael Murphy (Les Croupiers)
FV60 – Joyce Dodd (Chepstow Harriers)

MV70 – Rob West (MDC)

Gary and Dawn would like to thank all the volunteers and marshalls particularly Martin & Kay Lucas, Derek Thornley, Ange Champion, John Aggleton (sweeper), John Chidlow (timekeeper) & Jane Aggleton (unofficial photographer!).

Runners and volunteers subsequently enjoyed delicious food and drink in the canteen at Mountain View Ranch who kindly let us use their parking facilities for the large field of competitors. Gary & Dawn would also like to thank the landowners Tony and Alison Dascombe who granted permission for using their land for the race.     Thanks      Gary & Dawn Davies

Tor-y-Foel 2015     Sat 10th January    Results     Photos     More photos from Christine James

Out on the course the day before the race the weather could be best described as bestial. On the lower slopes of Tor-y-Foel the wind speeds must have been approaching 50 mph, on the top with the rain as well, an inhospitable place to be. So you think if today is tomorrow then a shortened version of the race or maybe cancellation is what will happen.

Come the day the rain had gone and the wind though strong had abated. The decision on, summit or not was left until the intrepid Kay and Martin Lucas got there and were able to decide whether an hour or so on the top as a marshall was possible. Yes was their answer and a million thanks to them for their audacity.

So to the race and the highlight, a tremendous performance by Katie Beecher, first lady and with a new record of 37m 38s a significant improvement on the previous record of 39m 38s set by Emma Hitchins. The men's race was a little more competitive, Ben Moon a previous winner of the race was at the sharp end until the open section of the race started, when the order was shuffled, a fight for the front between the first three finishers. All of whom were over forty with the winner Mark Palmer a super vet with a time of 34m 10s just 2 seconds outside the best men's time of 34.08. set last year. Thus over fifty and within a mere 2 second off the record is this man a late developer or would he perhaps have been closer to 30 minutes ten years ago, answers on a postcard please.

Many thanks to all of you who came and ran the race, we started with what I thought was 115 runners and finished with 116, much better than the other option of starting with 115 and finishing with less than that.

Huge thanks also to the people who made this event work, they deserve to be mentioned, thus, Mike Bugler, Geraint James, Peter Sowerby, Huw Morgan, Stuart Iles, Kay and Martin Lucas, Andrew Jenkins, Seamus Hamill-Keays and Richard Preece as marshalls. Hilary Williams, John and Margo Sweeting, John Chidlow and Colin Huntley for number crunching, Toni and Jo at Dan-y-Wenallt for working miracles in a small space and Peter Williams for his major contribution in transforming the parking situation at the race.

Hopefully next year we will have the hostel to ourselves and thus a lot more space to breathe and, the learning process goes on and on, an improved delivery on the results side, I blame the assistant time keeper this year, having an IQ of 7 is always going to be a problem.

Hwyl am y tro,         Les Williams


The December 2014 Newsletter has been emailed to all members. If you have not received your copy please email me geoff@wfra.org.uk

Jubilee Plunge     Sunday 28th December    Results

The snow covered conditions and a change in route required to avoid an icy stretch of road made for a particularly challenging festive run for the 37 runners who braved cold for last Sunday's Jubilee Plunge race.

In spite of the conditions Steve Toogood (Buckley) produced a very quick descent to finish in 13.07 just 9 seconds ahead of second placed Stephen Skates. Laura Bestow (Vale Royal AC) was first lady home in 14.51 with second lady Louise Beetlestone (Eryri) not far behind.

Many thanks to all the race marshalls for there help and support and also to the various surprised onlookers for their gasps and cheers as the race went passed

Kymin     Sat 3rd January     Results
Tour de Llyn Llydaw     Thu 1st January     Results

More than 50 competitors braved the gale force winds and rain to take part in the 40th race around Lyn Llydaw from Pen y Pass. One competitor was heard to remark; ‘it was the most exhilarating thinks they had done in a while’.

Skirrid     Sat 20th December     Results

Skirrid Shenanigans

Not sure if Skirrid achieved a record entry for a winter hill series race, but Registration guru Karen Elvers complained of RSI in filling out 137 labels for the results board.

Whether it was the clement weather conditions, getting out of Christmas shopping, guilt from over-eating at office Christmas parties, avoidance of relatives, or just simply because they fancied a run up a hill, we are indebted to all of you who turned up and raced and made the event such a success.

The early birds who registered benefitted from the free bears being handed out. Apologies to those that assumed free ‘bears’ was a typo and that they would enjoy a pleasant post-race alcoholic beverage. We assumed 100 chocolate mini-bears would be plenty. However race director Mr Creber’s heavy duty Facebook advertising, race leafleting and general bullying campaign resulted in this number being surpassed – so 37 went bearless. We apologise. We hope you got some free chips in the pub. The landlord also reported RSI, chopping potatoes to produce enough chips to satiate numerous ravenous runners.

After a 450m warm up trot from the pub to the start, Andy bellowed the countdown to the start and they were off – running around in circles round a muddy field. The intention of this seemingly pointless exercise was to disperse the field and avoid lengthy queues at styles later on. A wise move. However, with the volume of runners, inevitably queues formed and the competitive, ambitious and impatient debated with themselves over the moral quandary of queue-jumping. Some went for it, and suffered the verbal wrath of those dutifully waiting in line. Obviously queue-jumping is ethically dubious – however, I went for it, gained a couple of places, and promptly lost them and more when the righteous overtook me in a steam of fury – thus proving the law of karma.

Soon the fields and styles ran out and it was time to prove your mettle. The climb to the saddle loomed menacingly ahead – to run, walk or crawl? I think most did a mixture of all three, apart from the likes of race supremo/winner Paul Murrin – who clearly is not mortal. After friendly encouragement from saddle marshal Rob Beves, it was ‘over the top’ and a plunge into the dark, rocky, muddy abyss on the other side. This short(ish) technical section was a great opportunity for those with talent in matters of descent to showcase their abilities. It was also a great opportunity for those with no talent in matters of descent to showcase their inelegance and incompetence. I fall into the latter category. Now, for the final, brutal, near vertical climb to the summit. It wasn’t so much hands-on-knees, as hands on sheep-poo, grasping at clumps of grass to heave your Christmas party excesses up the hill. At last, the trig point – all the hard work done – apart from the evil, direct, heather-bashing, mud-sliding, tree-dodging descent. Once this had been negotiated, runners emerged bloodied and battle-hardened ready to take the final fields by storm. A real sprint now to the finish – just giving it as much welly as your screaming quads and calves could muster until crossing that finish line – elated, exhausted and quite frankly, ready for free chips.

A special congratulations to MV70 Syd Wheeler who, despite his better judgement, braved the Skirrid as it was Chepstow Harriers’ club championship. He’s so enthused, he’s now going to take on the Kymin fell race in January – go Syd!

Both male and female course records were broken. Congratulations to overall winner, Paul Murrin from Chepstow Harriers for smashing the course in 30 minutes and 6 seconds, and to Katie Beecher who also smashed the female course record (previously held by me – I’m not bitter…) in 34:42 – fantastic results!

A titanic, gargantuan, Herculean thank you to all our fabulous marshals and helpers, without which the race could not have been staged. These were Karen Elvers, Gill Stott, Andy Stott, Rob Beves, Steve Herrington, Laurie Carter, Di and Christine Vorres, Maria Anthony, Rob Brown, Paul Dodd, Dick Finch, John Chidlow.

Apologies to Paul and Beverley Tucker who were missing from the provisional results. I believe this was due to the race numbers not being clearly visible, although it may have been the short-sightedness of the finish marshals – whatever, we humbly beg forgiveness. We also retract previous references to eternal Skirrid ghost curses, yellow vested banditry and any other scurrilous and unfounded rumours.

By Niki Morgan (hard pressed personal assistant of Mr A Creber)

Prize Winners were:

1st Man: Paul Murrin		M40	Chepstow Harriers	30.05
2nd Man: Ciaran Lewis           M23	Cardiff AAC	30.48
3rd Man: Andrew Stephens 	M40	Monross Trailblazers	30.59
1st MV40: Daniel Hooper		Sarn Helen           31.24
1st MV50: Paul Jeggo			Springfield          34.28
1st MV60: Mike Murphy			Les Croupiers	39.00

1st Female: Katie Beecher		Les Croupiers	34.41
2nd Female: Emma Bayliss		Mynydd Du		38.05
3rd Female: Niki Morgan	F40	Mynydd Du		38.14
1st FV40: Vanessa Lawson		Chepstow Harriers	41.13
1st FV50: Ruth Pickvance		Les Croupiers	42.11
1st FV60: Joc Dodd			Chepstow Harriers	46.40

Team Prizes:
Chepstow Harriers:  Paul Murrin, James Blore, Matthew Lawson
Mynydd Du:  Emma Bayliss, Niki Morgan, Sasha Habgood
Additional Race: Pen Tir Drop - Saturday 14 February, 2pm (details here)
Change of Race Dates and Other Corrections

Correction...This years Jubilee Plunge is on Sunday 28th (not 30th). Full Race Details

Corndon "Three Peaks" Classic (9.3km/565m), Priestweston, Sun 21st Dec.        Results    Photos from Charlie Leventon

The shortest day and a truncated morning for racers as the start time had, at short notice, been brought forward an hour from the advertised 12 noon. No matter, because while a few disappointed (and a couple of relieved looking) would-be competitors arrived expecting the later start and to whom we apologise, 72 made it to the starting line in time for the off, a turnout that compares well with previous years.

Maldwyn Harriers’ Tim Davies underlined his recent excellent form over the tough cross-country courses of the Herefordshire League by taking the win in a time of 45:43 with team mate Roland Stafford in third place (47:22) behind Dominic Jones of Mercia (46:00). In fact as both Tim and Rolie also swear allegiance to Mercia, our West Midlands friends might be forgiven for assuming a clean sweep were we magnanimous enough to let them do that on our home soil.

Young Billy Sterling of Mercia claimed the Men’s u23 award, an achievement all the more remarkable as he still has about eight years of competition left in that age group. His time of 47:47 was good enough for 5th overall, 16 seconds adrift of Simon Rowley (Clapham Chasers) who took the Senior Men’s accolade. At the other end of the age spectrum, Croft Ambrey’s Guy Whitmarsh scooped the M70 gong (62:46).

Merica’s Mel Price won the women’s race in a time of 49:25 for 13th place overall, ahead of Louise Barker (Aberystwyth) in 56:58 and Helen Skelton, representing Hangar 18 ORR (58:30).

With Maldwyn Harriers’ last race of the year over and done with there was nothing else to do but to retire to the Miners’ Arms for food, liquid refreshment, welcoming log fires and presentations. Our thanks then to the “mine hosts” and their locals for their hospitality and to everyone for supporting the event again this year and who helped make it such a success (and once more our apologies to those who fell foul of the late time switch). See you in 2015.

Ian Fraser         Maldwyn Harriers

Blorenge          Sat 29th November        Results
WFRA Safety Requirements for Competitors - 2015

The WFRA has refreshed its Safety Requirements for competitors - these are effective from 1 January 2015.
Our requirements have been distilled into 10 simple rules, (as follows) supplemented by fuller guidance as included in the 2015 Safety document.
Competitors are advised to read these rules carefully.



Factors including weather and terrain mean that fell racing takes place in a hazardous environment. Competitors must have appropriate experience in the conditions that may be encountered so that they can manage their own safety.
The Race Organiser (RO) has a duty of care to competitors in their race. However, competitors must accept that race monitoring (marshals, checkpoint recording, search and rescue etc.) is not infallible and must not be considered a ‘safety net’.
A competitor enters a race on the understanding that they are responsible for their own safety. The competitor must obey all instructions from the RO and officials but must equip and conduct themselves as though they were unsupported for the duration of the race.
As a condition for entering any WFRA race, the competitor shall:
1.    comply with these safety rules and any additional race specific safety rules imposed by the Race Organiser (RO).
2.    follow the procedures described by the RO if they fail to start or abandon the race.
3.    obey all instructions from race officials.
4.    be aware of the serious disabling consequences of hypothermia, dehydration and heat exhaustion and act appropriately during the race.
5.    carry sufficient kit, e.g. body and leg cover which gives protection from the effects of wind chill and safety equipment, (including food and drink) throughout the race to be able to navigate and provide
      protection from hypothermia, or dehydration and heat in the worst foreseeable weather conditions during the race, noting that rescue could take a long time.
6.    take note of the length and severity of the race and local weather forecast for the day and judge their capabilities accordingly.
7.    consider how any health impairments may jeopardise their safety or of others and act accordingly.
8.    take specific note of RO information on the nature of the terrain on the race route, checkpoints to be visited or course to be followed and any restrictions to route choice.
9.    have the skills, experience and equipment required to comply with the RO’s navigation and safety requirements, having assessed conditions on the day.
10.   take reasonable care not to create hazards that may cause harm to other people and support anyone in need of assistance, even if it means abandoning their race.

Dash in the Dark Trail Race 2      Fri 5th December      Results

In the run up to the second race of the Dash in the Dark series the weather could not have been any worse. Icy winds and heavy rain failed to put off the 84 runners that arrived ready to tackle the 6 Km off road route at Coed Llandega.
Eventually the rain gave way to a slippy start in the forest as the full moon guided runners off onto the night time trails.

Defending his lead in the series and first back was Karl Steinegger, Ambleside AC on (25:26), with Thomas Hiles only 28 seconds behind him at (25:54) and Jason Large , from Picked Riders, in third place (28:04).
First of the ladies back was Sarah Ryder , Wrexham Tri, for her second win in the series and one second slower than her last time (33:17), then Sandra Rowlands, Eryri Harriers in second (34:43) and Hayley Evans from Buckley Runners in third (34:50).

Thanks goes to all the marshals / helpers on the day and a big thank you goes to the hosts at One Planet Adventure for the facilities and lovely hot soup.
Best wishes to all for the festive break and hopefully see you back in the New Year with the 3rd race in the series planned for Friday 23rd January 2015.