write up by The Grubbaloid’s (Race Organiser’s) not very glamorous, under-paid assistant
Dire warnings of donner und blitzen, monsoonal downpours and plague of frogs didn’t quite materialise for the annual jaunt up Waun Fach. The 59 steely competitors laughed in the face of a couple of fleeting rain showers and just got on with the job in hand – slogging up and down a big hill – with some along bits too.
At the pointy end, Dominic Jones from Mercia took the lead in a super-quick time of 47 minutes and 35 seconds, mirroring to the second, the course record set by Matt Stott from MDC in 2014. Hugh Aggleton from MDC (returning from injury) steamed up Castell Dinas to finish a trifling 16 seconds behind. Jim Webb from Team Bath was a couple of minutes behind the leaders in 49.57.
Super speedy Welsh International, Anna Bartlett from Baston Hill Salad Dodgers was first female in 57.13 – clearly not dodging enough salad. Her club-mate Ollie Parry was 6th overall, so the club name must indeed be ironic. Helen Brown, having had a 3 hour warm up (having arrived at 11, thinking the race started at 12 instead of 2pm), vented her frustration in fine form by taking the second spot in 58.06. I had witnessed a good battle between her and Helen Marshall from Aberystwyth AC up to Waun Fach, but Helen Brown’s legendary descending skills bagged her an extra couple of minutes on her rival, and Helen Marshall took the 3rd spot. BUT – clearly it’s all about 4th place…
1st Male Vet 40 and 4th overall (such a good position to finish in, 4th…) was Paul Murrin from Chepstow Harriers, fresh from his victory on a mountain bike at the recent event in Chepstow Park Woods. 1st Male Vet 50 was Peter Sowerby, and 1st Male Vet 60 was David Smout from Mynydd Du. Les Williams was 1st Male Vet 70.
Female Vet 40 prize winner (behind Anna and Helen who are in that age that category) was Lisa Jeffrey from Chepstow Harriers – knocking off over 4 minutes from her time last year – and she claims she can’t descend for toffee… 1st Female Vet 50 was some old bugg*r (who also came 4th don’t you know). There were no Vet 60 ladies.
Andy wanted me to specifically mention that his renown generosity extended, not only to giving prizes, but also to providing one strawberry to each competitor – yes, that’s right one strawberry per competitor. Those transgressing (taking more than one) were taken outside the riding stables and seen off by a Colt revolver. Rona has since fessed up to taking two. I’m not fessing up to consuming half the punnet.
Andy also wanted me to mention that the Waun Fach fell race is a classic horseshoe route, that has a delightful descent along the Dragon’s back, which feels so good to canter down, just like running through a meadow of poppies in soft focus. But, we know all that – so back to the interesting stuff, like who else pinched all the strawberries and are gonna get it. Oh, he did also provide some home-made cakes of the highest quality, carefully concealed in Tescos everyday value packets. He provided water too – and not even from the tap – actual bottles of water – presumably left over from the Severn Bridge half marathon. This will teach him to get someone else to write his reports.
He also wanted me to mention the sadistic ‘knoll’ to finish – but I’m sure those that aren’t still in therapy don’t want to be reminded about that.
Big big big thanks to our stalwart marshals for standing atop the col/summits, with a devil-may-care attitude to what horrors the weather would throw at you. Thanks for your cheery support – and hopefully you were offered at least two strawberries back at race HQ for your troubles. Dimitri was col marshal and I do believe he experienced some inclement conditions. However, Sue and Gerry somehow managed to avoid getting wet at all – they must have been very good in a previous life. Thanks also to Rob Brown for parking cars, John Darby for sweeping, and Lisa for Registration duties. I’ve also been asked to thank myself. I believe this is for co-registration duties, filling out the labels, entering them on the results board, doing the prize giving, entering and publishing the results on Facebook after cooking Andy’s dinner…., so a bl**dy big thank you to me. I’m still waiting for my promised second punnet of strawberries.
Apologies for the curious incident of the appearing and disappearing provisional results on the WFRA Facebook page. This is down to combined incompetence of both Andy and I to make any sense of Excel. Next year the results are going on parchment.
Thank you all for coming – the end.