Having confirmed to Mike Blake a little over a week ago that I’d prefer to run this gruelling race rather than Marshall I submitted my entry form last Monday & began to focus on training. Having not run for more than a week my main concern was how would my battered ankle hold up & if it didn’t how long would the healing process be? I’m relieved to say that 5 runs in a week & 50 miles later it is clear that what ever I’ve done to it (it is still too painful to touch as Dorina can testify when she accidentally knocked it yesterday morning to a measured response of ‘for Christ’s sake don’t do that again DARLING!!’) there seems to be no problem running on it other than minor pain on the downhill’s.
For those of you not in the know the Pedol Peris Horshoe starts & finishes in Llanberis, takes in the summits of Elidir Fawr, Y Garn & Glyder Fawr before descending down to the halfway point of Pen y Pass (yes I did say halfway). Here if you are lucky (could be described as intelligent) those who entered the Half race can relax with a job well done. However if you’ve entered the Full race you cross the road & head off over Y Lliwedd, Snowdon & Moel Cynghorian before returning to Llanberis. The record for all that is a startling 3 Hours 2 Minutes set by Gavin Bland over 20 years ago, as for me sub 5 Hours is my own personal goal (5:13 last year), to finish in reasonable style would put the icing on the cake.
Preparation for the specifics of the race itself, I must be taking it seriously, began in earnest on Saturday when Kean Rowlands & I set off from Pen y Pass together to Recce the second half of the race route in almost perfect conditions. Kean showed me several options that I hadn’t considered for the ascent & descent of Y Lliwedd (last year I simply went straight up & over both summits sticking to the direct edge scramble line). We took several time outs to consider options & split up here & there to compare which ones were best. Joining the Watkin path we kept left on the main path, it may be longer than a direct assault but the lack of need to route find in my opinion makes it the best option for me. Descending the Snowdon Ranger we stayed on the path for longer than I’d normally do, I’m a bit un-decided on this for race day so may go back for another look. Then came the biggest benefit (for me) of our Recce. Last year the two things that stood out for me were the almost terrifying descents of Glyder Fawr & Moel Cynghorian, I am not a good descender (in Fell racing terms) & these two have been playing on my mind more than a little. Kean has now allayed one of these fears by showing me a more gentle line off Moel Cynghorian which can almost be enjoyed, great stuff Kean!! Back onto the safety of the main path Kean showed me a clean pair of hills as we cut across to the Llanberis path as his superiority over technical ground came to the fore but I was pleased to be able to hold the gap on the easier sections especially considering the 10 miler over to Dolwydellan & back I’d done the previous evening.
The recce did us both a lot of good with Kean’s spirits rising significantly after a hiccup he’d had in the Moel Famau race on Bank Holiday Monday, so we had clearly helped each other. Thanks to Sandra too for dropping us off at Pen y Pass & picking us up at Llanberis, hope your foot has reacted well to your walk around Padarn Lake.
Now, just in case Kean is reading this, let the mind games for race day begin! I went out again on Sunday, back over to Dolwydellan & cut 7 minutes off my Friday evening time, for good measure I then did an additional couple of miles on my hilly forest loop. Be warned Kean, you want me within sight going up Moel Cynghorian if you are going to haul me in on the home straight. With the race being part of the British Championships this year we will of course be also ran’s but a race like this is essentially against yourself & the odd mate or two. Can’t wait for September the 14th, a pre-race thank you to Mike Blake & all the Marshalls who’ll make such a race possible, appreciated as ever.