Tour de Calch    Sun 26th June    Results

It was a lovely sunny day.
The day after the race. However, after the race briefing, the 45 stalwart fellows and fellowesses who endured the slog up the lane to the start, were faced with a further big grind up into the mist, to checkpoint 1. Also their last checkpoint on the way back. Although the route was flagged all the way up, several opted for a route they’d previously reccied. The Organiser had mentioned that following the flagged route was optional.

Immediately after checkpoint 1 the course levelled out and quick progress was made to Allt Mawr, where runners turned at the Trig to head south and checkpoint 3 at Cerrig Calch. This is fast terrain but there were plenty of stones on the peaty path requiring concentration. Leaving the summit, there is no distinct path for perhaps 75m and this caused five competitors never to reach checkpoint 4. The position of checkpoint 4 also caused issues due mainly to there being two slightly different versions of the map used by competitors. However, descending from Cerrig Calch on the path would’ve brought runners to him, and two clearly identifiable yellow flags, whichever version they had. Assuming they found the path !

The following checkpoint at the end of a large crag feature, saw runners approach from all directions. Or not at all. This checkpoint, 5, was the start of the taped route. This lead runners along a grassy weakness littered with boulders, to a 25m boulder field, back up the weakness to a flat but very rocky quarry track. Rock and boulders feature very little in south wales races, so some less experienced local runners did well to tackle them. The lead changed hands here, with Pete Ryder overtaking a strong Ewan Morton, holding his lead to the finish. A short pull up, then a gradual runnable climb to the last checkpoint, 6, saw runners descend out of the mist to descend through the Bilberry to the Finish. Louise Beetlestone was first Lady to appear successfully out of the mist, at the finish.

All runners were eventually accounted for but only 32 completed the route, with another 13 doing a ‘Magical Mystery Tour’, including some who’d previously reccied it. There was much humorous banter, and one broken thumb. The Organiser would like to thank his sturdy checkpoint marshals, Dick, John, Kay, Martin, Gerry and Sue, and the Registration Team, Andy, Niki, Mike and Denise for their efforts. Thanks also for the constructive comments of the ‘posse’ who contributed to the conversation in the pub at the end.

Next year, the map/checkpoint anomaly will be sorted and the competitors will be delighted to hear that they need not go to checkpoint 3, Cerrig Calch. Before they cheer, perhaps they would be advised to see what challenge that then presents them with !

Onwards and upwards     Andy Creber     Organiser