Trick or Treat?

It looks like the weather opted for tricky rather than treat-laden this week resulting in a number of cancelled races and a very bare GDH inbox. 

Clwydian Hills Fell Race (courtesy of John S.)

Two harriers ventured out in the torrential rain of Glossop and Manchester to check out the Clwydian Hills fell race. John Pollard posted this on FB on Saturday, a rare phenomenon of a fell race with entry on the day option. Only £7 to enter, a 9 mile route with about 3000ft of ascent followed by soup, tea and cakes, what else would you rather do on a wet Sunday?

OK time to own up, we got to Cilcain village just as the rain stopped and the sun came out and the forecast of blustery showers with sunny spells looked correct.  Registration easy, no kit check, the Welsh FRA simply expect you to carry the right kit, nice to be treated like an adult who can take responsibility for their own decisions.

A quick jog to the start 500m out of the village, a short pre-race speech and we’re off.  A very brief route description; 9 checkpoints (take any line you wanted between CPs), 5 climbs and not much flat running. John and I had agreed we would run together as we weren’t confident of the route or worrying the category contenders. We settled down to a steady trot alongside a veritable expert on the route. Turns out this chap, also called John, used to organise the race and knew every tussock and rock. We quietly decided he was a good one to watch even though he was mostly walking. He actually walked super efficiently and almost the same speed up any hill except the steepest. We reached CP1 quickly and as everyone ahead turned right on a path John T took a direct line down a narrow trod that cut off a corner and made up a few places. This is going well, we thought.

Weather stayed good until just after CP4 when we had a great view of the countryside to the west, we could see a squall heading our way. As we climbed up some knarly line us two Johns stopped to put on rain jackets and by the time we’d finished Faffing our guide had gone!. We struggled up to CP5 and had to ask the MR marshal for guidance (we had maps but who stops to check maps during a race?). Anyway we hoofed after our mentor as fast as we could but the next turning took us down a very faint trod which gave us little confidence we were going the right way, but Lo! We then spotted the red jacket about 800m away and took off like scalded 60 year olds, eventually managed to get him within vaguely comfortable sight by about CP7. However, this point was at the bottom of the steepest climb in the route and John T strode up the hillside like a mountain goat so by the time we reached the top he’d gone.

Luckily the route from this point was not so difficult, we were only about 2 or 3 miles from the end, all downhill. We motored as fast as we could, managed to pass one bloke, kept going to the start point outside the village. The thing is, the finish was in the village, 500m UPHILL. I was all for walking this sting, but Johnny P must have got a text message from the RO saying there was only one cake left, he kept on running and even accelerated. He ran so quickly up the hill he made up one more place and stormed to the finish.

Post race soup, tea, cakes exactly as promised, perfect end to a great day out in the hills.  O, the old guide we lost was 77 years old and won the V70 prize, feeling a bit humbled.

Possible Club Away Weekend

Is anyone interested in an “away weekend” to the Long Mynd Valleys races next February? There are two races available – the short and sweet Tittestone Clee at 11am on Saturday 5 Feb and the Long Mynd Valleys itself, a tough A Medium fell race, on Sunday 6th, also at 11am.  Accommodation could be at Bridges Youth Hostel who currently have bunk rooms available at approx £40 per person for Friday and Saturday nights.  Please let Zoe know either via FB or email (barton.zoe@gmail.com) by Wed 3rd November if you would like to come. 

GDH Virtual Champs: Just a quick reminder that the champs race for November (how is it November already?!?) is the Beehive 5.

Please let us know about your running-related antics at gdhweeklyreports@gmail.com.  We love to hear about what you have been up to (and it makes writing these weekly reports a whole lot easier).

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