The Rowen children counted down from ten, James sounded the hooter, and the 49 runners set off from the Carnival Field, leaving the chain saw carvers, bouncy castles, vintage cars and other attractions behind them.
Along the lane through the village, and a right turn to the start of the ascent, and the first hazard of the day, a group of motorcyclists wishing to go the same way. Yelling at them to watch out for the runners, the tail-enders heard no horns or screams and jogged on, before slowing to a fast walk.
Up past the youth hostel and on to the track, the tarmac was left behind. The sun beat down, but the little breeze prevented it being too stifling, and the water at Cae Coch was much appreciated. Sharon and Victoria decided they had had enough, so turned around, leaving the sweepers to chase the runners 200m ahead on the climb to the summit of Tal y Fan. By this time Gavin Roberts (Eryri), Michael Corrales (Dark Peak) and Jez Brown (Buckley) were already out in front, chasing across the dry bog towards the Penmaenmawr stone circle.
The tail enders swapped around, with Geoff’s blisters from the previous week starting to get the better of him, while Menai picked up speed on the less heathery terrain. On to the North Wales Coastal path, and the dry conditions made for easy running. At the stream the marshal’s family were paddling in the only flowing water to be seen all day. Over the bridge, a short climb, and on to another welcome water station, before following the track to the dry ford.
The arrows set out the night before had not been moved by the sheep or wild ponies, so everyone made their way safely along the course to the final check point before the steep descent back to the road, avoiding the inquisitive heifers, and the final stretch of tarmac back to the Carnival Field. Danny had got the hose pipe out half way down the hill, ready to shower anyone who asked, although he declined offers for his bike.
Well done to Gavin who finished first, three minutes faster than his winning time of 2017, closely followed by Michael and Jez. Ursula Moore (Pensby) led the Ladies home, with Wendy Trimbel three minutes behind.
A huge thank you to the marshals, Ann and Sharon for registration/timekeeping, Mike Blake for sweeping and Peter for lending the radio, and all of the runners, without whom there would not be a race.