Longtown Llanthony Loop       Saturday 14th April       Photos from Stewart Thompson       Results

88 runners stood on the start line in Longtown for the inaugural race and second counter in the South Wales summer fell race series. They were treated to sunshine, light winds and good visibility – yes, they could actually see the Hatterrall ridge! Despite being coated in a persistent blanket of cloud all week, the Met Office forecast was right and we were treated to fantastic conditions on the day.

This new challenging course takes runners up the ‘fall line’ through Cayo Farm, up a long traversing ascent with a switch back to join the Offa’s Dyke path and then a respite as runners head north to Loxidge Tump. It’s an exciting and quite technical descent into Llanthony to touch the Abbey wall before starting the stiff climb up through fields and woodland towards the Rhiw. When the col is tantalisingly close, runners have to muster their energy for a gently rising ascent to the trig at 552m before the fast and furious descent to the Olchon Brook……oh yes and there is the sting in the tail of an up-hill finish. Due to bird nesting restrictions limited route choice was permitted and runners had to visit 8 checkpoints on the route.

Full credit to all runners for finishing this tough new course. Only one person had to pull out due to fracturing her wrist in a tumble on the Loxidge descent and in true stoic fashion she’s already talking about doing it next year.

As it was the first race new course records were up for grabs. Congratulations to Mark Hopkinson of Mynydd Du who held off the challenge of Peter Ryder from Aberdare Valley and Alec Hough of Mercia Fell Runners to set the new record of 1:07:27.

Tough competition for the top places amongst the females too with Helen Brown of Mynydd Du a convincing winner and record holder in 1:22:46, whilst Hayley Evans of Buckley Runners and Helen Marshall of Aberystwyth AC battled it out for 2nd and 3rd places respectively. Other category prizes:

1st MV40 Jim Masters of Wye Valley RC
1st MV50 Paul Jeggo of Springfield AC
1st MV60 John Aggleton of MDC
1st MV70 Gary Gunner of Croft Ambrey RC
1st FV40 Rhian Probert of Mynydd Du
1st FV50 Rona Davies of Mynydd Du
1st FV60 Caroline Dallimore of MDC

\ A big thank you to Jean Price, the Passmore family and BBNP for the use of their land, to Castell Howell who provided the prizes and to the cheerful volunteer marshals from Longtown Outdoor Learning Centre, Longtown Mountain Rescue Team and the local community. A special thank you to Rae and Nick who took good care of the casualty.
Hope to see you next year,       Mike Fawcett       Race organiser