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.