The Start..............Photos by SJ Photography
The lead group heading out
Full Peris winner Gareth Wyn Hughes at Pen y Pass
Every race report should begin with something along the lines of “The sun shone and the sky was blue as I drew back the curtains on the morning of race day”, but this is fell running in North Wales and the 2017 edition of The Peris Horseshoe was definitely more a case of “it was hammering down, the sky was dark and brooding and low cloud covered all the summits as I drew back the curtains”!!
The conditions were challenging to say the least, however, there was the usual fell runner response of “it wasn’t that bad” from most and an appreciation that it was far worse for the marshals who were out there. The first of the two starts saw the Half Peris runners and Early Full Peris starters take on the challenge of the climb up to Elidir Fawr before progressing to Y Garn and Glyder Fawr, then tackling the descent to Pen y Pass where cake would be waiting. Gonks Hughes (Hebog) made the early running amongst the men in the Half, closely followed by Shaun Davies (Eryri) and Steve Toogood (Buckley) to the summit of Elidir Fawr. Shaun then took the lead and led over Y Garn and began the descent from Glyder Fawr with an 18 second head start on Gonks. I’m told by Shaun that Gonks then basically hurled himself down to Pen y Pass! Gonks taking the win in 2:00:56 by 29 seconds from Shaun (2:01:25). Steve Toogood was 3rd and 1st MV50 (2:04:28) just over 15 minutes ahead of 4th place and another MV50 Russell Owen (Eryri). Dave Tait was 1st MV70 (2:41:00)
In the ladies race the pattern was set early on. Jennifer Charlton was first to clear Elidir Fawr and never looked like relinquishing her lead finishing 6th overall (2:20:10). Jennifer had been 4th overall to Glyder Fawr, two men just passing her on the descent. Jenny Heming (Eryri) was second (2:25:53) and Joanne Cliffe 3rd (2:29:07). It should also be noted that the first three ladies are FV40’s. Ellie Salisbury (Eryri) 1st FV50 (2:57:42) and it was good to see her have a good/happy race after some recent challenges.
65 were in the main start for the Full Peris chasing down the 10 early starters. As a counter in both the WFRA Open Welsh & North Wales Championships we certainly reaped that benefit with a larger field than normal. In the men’s race Gareth Wyn Hughes (Mercia) showed everyone a clean pair of heels. Passing over Elidir Fawr with almost a minutes lead this steadily grew and had opened up to 5 minutes at Pen y Pass, where according to the marshals he was ‘absolutely flying’. By the finish Gareth had opened up an 11 minute gap on second place for a comfortable win. Behind him things were a bit different with Dan Doherty (Mynydd Du) and Max Wainwright (Helsby) trading blows throughout. Dan took an early lead only for Max to pass him just before Pen y Pass. Dan was back in front by the summit of Y Lliwedd, only for Max to lead over Snowdon and the final summit of Moel Cynghorion with a 7 second gap. A straight shoot out on the descent of Moel Cynghorion followed with Dan beating Max to the line by a measly 3 seconds! Dan (3:38:02), Max (3:38:05). Amazing racing over 3 ½ hours! Chris Near showed his European sabbatical hasn’t diminished his fell running abilities finishing 4th overall and a comfortable 1st MV40 (3:52:55). 1st MV50 was Barry Wilkinson (Borrowdale Fell Runners) (4:06:18) finishing 11th overall. Iwan Edgar (Eryri) was 1st MV60 (5:08:19).
Multiple winner Andrea Rowlands (Eryri) took an early lead over Elidir but was hauled in by Hayley Evans (Buckley Runners) who held a slender advantage over Glyder Fawr. Andrea took the lead again on the descent to Pen y Pass and held Hayley off for the rest of the race to win once again by just over 3 minutes (4:22:50) with Hayley 2nd (4:26:07). Lou Beetlestone was a creditable 3rd finishing one place overall behind Hayley (4:33:12). Andrea was also 1st FV40.
Lots of thanks are required and I hope I don’t miss anyone! Firstly the marshals who braved the weather: Geoff Fielding, Helen Blair, Paul Jenkinson, Nick Johns, Hazel & Brian Robbins, Maggie & Alwyn Oliver, Hayley Turner, John Humphries, Peter Lewis, Trefor & Linda, Mike Blake, Kean & Sandra Rowlands, James McQueen who were out on the course. Anne & Sharon what would we do without you! Sorted registration then up to the finish for a stint under umbrellas in occasional driving rain! Thank you ladies. Adrian and Ellie (Fabian 4) for sorting the timing and results through the RaceTek system (and managed to do the Half Peris). Electric Mountain for hosting us. First Hydro for continued support. A massive thanks to Snowdon Mountain Railway for the array of prizes donated it’s massively appreciated each year, as is the transportation of water to the summit of Snowdon. Thanks to Joe and Edgar for permission to cross their land, hopefully a good relationship can be maintained in future years also. Thanks to YHA Pen y Pass for space and a table to set up the feed station and to the National Park Wardens for use of the wi-fi for our timing system.
As in each year a special thanks goes to Mike Blake. Despite handing over the reins to the Peris 3 years ago he remains a big part of the organization of the race and the relationships he has built up over many years are invaluable. Next year is Mike’s 70th birthday and I know he intends to run so perhaps we should have a party to celebrate?
In my brief post following I forgot (shockingly!) to thank everyone who brought cake! I can confirm that every last piece was eaten and not by me before you ask! There have been several comments how welcome it was at both Pen y Pass and back at the event centre. It’s become a part of the race now and hopefully something that will continue for many years, so again thank you and my apologies for missing this out earlier.
Finally, to the runners thank you. Your continued support keeps the race alive and long may that continue.
Thanks everyone involved for a great day and see you in 2018!