TAL Y FAN     Saturday 12 July 2014    Results

The weather forecast was not good, with rain predicted at 2.30pm when most of the runners would be out on the open moorland between the summit of Tal y Fan and the Penmaenmawr Stone circle. One past “sweeper” was on holiday in New Zealand, and our possible replacement declined citing a broken toe. Helen the Race Organiser fancied a trip around the course, but is not good in low cloud, so should we go ahead with no sweeper? Fifteen minutes before the start, Iorwerth Roberts, a V70 turned up who knew the course, and was likely to be at the back of the field. Helen found her vest and bum bag, and left instructions for the prize giving, scheduled for 4pm.

The Carnival Queen sounded the hooter and the field was off, with the 2013 winner, Jez Brown soon at the front of the field and attacking the hill to the youth hostel. Helen and Iorwerth made a steadier start, chatting about the course as they went. The Cae Coch cut off of 40 minutes was playing on Iorwerth's mind, in 2013 he got there in 36 minutes, would we make it in time, or be turned back?

The steady start turned into a brisk walk as the 25% road became 33%, and the rest of the 44 runners pulled ahead. The humidity felt high, as we pressed on, gradually moving to a gentle running pace. The stile at Cae Coch loomed, as did a table with water. At 34 minutes Iorwerth was happy as he climbed the stile and headed up the grassy path towards the summit. Reverting to the brisk walk we made our way upwards. At the summit the marshals reported that Jez went through ages ago at speed, and was now through the last check point and heading towards the finish.

Iorwerth led the way across the open moorland. The recent sunny days meant the boggy bits were fairly dry and good progress was made over the bilberry bushes. The wild ponies watched as we went by, but the sheep ignored us. The marshals at the Stone Circle stood out in their high-viz and we turned to head back to Rowen. More gates, more marshals, and another welcome water stop before we passed the final check point and started the steep descent. We're late for the presentation I thought as we zig-zagged down to the road and the last mile.

Passing the pub we got lots of applause, a beer would have been nice, but no time as we aimed for Iorwerth's 2013 time of 2:14:02. Jez had been back for an hour, finishing 3 minutes quicker than in 2013, while Iorwerth crossed the line in 2:12:57.

A big thanks to all our marshals and helpers, and to the rain for staying away until after 6pm.

Helen and Doug Blair     Race Organisers