Fan Fawr      Saturday 6th October 2012    Results

Summer traditionally ends on the South Wales fells the moment a bunch of thrill and pain seeking runners congregate at the fence line that marks the start line for Fan Fawr, a now habitual Winter League opener and quite probably the cheapest afternoon of fun in Wales. And even after the soggiest of many recent soggy summers we were blessed by sunny clear conditions, a day to embrace the pain, enjoy the ankle sapping mid-way bog and forget your fear on a slip-slidey sort of descent after the monsoons of September…and August, June and July.

A bijou complement of 36 souls gasped and grunted up the first ramp to the bog-lands, alternative attractions such as a local LDWA event perhaps impacting on the size of the field. Nonetheless many of the noted stalwarts of many Winter League campaigns were in harness, keen to garner some early points for the series.

Peter Ryder launched into a typically youthful ascent while all but one of the rather aged remainder of the field husbanded their resources for later, well that is looking at it fairly kindly as I am sure their maximum heart rates were incapable of matching Brycheiniog’s finest. Only neo-vet-40 Richard Johnson of Mynydd Du was able to match the early strides and proved Pete’s only real competition.

With Kay Lucas once again providing a beacon of hope and an end to the heavy breathing at the summit, the field turned for home with Peter extending his lead to just under half a minute on the gripless descent. A winning time in the 18 minutes is about par these days, the halcyon mark of 16.02 set by Graham Patten many years ago is now but a distant memory. After a near 2 minute gap Kevin Hagley, now an over-50, and a fit one, followed the two main protagonists home to seal a progressively elderly podium with the second young person (SM), Jonathan Williams making his debut in 5th. The top ten was completed by a returning Steve Littlewood, hardly believably a newly hatched V60, fresh from a summer of time-trialing around the roads of Herefordshire, which in all probability marks the end of any real competition for the V60 prize this winter!

Naomi Prosser, now running for Cardiff University was the first of just 4 lady finishers, with Catherine Etchell, a local Libanus girl sneaking in ahead of Jan Richards for the LV40 accolade.

My thanks to summit marshal Kay Lucas and Chas Ryder at the finish. The Winter League caravan now moves to the slopes of Sugar Loaf for a late October thrash and the first decent pub of the series.

Chris Gildersleve