Wye Valley Runners Invade the Welsh Hills

A large contingent of Wye Valley Runners crossed the border at the weekend to race in the Welsh hills.

 Elan Valley 10 Mile Race

A 12 strong team headed to Rhayader to take part in the Elan Valley 10 mile race. It's a tough, undulating course on quiet country lanes and the runners efforts were rewarded by the stunning scenery. The sun even made an appearance on the drive there, and stayed for the day.

Richard Williams continues to have a strong first year as a Wye Valley Runner finishing in an impressive 5th place overall. Next across the line for the club was Ryan Chidlow then Tony Champkin, Lara Seal, James Vidler, Lynne Compton, Malcolm Edwards, Emily Davies, Brian Symonds, Becky Humphries, Sian Champkin and Robert Vidler. Jan Edwards was also in attendance as chief supporter and principal photographer.

A good turn out and some great results at a race that comes highly recommended by those that attended, so it looks like we might need to hire a bus next year.

The Beacons Ultra

 Meanwhile, further south in the Brecon Beacons, I was taking part in the Beacons Ultra. This is a 46 mile race starting and finishing in Talybont on Usk and takes in 2 laps of the Beacons. Simon Oliver was supposed to be joining me for this one but unfortunately injury prevented him from doing this one. 46 miles isn't the sort of distance to attempt while injured, so he made the wise choice and hopefully will be back fitter and stronger for next year's event.

The loop covers a mixture of terrain including canal path, forest track, open fell side and the roman road pass over the mountains. The long climb up Tor y Foel proved to be the toughest section, especially on the 2nd lap when I had 27 miles in my legs. I have to admit that it broke me a bit, but I managed to keep plodding on and eventually found my 2nd wind. I was again beginning to flag at the 40 mile mark but the long descent from the top of the roman road and a large lump of cake (Ultras are basically picnics with a bit of running thrown in!) at the final checkpoint was enough to get my legs turning over at a more respectable pace all the way to the finish.

I finished in 8 hours 49, a few minutes slower than the year before, but nicely within the 9 hour target I set myself, pretty much running from sunrise to sunset on what turned out, after a misty start, to be a stunning sunny autumn day.

This is a well run event that gets bigger every year, attracts a strong field and is also suitable for those attempting their first ultramarathon. For those that think that 46 miles is a silly distance to run, there is also a marathon distance race on offer over similar terrain.

 

 WVR at the Elan Valley 10 Mile Race

WVR at the Elan Valley 10 Mile Race

 WVR at the Elan Valley 10 Mile Race

WVR at the Elan Valley 10 Mile Race

 The mist clearing on the Roman Road climb during the Beacons Ultra

The mist clearing on the Roman Road climb during the Beacons Ultra

 Happy to be at the finish of the Beacons Ultra

Happy to be at the finish of the Beacons Ultra

Dublin Marathon

It was a very fresh Sunday morning where 2 Wye Valley Runners joined in the second biggest marathon in the UK and Ireland with over 20000 participants. To say it was fresh might be an understatement as experienced runners were wearing there free hats and keeping on extra layers right up until the last second when cheap discard able layers would be thrown to the side where spectators look like they are under attack.

For me i could only find one problem with this marathon, the start was complete chaos. They split the race downs into waves but after that it was a free for all. You had 5000 runners in a free for all and not joining the start line in respective to the pace they want to run, which even lead to some runners running outside the course trying to find space and then attempting to jump a hedge once they realised there mistake.

After a couple of miles the race settled down and it led you out of the town through an massive park with long straight roads which cut straight through. Even in this remote part of the race the support was fantastic with crowds lining the streets almost the entire 26.2 miles.

I wouldnt say its the most scenic if routes as this stayed fairly residential but the walls of noise was better motivation than a breathtaking backdrop. This is the flattest marathon i have with a 700 feet of climbing, but none of these were severe climbs and if you tackled the hills properly and relaxed coming down the other side they barely even registered as an inconvenience.

The last 5k felt like you were running into a headwind, which may been the effect of running over 23 miles or an actual headwind, but at this point you just hit a wall of noise and were spurred on by the shouting, giving every last bit of effort and leaving it all out there.

I was delighted to get my times back on track and after a poor start i ran 2:49:04 and finished 236th, Cath managed to keep her times tumbling with another pb 3:40:11.

My overall verdict would be if you cant get in London this is a great 2nd choice, it might lack the iconic sights of London but the atmosphere and goody bags start to make amends capped of by copious amounts of Guiness make it a no brainer for your diaries.

Loch Rannoch Half Marathon - Sunday 14th October 2018

Siân & Tony ran the Loch Rannoch Half Marathon
The course was flooded the night before the race, they had to change the course over night as parts of the course were under water.
The new course was very undulating but very scenic along the shores of Loch Rannoch.
It was a lovely Sunny ☀️ cool day which made perfect running conditions.
Siân finishing in 1hr 59mins getting her best time this year & a brilliant sub 2hrs
Tony finishing in 1hr 38mins also getting this years best time.

Race report courtesy of Tony Champken

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Cardiff half marathon - Sunday 7th September 2018

Its the second biggest half marathon after the Great North Run.The weather was cool at first but the sun emerged and it was perfect conditions.There were big crowds all the way round and a fantastic atmosphere.
We had a good Wye Valley turnout but it was tricky getting everyone together for photos.Our first boy home was Steve Flowers, with Peter Nugent not too far behind and Paul Davies (AKA Dad) was 3rd! Clare Sims was our first girl across the line and Cath Watkins next,with Lucy Mason close on her heels, first time at Cardiff for Lucy.
Brian Symonds won his age category again, by a very wide margin.
Thanks to Jason Smith for his support on the day and the Nugent family too.Good to see Lucy Smith competing again !
The times of our runners and some associated athletes are as follows :

Steve Flowers 1:20:11

Peter Nugent 1:29:05

Paul Davies 1:33:09

Clare Sims 1:34:06

Shaun Hoyes 1:40:27

Cath Watkins 1:41:37

Lucy Mason 1:44:00

Paddy Nugent 1:44:14

James Vidler 1:45:04

Jan Edwards 1:51:23
Ann Pritchard 1:53:07
Brian Symonds 1:54:25
Debi Clifford 1:58:45
Lucy Smith 2:06:25
Hollie Francis 2:06:31
Robert Vidler 2:20:53
Chris Walden 2:43:31

Well done all !

Race report courtesy of Jan Edwards

Cheltenham half marathon - Sunday 30th September 2018

Tony & Siân ran the Cheltenham Half Marathon, on a cool bright day starting and finishing at the racecourse. The race was well supported by the locals all the way round. 
Siân finished in a great 2:00:00 just missing by 1 sec for under 2hrs. !!!😱
Tony finished in 1:39:01 obtaining an Elite time for the over 60s Which Qualifies for a free place next year. 

Report courtesy of Tony Champken

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Lake Vyrnwy half marathon - Sunday 9th September 2018

Jane Hayde & I drove the long journey up to Lake Vyrnwy on the 9th Sept to do the half marathon. We were persuaded to do this one on account of it being flat, unlike most of our local races!
After completing the Worcester half back in May in the boiling hot sunshine, I was hoping for better weather conditions as the heat slowed me down & I didn't achieve the time the time I wanted. We left Hereford in the sunshine & as we drove nearer, the clouds built & much to our delight it began raining!
I personally thoroughly enjoyed the flat course & for once, not having to dread what kind of incline was potentially waiting around the corner! I'm sure the view of the Lake was gorgeous if you could see it through the cloud & drizzle!
It was well organised & well supported & you were given a t shirt & a medal at the end. I would recommend it to anyone in pursuit of a PB, if you don't mind the travelling. 
I was thrilled to have achieved a PB of 1 hour 37 mins, knocking a minute off my previous time 2 years ago!

Report courtesy of Becki Ansfield

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Salomon Glen Coe Skyline - Sunday 16th September

On 16th September 200 runners assembled in Kinlochleven to race the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline. The field comprised some of the best mountain runners from around the world, including Killian Journet, fresh from winning his World Skyrunning title the day before.

The field also included two Wye Valley Runners, Dan Lewis and myself (Ward Linney) who had spent a good chunk of the summer running up and down the biggest hills we could find, to prepare for what would be 21 miles of mountainous terrain, including 9000 feet of ascent and sections of moderate rock climbing all thrown into the mix.

As we stood in the start pen, slightly awed by the company, the rain lashed down and the wind howled to properly introduce us to the Scottish Highland weather. A lone piper belted out Flower of Scotland to add to the already buzzing atmosphere, the starting hooter was sounded and we were off.

The first 6 miles were relatively straight forward as they followed the large West Highland Way path and they lead us to the most difficult section of the race. Curved Ridge, a grade 3 scramble or moderate rock climb, which took us from the base of Glen Coe to the high point of the day on the summit of Buachaille Etive Mor at 1022 meters.

We then had to battle our way through the 50-60 mph winds that were whipping over the summits for a couple of miles before dropping back down to the relative shelter of the valley.

We didn’t stay low for long though as after wading through the river there was another steep climb up the 2nd mountain of the day, the 925 meter peak of Buachaille Etive Beag. This time up slippery, muddy terrain rather than rock. Dan was well ahead of me by this point and Killian had already finished!!

The next valley crossing included a feed station so the final climb of the day was well fuelled by cheese sandwiches though no less painful on my now cramping legs. The Herefordshire winter cross country league prepared us well for the final descent as it included a couple of miles along a wet, muddy and very slippery ridge before getting back onto the West Highland Way path and a fast few miles back to the finish.

Dan was the first Wye Valley Runner home in 05:34:05 and I came in at 06:38:49. We were both happy with our races and glad to be a part of an amazing international event.

To show you what we were up against, Killian Journet won overall with a time of 03:37:15. Incredible!

 

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Worcester 10k - Sunday 16th September 2018

A select few WVRs ventured over to Worcester to take on this City centre race which is rapidly gaining in popularity. First to finish was Rob Gilligan in 45.51, with Lynne Compton following in 48.23. Becky Humphries completed the WVR results in 51.14.

There is also a half marathon as part of the days racing, but I couldn't see any WVR finishers.

Race report courtesy of Martin Flowers

Swansea 10k - Sunday 16th September 2018

There was a day when so many Wye Valley Runners wanted to run this famous race that we used to hire a coach. Only 2 of our lads braved it this year and to be honest, looking at the results, the race does seem to have lost it's gloss, with only one runner getting under the 30 minute mark. Steven Flowers was first home, running 36.43, not a PB, but as he is building up his mileage for the Dublin marathon in October, a pretty good effort nonetheless. This was good enough for 45th place overall. Lea Wood, who has been looking good in training, achieved a PB with 38.13 and is rounding into form nicely for the Cardiff half marathon in a few weeks.

Race report courtesy of Martin Flowers

The Big Dipper 10k - Sunday 16th September 2018

A small group of Wye Valley runners made the short trip down to Upton Bishop to take on this challenging but enjoyable race on quiet roads around the Gloucestershire border. The good turnout was no doubt due to the prospect of some Super 10 points

First back in 10th place was Richard Williams in 41.13. Tony Champken (now sponsored by Swan brewery) was next in a very creditable 46.48. Tony was 19th and first M60. Not far behind in 21st place came Brent Lowson in 48.08, believed to be a PB. Jan Edwards was next in 53.38 and first lady over 60. Sian Champken was comfortably under the hour in 58.06, but Bryan Symonds seemed to be taking it easy in 62.38, securing another M70 prize. 

This is a small but very enjoyable race (which I have watched!). Lets have a few more WVRs next year if it doesn't clash with other races.

 A special mention to Barry Reynolds from our neighbours Hereford Couriers, who for once didn't finish second and came home to win the race, as well as obviously being first M45. Well done Barry!

Race report courtesy of Martin Flowers

Barry Island 10k - 5th August 2018

Didn’t we have a lovely day, the day we went to Barry!  A beautiful day, we had sun all the way and all for £20 you know.

This was the inaugural running of the Barry Island 10k and it didn’t disappoint.  The organisation from start to finish was spot on.  Car parking was plentiful, the bag drop and collect experience was faultless, the start pens were easy to access and not over-crowded and the whole event was managed extremely well by an army of organisers, marshals and volunteers.

The route started and finished on the road above the promenade and along the way took in views around the docks , the grand building of the Vale of Glamorgan Council, Romilly Park, the Marine Lake and old Knap Swimming Pool and the harbour .  The course was ‘lumpy’ to say the least - incorporating short, sharp climbs and some longer steady ones; but with every up there was a down (as well as some welcome flatter sections too).  

Once over the finish line, runners received a finishers t-shirt and medal (and quite possibly a touch of sun burn) for their efforts.  Then after reuniting with families, friends and fellow club runners, many participants took to the sea for a paddle or a swim to soothe those tired muscles.  Whilst Wye Valley Runners were happy to paddle, there were only two who actually braved the swim!!

Well done to Brian, Lynne, Becky, Rob and Amy who represented Wye Valley Runners on a very hot, sunny day in Barry.  Thank you to Jan (who didn’t run, due to a calf niggle) who was there to support and shout encouragement.

 

Report courtesy of Lynn Compton

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Ludlow 10K

Saturday evening when most people are knocking back a few cold beverages 3 of us put our evening to a more productive use with a little trip out Ludlow Castle where we ended up participating in a 10k race which can only be described as not flat.

This is the 2nd year this race has taken place and the first time it was a 10k race after last years slight mix up which meant we got an extra 2k free of charge, they definitely got closer to the money this time round.

Many of you who have taken part in the Storm the Castle duathlon will be familiar with this route. This is a 2 lap course on closed roads starting at Ludlow Castle, you head off at a gallop through the high street as the locals come staggering out of there local watering holes to see what all the fuss is about before joining in the vigorous cheering, you then head out on the quickest part of the course thinking you could be on for a pb here before you remember you are in Ludlow. After a rolling climbs about 1.5 miles you are met with an off road section aptly called the lactic ladder, which are like mini croc 8 steps to take you up around the woods with a few technical to test the road runners who switch off and don't look where there going, you end up coming out at about the same place to then head straight into yet another climb called "the wall" which is one of the steep hills back into Ludlow town where you finish your first lap just in time for the locals to have replenished there refreshments and cheer you on your way for the second lap to repeat it all over again.

The race picked up a bad reputation last year for getting the distance wrong, but this is still a great race. There is a fantastic atmosphere around the town with brilliant local support. You are never going to set  a quick time here but that doesn't detract away from the enjoyment of the occasion.

I was delighted to have picked up 3rd place in a time of 36:54, Peter Nugent made it into the top 10 finishing 9th in a time of 39:42 and James Vidler was 62nd in a time of 47:43

Bath Two tunnels race - 8th July 2018

Cath Watkins Siân & Tony Champken ran the Bath Two Tunnels Races.


On a very hot day Cath ran the 10K in 48 mins & Siân & Tony ran the Half Marathon ( 2-08 & 1-51 ) completing the medal set and both collecting the engraved glass challenge Trophy.


It was lovely and Cool in the Tunnels but it was like going into an Oven when you came out.
This is a very well organised & friendly event.


We highly recommend it for next year.

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Abbeydore cross country - Wednesday 27th June 2018

The second race in the Herefordshire Summer Cross Country, hosted by WVR, took place on a glorious but very hot evening. 123 runners, including 25 Wye Valley Runners, found their way to Mervs farm,  where the race started. After the initial stampede across the fields, the competitors were soon into their running and beginning the descent towards the brook. This is a tough course with many hills along the way, after the fairly gentle start and a couple of stings in the tail after re-entering the field towards the finish.

John Pugh from Builth was the first to appear at the end of the 5.1 mile route, with Matt James from the Couriers a little way behind. A close race for third was won by our own Sam Mayglothling - the first back for WVR. Ably backed up by Steven Flowers (9th), Dan Lewis (11th) and Jeremy Jehan (13th), it was looking like Ludlow would not repeat their performance at High Vinnals. Three more WVR men, recent recruit Richard Williams, Peter Nugent and Lea Wood were also in the first 20 finishers. We needed another good performance from our ladies and they did not fail to deliver. Laura Tootell was third lady overall, continuing her fine run of form and first WVR lady in 37th. Not far behind Becky Davies just held off Becki Ansfield to record 55th and 56th respectively. Lucy Mason had a good run to finish not far behind in 67th and we are beginning to get some real depth in our ladies team again. In the end it was a comfortable win for WVR on the night, form Monross Trailblazers and Croft Ambrey with Ludlow relegated to 4th this time. We are also leading overall after 2 races, 4 points ahead of Ludlow. Our B team is also lying joint 5th, so fantastic performances all round.

All to play for at Westhope on Wednesday 11th July. If I'm not there to cheer you on, it will be because I am watching England get to the World Cup Final!

 

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Swansea Half Marathon

A new race on my calendar this year was the Swansea Half Marathon. Having participated in the Swansea 10k the last few years I had high hopes for a fast well organised course.

Well the organisers didn't disappoint, this was a very fast course. A well stacked field that in its 5th year has now attracted over 6000 runners and with only 112 feet of climbing you wont need to be doing hill reps. In fact there are barely even any corners to contend so you can hit your stride you have trained and just grind that out for 13.1 miles.

The route does a small little loop around the city, you then get on the main road and stay on it till the mumbles, you then turn and come back in along the footpath nothing could be simpler. You are even encouraged almost every step of the way by enthusiastic supporters. Literally the only thing that wasn't accounted for was the heat. There was plenty of water stops  but with very little shade and only a moderate sea breeze the heat became unbearable, I know mile 8 was where it really started to hit me and I could feel the pb slipping through my fingers. I was happy to keep struggling on though and still manage my quickest time of the year of 1:19:29 and finishing 34th.

We were also represent by Juliet Moxon who confessed to taking it easy ran a 1:41:58 and finishing and finishing 65th lady, I have my suspicions that she took her time to get some peace and quiet from Andy's bellyaching about his beloved kiwis losing to England in the Rugby League.

All in all a brilliant race I just wish the weather could have held off for another hour or so.

Offas Dyke 15 - Saturday June 16th 2018

If there is such a thing as ideal conditions for an event like this , then today was those . 🤔
Three sets of club colours took on a tough course along the border .
The Marshall problems have been sorted , there are plenty of markers and jelly babies en route .
Jo Ellis was sub 2.30 , yours truly , sub 2.40 and Sian sub 3.00 so we all had a good day .
Two others with club connections took part . Well done lads .
Runners had come from all over the country for this one and the signs are it could grow .
With a super medal at the finish , I can recommend it for any off road types .
Oh , and one more thing for the second year running , in the same race I was first Wye Valley male home so come all you racing snake young ‘uns don’t let the old fart make it a hat trick

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Malvern Joggers 10k - Wednesday 13th June 2018

THE VIEW FROM THE BACK

It could have been the largest gathering of people in Castlemorton Common since the infamous rave of May ‘92.

Two Wye Valley (me and Bill), two Couriers and almost 40 Pershore Plum Plodders were among the 278 runners who toed the start line of the annual Malvern Joggers 10km race in Welland on Wednesday evening June 13th.

I started near the back, to give former Wye Valley Jon Barnes a head start. After half a mile we were off the common and heading across a wheat field towards Little Malvern Priory, a stunning sight in the early evening sunlight. Soon we were back on boggy ground on the hills above the common, before a half-way cup of water and a jelly baby or two. Past Gullet quarry, where signs warned us there is danger of death in its dark seductive water.

In the last two miles I found myself surrounded by Pershore purple vests  ….. Felt like I was in a Cadburys advert. Thanks to their company, I found an extra gear, and almost sprinted across the line, for a free banana.

It’s a long walk back to the carpark. By the time I got there, Bill Griffiths had had his free curry and was on his way home.

So, a great race. Well organised and marshalled, beautiful course with great views, some goodies at the finish, plus the free vegetable curry in a chapatti wrap. Chip timing, although the chip was more like an electronic tag.  Shame the race clashed with the summer off-road race in High Vinnals.

Results

Men:

1st : Neil Laurenson (Black Pear Joggers) in a new course record of 36:23

2nd: Jon Barnes (Cheltenham) 37:40

3rd: Chris Grubb (unattached) 38:20

Women:

1st: Shona Crombie-Hicks (Tewksbury) 42:24

2nd: Karen Lewing (unattached) 45:31

3rd: Sally Dring (Black Pear Joggers) 45:59

 

Wye Valley

Bill Griffiths: 207th in 63:26

Peter Smith: 240th in 69:35

Report courtesy of Peter Smith

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Magic Roundabout 6 - Sunday 10th June 2018

Last Sunday a small but select group of Wye Valley Runners ventured into Wales to tackle the brilliant Magic Roundabout race, organised by Hay Hotfooters. Conditions were perfect and competitors were able to admire the views before the start of the race, which is at the top of a hill - The Begwns. The race is on tracks and grassland and after the recent dry spell, conditions were good for running. After a fairly hectic downhill dash, the runners settle into a series of climbs and descents before the final climb and then short sprint to the finish, which is considerably lower than the start. 

At the front, John Pugh from Builth came home first in an impressive 37.36 just over a minute ahead of Matt James from Hereford Couriers 38.45 and Andrew Salt from Croft Ambrey 39.47. In the ladies race Ashleigh Bailey from Wye Valley Canicross was first over the line (just behind her dog) in a very fast 44.27. Next and first over 50 lady was veteran fell runner Niki Morgan from Mynydd Du in 45.23 followed by her club mate Fay Johnson in 46.01.

First home for Wye Valley was Becky Davies, making a welcome return to racing, finishing 44th overall and 8th lady, closely followed by Jane Hayde in 52.48. Next was our first man Tony Champken in 53.31. Full Wye Valley results are below. Special mention to Category winners Jan and Brian (who actually beat the first M70!)

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