The weather forecast was grim to say the least, with two rain drops predicted at 2pm, the race start time, and one drop for the rest of the day. We were pleasantly surprised to get the gazebo erected on the Rowen Carnival field in only light drizzle. It seemed that lots of people had either headed off to the British Champs in Sedburgh, or given the rain forecast, had decided to stay in to watch Serena win another Wimbledon title, as with a field of 30, we had the smallest entry for about 10 years. As is common, the forecast was wrong – maybe half a rain drop, but humid and overcast and waterproofs certainly not needed on the start line.
After a quick head count (yes we still had 30) James sounded the hooter, and we were off, with Ellie accompanied by Elsie, her medical assistance dog, at the back alongside Helen (Race organiser and sweeper in fluoresent pink). Turning right in the village, and facing the first hill, Ellie pulled ahead of Naomi from Steel City Striders, and the leaders streaked off towards the youth hostel. By Cae Coch, Naomi had come to the conclusion that for the first time in her life, she may actually be last, but undeterred, we headed over the stile and towards the summit of Tal y Fan. At the summit, the stone circle check point, at the other side of the moorland bog was pointed out, and we headed off towards the sheep pens as our mid-way marker. Half way across, however, we found two more Steel City lost runners – maybe Naomi would not be last – who at least had the sense to wait for the pink person, when they had lost touch with Ellie and realised they did not really know where they were heading. We reached the stone circle as a group of four, to find that two runners were unaccounted for, but at least the rain was holding off, and the visibilty was still good. We had not seen them coming across the bog, and left the radio operators/marshalls communicating with base to see if they had been located, or whether they had just gone to Penmaenmawr for ice-cream.
Our little group of tail enders carried on, now on the grass of the North Wales coastal path, with much easier navigation. Through all the gates, with the marshalls still two short, until we reached the Dougie’s gin and tonic (sorry all gone only water left) check point, where it was reported all 30 had been seen. Panic over, and we headed up the last hill, down through the braken and back on to the road. Resisting the G&T in the Ty Gwyn, the final gang reached the finish line safely, if a bit late for the presentation.
Thanks as always to our marshal team, and Ann and Sharon on the start & finish line.
Maybe Craig/Louise could do a view of life nearer the front of the field!