Winner Matt O Keefe
The race is well established in the Welsh Fell Running calendar and entails running to seven mandatory checkpoints (including Cribyn, Pen y Fan, Corn Ddu and Tor y foel) from the dam at Talybont Reservoir. The race is approximately 30.6km long with 1372m ascent and qualifies as a long race. The race was run in the clockwise direction this year with a long climb to Tor y Foel to start. The race was a counter in the South Wales Fell Running Series this year.
The Brecon Beacons experienced a baking hot day with a temperature of 19-20 dec C on the tops and 24-25 deg C in the valleys.
Matt O’Keefe (MDC), Andy Davies (Mercia) and Jack Aghew (Mercia) had a great little tussle at the front of the race for its entire duration. All three were never further apart than three minutes during the entire race with the exception of the last leg from Carn Pica to the Finish. At Cribyn, the order was Jack, Andy, Matt. By Carn Pica this had changed to Andy, Matt & Jack with approximately a minute between each. However Matt had a very strong last leg and overtook Andy on the descent. Matt O’Keefe was the overall winner in a time of 3:19:47 with Andy Davies second in 3:22:04 and Jack Aghew third in 3:28:15.
Mel Price (Mercia) finished sixth overall and won the ladies race in a time of 3:30:42. Lizzie Wraith (Team Bath) finished second in 3:37:21 and Gemma Carter (Serpentine RC) finished third in 3:43:19. Excellent results for Lizzie who has a 9-month year old baby and Gemma who competed in her first fell race!
Niki Radnedge won the male over 40 veterans category and Andy Davies (Mercia) won the male over 50 veterans category. The prize for male over 50s was awarded to Paul Jeggo (Springfield Striders) as Andy Davies had won a prize for finishing second overall. Tony Wooldridge (Dursley & District AC) won the male over 60 veterans category whilst Gareth Jones (MDC) won the male over 70s category.
Whilst Mel Price (Mercia) won the female over 40 category, the prize was awarded to Kate Whitfield and Nicola Richards (both Mercia) who finished together. Beverley Tucker (Mynydd Du) won the female over 50 category.
The podium finishers and the winners in each age category were awarded with a bottle of wine each. The prizes were awarded by Lydia Gould who is the Brecon Beacons Fell Race female record holder. The record is 2:59:23 and set in 1991 in the anti-clockwise direction. It was a delight for the current race organisers Gary and Dawn to meet Lydia.
The male and female team prizes (lowest aggregate position for first three members in each team) were won by Mercia. Andy Davies, Jack Aghew and David Chetta were the male counters whilst Mel Price, Kate Whitfield and Nicola Richards were the female counters.
The race attracted a large field for a non-Championship race with 52 runners starting the race and 47 completing the full course. The participants suffered in the intense heat; some of which probably hadn’t taken enough water for the event.
The race organisers, Gary and Dawn Davies would like to thank each of the volunteers. These included John Darby, Richard Cronin, Sion and Amanda James, Derek Thornley, Alan Stone, John & Sophie Hallett, Martin & Kay Lucas, Keri & Pauline James. John Darby also did some back-breaking work in clearing some of the lesser used paths. Thanks to Pauline James for helping with the registration and finish line duties too. Without them, the race would fail to exist. A BIG BIG thank you.
The race used the Racetek race monitoring system for the second time which was a great success. The system allows both the marshalls and the race organizer to identify the competitors that are expected to arrive at and been to each checkpoint. A big thank you to Adrian Moir and Ellie Salisbury for introducing the system and providing the training.
The organisers remind potential competitors that map reading skills (using map and compass) are necessary for this race.