Tal Y Fan    Sat 9th July    Results

The weather forecast was grim to say the least, with two rain drops predicted at 2pm, the race start time, and one drop for the rest of the day. We were pleasantly surprised to get the gazebo erected on the Rowen Carnival field in only light drizzle. It seemed that lots of people had either headed off to the British Champs in Sedburgh, or given the rain forecast, had decided to stay in to watch Serena win another Wimbledon title, as with a field of 30, we had the smallest entry for about 10 years. As is common, the forecast was wrong - maybe half a rain drop, but humid and overcast and waterproofs certainly not needed on the start line.

After a quick head count (yes we still had 30) James sounded the hooter, and we were off, with Ellie accompanied by Elsie, her medical assistance dog, at the back alongside Helen (Race organiser and sweeper in fluoresent pink). Turning right in the village, and facing the first hill, Ellie pulled ahead of Naomi from Steel City Striders, and the leaders streaked off towards the youth hostel. By Cae Coch, Naomi had come to the conclusion that for the first time in her life, she may actually be last, but undeterred, we headed over the stile and towards the summit of Tal y Fan. At the summit, the stone circle check point, at the other side of the moorland bog was pointed out, and we headed off towards the sheep pens as our mid-way marker. Half way across, however, we found two more Steel City lost runners - maybe Naomi would not be last - who at least had the sense to wait for the pink person, when they had lost touch with Ellie and realised they did not really know where they were heading. We reached the stone circle as a group of four, to find that two runners were unaccounted for, but at least the rain was holding off, and the visibilty was still good. We had not seen them coming across the bog, and left the radio operators/marshalls communicating with base to see if they had been located, or whether they had just gone to Penmaenmawr for ice-cream.

Our little group of tail enders carried on, now on the grass of the North Wales coastal path, with much easier navigation. Through all the gates, with the marshalls still two short, until we reached the Dougie's gin and tonic (sorry all gone only water left) check point, where it was reported all 30 had been seen. Panic over, and we headed up the last hill, down through the bracken and back on to the road. Resisting the G&T in the Ty Gwyn, the final gang reached the finish line safely, if a bit late for the presentation.

Thanks as always to our marshal team, and Ann and Sharon on the start & finish line.

Moel Siabod     2nd July 2016     Results

With an un-certain forecast it was great to get word from Georg from the summit a few minutes before the off that it was breezy but dry & clear, kit still required but conditions as good as we could dare hope after the downpours the day before. Sixty two runners were soon off & running with Buckley’s Jez Brown leading from Mercia’s Gareth Hughes with Eryri’s Richard Roberts & Martin Cliffe tucked in close behind. For the women Sarah Ridgeway & Eryri’s Andrea Rowlands were running side by side as they made their way into the forest towards Moel Siabod’s steeper slopes.

By the time the leading runners reached the summit Gareth had opened up a clear lead over Richard Roberts himself closely followed by Jez & Martin, the pattern was set as these placings would be un-changed by the time they reach the finish line on the Capel Curig Show ground. Gareth’s winning time was an excellent 48:32 a clear winner by almost 3 minutes over Richard. The gap back to Jez (1st O.40) was a further one minute 15 seconds with Martin, despite some classic tumbles (2nd O.40) 20 seconds further back, he in turn was followed by Brendon Taylor from Durham Fell Runners (3rd O.40) less than a minute later & well ahead of the pursuing pack of Andrew Perry (Durham) Simon Edwards (Buckley) & Adrian Williams (Eryri). Next came Sarah Ridgeway in a superb time of 56:51, 1st Female & 9th overall some 5 minutes clear of her nearest rival Andrea Rowlands.

I was delighted to see Phil Roberts (he of our 2015 Siabod Summit Challenge) come home in 58:34, 11th overall to pick up the Mike Cousins shield for first ‘local’.

Other performances of note were Rob Downs (Wilmslow RC) 1st M. O50 in 60:55, Geoff Davis (Northumberland Fell Runners) 1stM. O60 in 68:38 & Geoffrey Fielding 1st M. O.70 in 80:38. For the women the strongest category was the O.40’s so we need some younger runners next year to pick up the gauntlet that’s been thrown down, that said Gemma Moore came home 1st U.40 (NWRRC, 3rd overall) in 67:31 closely followed by Sarah Barnwell (Eryri) 1st O.50 in an excellent 69:29.

Runners were seen taking their post race dip in the cooling waters of the Afon Llugwy before taking on the local farmers in the traditional Tug of War finale. Sadly a combination of tired legs & local pride saw them slump smilingly to a whitewash defeat.

As ever thanks to all involved including the runners & spectators but most of all to the Marshalls whose support to me was vital in helping to ensure the race was both safe & successful.

Gareth Hughes, race winner on the left and Martin Cliffe, 2nd in the over 40s and fourth overall hold our
sponsors banner as Sarah Ridgeway looks focused for her 1st female finish.

Phil Roberts receiving the Mike Cousins shield for first local entry.

Jez Brown leads eventual winner Gareth Hughes as the runners head off to Moel Siabod

John Rowell