Waun Fach    Sat 19th July    Results

There may have been some fun runners who paid overmuch attention to weather forecasters and their symbols of donner und blitzen in the Beacons, (and we know who they are) but the hardcore (and we could see who they were) showed up on Sunday afternoon and were rewarded with excellent running conditions at Waun Fach - mild wind, a little mist on the top, no rain, uncertain sunshine – and good times across the board in this inov-8 / WFRA Open Welsh Championships counter.p> Records are there to be broken: it`s only last year since the course had to be shortened to start at the Cwm Trefforest Riding Centre, but they took a tumble. Matt Stott won in a sizzling finish, pipping fellow MDC clubmate Chris Jones in a sprint up the final sharp climb to the finish on Castle Hill. Chris clearly thought Matt had not tried hard enough earlier to have kept these reserves untapped, but the spectators had seen Matt`s somersault and recovery behind him on the last descent of the Dragon`s Back.

First Lady home was Lauren Jeska from Aberystwyth, who also convincingly broke the 2013 record.p> There were a few more final sprint finishes to come, but some runners, by now walkers, stopped, out of breath inches from the timing beam on the finishing line. This did not influence final standings, no more than the complaint registered against an experienced runner who took a creative line at the first marshalling point, unheeding of vocal protest around him and in flagrant contempt of the Race Director`s pre-start briefing . At the subsequent stewards` enquiry, it was accepted that the miscreant had probably lost time with this ploy, that overall placings were unaffected, and so it was decided that no disciplinary decision would be taken. Few runners appreciate the final gasp up to the finish. It`s a wonderful vantage point for spectators, however, to view the last downhill stretch and, surprisingly perhaps, to appreciate the audible sounds of laboured breathing and sometimes unsporting expletives from quite some distance away.

Prize for heaviest footfall goes to Mark Palmer, in third place.

Many thanks are extended to the Riding Centre, for their continued hospitality. To the marshals, Alice Bedwell, Les Williams, Andy Bray and Dick Finch who struggled to his post while feeling very much under the weather; to Gareth Jones for sweeping and to Karen Elvers on registration, also many thanks.