Mountain Talk

Mountain Talk
Paul’s Blog – The Anglesey Coastal Path Run – Part 2

Moving on:-

Day 3 – Thursday 16th May – Beaumaris to Aberffraw

I first awoke at 3:30, the toilet beckoned, the head feels light, the teeth were cleaned, the head feels light, ‘hit the deck Paul’, I did with a semi-controlled thump. ‘Are you O.K. darling?’ ‘probably let me lie here a while’, came my hesitant reply. I know what a pending feint feels like & had just avoided one skillfully.

At breakfast we were asked if we wanted toast, it came, no breakfast order was taken, I had a fear & told Dorina, I looked at our table setting, a teaspoon, a desert spoon, a knife, no bloody fork ‘there is no cooked breakfast! shit’. To make matters worse the ‘continental’ breakfast was a Brexit form of it, no cured meats, no cheese & no croissants or other pastries. All of this was a first for me in a ‘Hotel’ & what a time to be served one. I mitigated as best I could putting Jam on toast for the first time in years but two & a half pieces of toast & a small yogurt were not what the doctor would have ordered. The Waitress was friendly but at check out when she asked me how far I was going did I see a hint of guilt in her eye when I answered?

We moved on, my team arrived, I kept my near feint a secret but not the breakfast. Photo’s taken, ‘good luck Darling’, ‘goodbye Angel’, I ran on, with a Cap.

Not long later near the top of an early hill, a car was parked, a camera was seen, a penny dropped, ‘it must be Gwynfor’, indeed it was. He had been following my progress, was in the area & had come out to take some photo’s, thankfully I was running, we shook hands & chatted whilst trotting before saying thanks & farewell. Soon afterwards failing to see a marker post in the Pen-y-Parc estate I retraced my steps, one of two guys by their van was now walking towards me, he smiled, ‘it’s Paul from the Siabod’ he said, not knowing his name (age thing) we shook hands & he pointed to a marker over near the woods. He would come into the cafe the following Sunday & it would be only then saying ‘you looked like you were on a mission’ that he understood the task in hand. A fellow runner I repaid his interest by talking him into entering the Welsh 1,000 metre peak race, sorry but type 2 fun is ‘fun’.

I moved on & enjoyed the views of Snowdonia from the village of Llandegfan, could I retire hear? Running under the majestic Menai Bridge with even the Britannia Bridge having a structural beauty that I hadn’t seen from below were further early highlights, by this time my first pit-stop with my team had been & gone.

A short barely runable beach section began to turn my mental tide, it was earlier in the day than days 1 & 2, the lack of breakfast kicked in, things were beginning to get serious. A main road section followed by several rutted cow fields with cows & calves all very docile until the last one had an anxious Mother, her calf & herd Chief. I stopped running, skirted wide, looked straight ahead & sighed deeply reaching the style to safety. Side roads, another beach & a long nearly flat descent through more fields took their toll, reaching my team outside Anglesey Sea Zoo the day’s end was feeling a very long way away, 16 miles to be more precise.

At this stop we met a group raising money for charity with one guy walking the whole of the Welsh coastline, 830 miles in a hoped 33 days, having passed them early on day 1 it was good to chat & shake hands, I moved on.

Despite my mental & physical fatigue I was actually moving at a slightly faster pace than day 2 but then I got hit for the need for a number 2, the warning was short, the field lacked privacy, oh shit! I did, I’d had no choice, I hid the mess as best I could but there is a field somewhere near Tan twr that has my stamp on it, move through it quickly. Running through a leafy shaded lane this happy episode was soon put behind me, I’m falling, this could hurt, it did but I’d been lucky, a graze to my right hip & the re-opening of a palm wound I’d suffered in January at a French petrol station of all places. I got up, looked at the offending raised stone in the sleek path & moved on, the blood flowed, I stopped, I have a Buff in the bag, Buff use No. 326 duly created, aka a bandage.

The run into Newborough was a slog, demoralized by my twin setbacks I was thoroughly pissed off & now loose sand to run on ‘yippie, how good to be alive’ were in truth nowhere near my thought processes.

Here even Team J & M turned against me, they were clearly worried at my state but didn’t know I was thinking ‘why have you parked so far away from the toilet block?’ I plodded over to it, hopefully removed the remaining risk & plodded back. I almost asked them to get me an ice cream but the parlor was back in the same direction as the toilet block, too much time would be lost. Had they told me that they had already indulged in ice cream (a confession came days later) they would have been sacked on the spot.

I moved on, it was a trudge through Newborough Forest but I managed to run most of it & reached Team J & M at Maltreath in slightly better spirits knowing that the worse was over. Study the map, a hill or two but the last 3 miles are all downhill or flat, just hope the last 2 miles of sand is the running kind. It was, despite an early setback locating the onward path after 7 Hours & 19 Minutes with almost 33 miles covered day 3 was at last over.

With a lack of Accommodation in Aberfraw Dorina had pre-booked me into a Bed & Breakfast up the road at Rhosneigr. John & Marion drove me up there & once again we planned the next day over cokes, I had progressed from a half to a pint by now.

Early evening I walked to a nearby restaurant, friendly staff, very tasty food but ‘nuovo cuisine’ portions saw me go for he cheese board on top of starter & main course. All scoffed down whilst listening to some middle aged guy who was celebrating his birthday by making a song & dance to the waitress & then his wife for an hour or more over a dirty glass, it’s your birthday, get over it please! I left giving the Waitress a handsome tip ‘that’s for putting up with the idiot’.

Insurance policy was then put into place, a late night shop, two packets of tuna sandwiches & a calorific bottle of wine. The tuna consumed I re-corked the bottle half full & slept my best so far.

Day 4 – 17th May – Aberfraw to Holyhead

Avery good breakfast was followed by Team J & M taking me back to Aberfraw ‘I wish we were going the other way’.

The weather had changed as predicted, light rain, waterproof on & Cap for a new purpose. The initial section was glorious & felt very remote, high tide (I’d not planned the tides & had been lucky so far) saw me scrambling over one headland but I was feeling strong & in high spirits. With rain & a cold breeze the first re-fuel saw me sat in the Team car trying to keep warm.

The next section from South of Rhosneigr to Four Mile Bridge looked too long but I failed to talk my team into an earlier alternative. Failing to find a marked toilet in Rhosneigr the Sandunes became a port of call but I promise I found a spot that can only trouble the sand worms if they are of the fussy kind.

Traeth beech was a joy as plans from RAF Valley gave me a free airshow, were they following my progress from up high? After running around a large inlet I missed a turning & stayed on a rocky & slippery beech before the tide blocked me & brought me to my senses. I scrambled up to a field found the true path & ran on knowing I felt strong & was making good time.

Soon after giving an old couple coming the other way directions I reached the Team, it hadn’t been so far after all.

I moved on having first negotiated an earlier next stop at Rhoscolyn. As I crossed onto Holyhead Island my spirits lifted the end was truly in sight albeit many miles away. This was a mixed leg of good running boards, long boring road but then an isolated coastline above low cliffs before reaching John & Marion once again.

Moving on the flatter sections gave way to climbs, mostly runable but some walked in high spirits, another remote & very beautiful section led me less than an hour later to Trearddur, the miles were melting away now. Of course something had to go wrong, ‘well the Team car is where it should be (albeit not next to the toilet block) but where are the bloody team?’ Knowing them well I entered the adjacent cafe/restaurant/ice cream parlor, nope, coming back out & making my way to the sea front they came around the corner with the urgency of a turkey praying for Christmas but mitigated things by buying me an ice cream, apparently they had been walking off the ice cream they’d already consumed! A further re-fuel in the car, I moved on.

I was now in familiar territory having raced over the coming cliffs & mountain back in 2012 & 13, the clouds had cleared, jacket came off, I was quite simply floating in a serene state of movement. It’s isolated out on these headlands with only marine birds & the occasional bird watcher for company. The path markers are rare so I kept to a mostly outer line where options were available but finally the path turned & headed for South Stack. A steep tarmac road led to my final re-fuel with Team M (John was enjoying the views but joined us soon after). This stop was short, I was strong & wanted the hills to come, I moved on for one last time.

The climb above South Stack felt easy, the traverse to North Stack was longer than I remembered but didn’t trouble me the blood felt like it was pulsing through my veins (strange that as I’d be dead if it wasn’t) but then I almost messed it up. A marker had me descending towards North Stack but at the next T junction, no marker, map was inconclusive, Holyhead is right, I went right & then left to traverse to a lower path heading up from the left. Almost reaching it with thoughts stewing in my head I stopped. ‘Paul that lower path must be rising from North Stack’, in the words of Bonnie Tyler ‘turn around bright eyes’, I did. Soon I was back at the T junction & carried on down the left hand path. Sure enough their was North Stack & a marker sending me right along the lower path. The climb back up did nothing to dampen my high spirits, I had made the right call, I was doing the whole Anglesey Coastal Path, pride thankfully came before no more falls. The run in from here was straight forward but trying to calculate my total 4 day time I speeded up to make sure I recorded under 31 hours in total. My last mile was substantially my fastest of all at nearly 8 minute mile pace, no aches, no pains just pure & simple joy of running & running strong.

There were my Team, I bounded the steps up to Saint Cybi’s Church & touched the Sign I’d started from. The longest day yet at 37 miles had been the easiest by far & had made everything so worthwhile.

The Stats:-

Day 1 – 35.3 Miles, 7:30:23, 4485 Calories, 1,063 Metres of ascent.

Day 2 – 32.74 Miles, 7:30:00, 3807 Calories, 995 Metres of ascent.

Day 3 – 32.94 Miles, 7:19:12, 3213 Calories, 552 Metres of ascent.

Day 4 – 36.98 Miles, 8:09:30, 4786 Calories, 948 Metres of ascent.

Total – 138 Miles (Guidebook says 130), 30:29:05, 16,291 Calories, 3,558 Metres of ascent (Guidebook says 4,174)

Of course having used many additional calories before and after each days run I knew I was going to come back skinny. Jumping on the scales the next day I was indeed 400 grams HEAVIER than when I started. In the words of a friend ‘that means you got the refueling spot on’.

Well thank you for putting up with a very long second blog but in truth I also use them as a personal diary to remember my experiences & emotions. I feel this has been more about these feelings than the Anglesey Coastal Path itself so expect one final blog which will feature the path & not the runner, it will be mercifully brief I assure you.

& a Final thank you to Team J & M, Johnathan, Dorina & all those who followed my progress, it is not something I could do on my own!

Paul’s Blog – The Anglesey Coastal Path Run – Part One

Having celebrated the incredible achievements of others in yesterday’s blog it’s time to put finger to keyboard to cover my journey around Anglesey last week.

Day 1 – Tuesday 14th May – Holyhead to Amlwch

Tuesday saw an early rise allowing Dorina & I to reach the cafe by 6:45 am. By 7:00 I got stuck into 3 Poached Eggs, two pieces of toast & a ladle full of baked beans, proper breakfast fueling is key but alas not everyone understands that as we will see!

Team J & M arrived at 7:30 as planned & despite the shambles of the Hogan Bethesda road works we arrived at Holyhead ahead of schedule. Photo’s taken (these would help update our Facebook page throughout the days that followed) I was ready to set-off earlier than planned & so did so as the Garmin struck 8:45. It was cool but sunny with the temperature, like my heartbeat due to rise but hopefully not too high in either case.

It was not long before I left some drab buildings, passed the South Pier & running around some stunningly beautiful little bays. After about an hour I crossed over onto Anglesey’s ‘mainland’ which soon led to a surprisingly pleasant ‘detour’ around a tidal estuary which led to more stunning bays as I headed towards My first re-fuel rendezvous with John & Marion at Church Bay. I had run all of these first 13 miles knowing full well that at least a couple of small hills should have been walked, been there done that so why, why, why?

Refueled on Yogurt, a banana & water with a refilled 500ml of Electrolite, ‘see you at Cemaes guys’. I ran on again running hills until the first wheel fell of on high ground above Porth y Bribys, my first significant wrong turn. The error was in truth small & soon corrected as I consulted the map but the mental effect was large, hills immediately became hard, walking them began & then further navigation doubts due to poor marking began to weigh on my wearying shoulders. The causeway of Cemlyn Bay drained the legs as feet sunk their leaden way through the shingle, life was beginning to feel a tad un-fair. Wylfa came & went looking less ugly than I’d expected but not without a 2nd Nav. error, was that me or no marker post? Finally & in reality going better than I was feeling I arrived at meeting point 2 having clocked up a further 12 miles or so, think Team J & M could see the difference, a penny for their thoughts.

Soon I was off again for the decision leg, if it went well a 3 day schedule, if not 4 days, in truth with the guidebook mileages seeming already to have a theme for under estimation my decision was already made. The section from Cemaes to Bull Bay was stunning, hills were hills & were walked with lifted spirits, mentally I recovered some zip as the reality of a 4 day schedule sank in, I don’t think this translated to J & M as I reached them but I knew the worse of Day 1 was behind me leaving a simple 2 miles to the days end at Amlwch port.

I reached Amlwch 7 Hours & 30 Minutes after leaving Holyhead having covered a little over 35 miles, tired & sun burnt including my scalp (yes only I could have a number two & one haircut the previous day for miss-placed vanity, ‘oh Paul you fool’). Team J & M escorted me to a pre-chosen hotel, not booked but they had a basic single room, all I needed was an evening meal, a bed & good breakfast & I got all 3. Before leaving a Day 2 plan was discussed & here a little more needs to be said about my Team. What a team they were, firstly to sacrifice a week, shadowing me, filing updates to Johnathan for Facebook, printing downloaded aerial pictures of our rendezvous point so that I knew what to look for as I ran into each of them & putting up with my mood swings which were increasingly penduling downwards, a truly onerous task which they stuck to unfailingly!

Day 2 – Wednesday 15th – Amlwch to Beaumaris

I chatted to a more elderly gentleman over breakfast who was into his 3rd week on the path, he loathed fell runners for destroying paths, I parried ‘well what about Mountain Bikes & TRAIL MOTORBIKES’, he would set off an hour ahead of me. Team J & M arrived on queue to take me back to yesterday’s end & by 09:00 I was off again with the sun already burning through the sun cream. After a couple of miles I saw the old guy ahead, knowing this would happen he caught sight of me & stopped to take a photo, we shook hands, said our farewells & as I passed out of sight over the next rising ground I knew I should have stopped to get my camera out too, annoyed I moved on. This morning section was beautiful, I took the optional section to Point Lynas, it was worth it in many ways including mentally. This serene morning came to a brunt end when I overshot the path, soon corrected but soon added to by the frustrating ‘diversion’ from the coastline to climb around the back of the Bryn-fuches estate, believe Julian is making a complaint about this & rightly so.

Rejoining the coast the need to head South around the Traeth Dulas estuary was not as dispiriting as John had warned me, to a runner it’s not so much the distance but how fast you can cover it, this was runable & I was running well. Once across the estuary & with about 8 miles under my belt there was my Team, in place & ready once again.

From here to Moelfre was a wonderfully beautiful section with Traeth yr Ora bay being the highlight. Moelfre itself is clearly worth a re-visit despite the relative crowds two of which were you guessed it John & Marion.

I moved on, Benllech came & went as did it’s firm sands beneath my feet, still running well my spirits were still good reaching Team J & M for the third time at Red Wharf Bay. ‘Is that an ace cream parlor?’, John strolled over, Marion & I conferred he didn’t know what I wanted, mint & choc chip, Marion gave pursuit.

I moved on, Red Wharf Bay went on & on, a high tide diversionary marker was needlessly followed (that’s called a failure to consult the bloody map). Back on the coastline I ran on the top of a flood defense wall with trepidation, when will this bay end? Finally the distant hill I was running to came to me, this is when the day began to feel long. It wasn’t the hill that got to me but some testing navigation & the sight of Puffin Island still far in the distance took their toll. Mental or physical I was hitting a wall just as I’d done the day before. A long 4 miles later I finally ran into Penmon point relieved to have a long leg behind me.

Re-fueled once again the day’s final leg was underway as I stomped up the hill before once again breaking into a trot. A long beach section was only partly runable as the sand & shingle again sucked the energy out of my legs, at least I knew day 2 was coming to a close. Entering Beaumaris there were my team, a glance at the watch, ‘sprint Paul’, hit the stop button 7 Hours & 30 Minutes to the second, another 32.74 miles had come & gone. By now I was quite seriously burnt, the shower hit my scalp & stung like hell but at least I’d had the gumption to ask Dorina (who would be coming out to stay with me that night to pick up a running cap from my kit room, yes the one I’d thought about packing several times but never wrote it down on my kit list).

Once again on checking in at the hotel my team & I celebrating on full fat cokes & a packet of crisps came up with a plan for Day 3.

It was good to relax in a weakening sun waiting for Dorina to arrive & even better to see her arrive & then share a very good Italian Meal just down the high street, worryingly Day 3 was not going to start well!

That’s Part 1, if you are still with me you deserve a break.

Mick Fowler Presentation Ticketing News

This is a great opportunity not to be missed, for members of the Alpine Club tickets will be free, for non-members they are an absolute bargain of just £5. To reserve your tickets simply contact the cafe either through our web-site all by calling us on 01690 720429. For full details visit our Events Page.

Bank Holiday Opening Hours

With this weekend also seeing our regular Open MIC Night (full details on our events page) it’s time to confirm our opening hours for the Bank Holiday weekend, so here goes:-

Friday 24th – 07:30 to 20:00 (Last hot food orders by 19:30)

Saturday 25th – 07:30 to 23:00 (Open MIC Night, last hot food orders 19:30)

Sunday 26th – 07:30 to 20:00 (Last hot food orders by 19:30)

Bank Holiday Monday – 07:30 to 18:00 (Last hot food orders 17:30)

The sun is shining gloriously in Capel Curig today, fingers crossed it does likewise for the weekend, we hope to see you at some point.

Paul’s Blog – NOT the Anglesey Coastal Path

Before I get to this blog a very important that you to John, Marion & Johnathan who together posted updates on my run last week & of course this thank you extends to all those who followed my progress too. It felt great to know people were interested in what I was up to, now to more important things:-

As I made my way around Anglesey last week, news began to seep in from the mainland putting my little jog into perspective, it was to be an exceptional week for Fell running in Snowdonia.

First news came via team J & M, someone called Winder had hopped over the English & Welsh borders & claimed the Snowdon Horseshoe record from our own Gareth Hughes who’d only set the new benchmark of 1:24 weeks before. Winder had smashed it by 4 minutes! Did they mean Finlay Wild, indeed they did, what a run!

Next up a Thursday evening call from Dorina, Nicky Spinks has been in he cafe, she had a support team & next day was planning a Double Paddy Buckley round in 48 hours. By the time Team J & M had escorted my tired body back to the Cafe on Friday evening Nicky was already several hours into her attempt. With her support team in & out of the cafe on Saturday we literally got live updates, by late in the day sub 48 hours was no longer on but as ever Nicky’s legs kept spinning. By Sunday Dorina & Gaby had made & decorated her a surprise cake, sadly our doors closed before Nicky successfully completed her Double Paddy, what an achievement, what a mountain distance runner she is. Luckily for us Nicky & her team came into the Tynny where Dorina & I were relaxing after a busy weekend allowing me to blurt a few eulogies & inform them that they had a cake to collect the next day.

Finally shortly after I’d got back to the cafe on Friday Nick informed me that a certain Finlay Wild had smashed the un-beatable, Colin Donelly’s 31 year old record for the Welsh 3,000’s. Colin’s unbelievable 4:19 now stood a full 9 minutes behind Finlay’s. The Scot appeared to have had the audacity to seemingly use Snowdon’s Horseshoe as a warm up, now that’s almost taking the p… All joking aside, simply amazing!

If I have made any name spelling mistakes or inaccurate times, please accept it is simply a shell shocked reaction to first reports as they came in.

I hope to blog on my run tomorrow but for now Finlay, Nicky & your support teams thank you for coming to Snowdonia & stunning us with your achievements!

Paul’s Blog – Anglesey Coastal Path

With good friends John, Andy Julian having begun walking this route back in late winter on a one day a fortnight basis & my thoughts turning away from Cho Oyu to other must do’s such as running Scotland’s Great Glen in a day or two clarity began to un-fold. ‘Why go to the logistical problems of Scotland many miles away, you don’t know Anglesey as well as you should, penny firmly dropped’

There were mutterings to John but I kept it relatively under the radar until in the middle of last week with some pleasing long runs & high weekly mileages under my new Salomon belt (sorry to mention it again but I do love it), I looked at the 10 day forecast for the first time this Spring. It must have been a vision because I saw what I thought I might, a weather window to run for, game on.

The route is a not to be sniffed at, 130 miles, with much of it run at sea level it is a pretty flat route with only 13,690 feet of ascent (yes you did read that correctly). My aim is to run it over 4 days (although there are thoughts of making that 3 which can only be cleared out mid-afternoon on Day 1) & I start on Tuesday 13th May at 9:00 am.

So here I am Monday afternoon, food packed (yogurts, variety of gels, malt loaf, salty crisps, energy bars, mars bars, a banana tree, fruit & choc medley bag & a hopefully strong stomach for that lot). 12 bottles of electrolytes, 36 bottles of water (being overly safe here), 4 sets of running kit, spare running kit, two running bags, compedes, sun cream, savlon, 1 strapping, pain killers (never take them but..), walking pole (ditto..), 4 pairs of running shoes, evening wear, 2 book to read, head torch, map & guidebook, contact lenses, toilet roll (sorry but hope I don’t go there) stop me if I’m going on, oh you have!

You may say this isn’t travelling light & to a degree you could have a point but in the words of Baldric I have a cunning plan, Team J & M aka John & Marion will be supporting me with a well laden car & meeting me at more than 12 times on the route thereby allowing to keep my actual running bag to a maximum of just 1.5 Kg, thanks guys! Of course this could be the biggest cock up since the West Highland Way in 2016 when Dorina & Fraser were guilty of being in an ice cream parlour & the next day having a pub lunch when they should have been feeding me. I of course have long since forgotten their transgressions so Team J & M can relax, can’t they?

John & Marion also plan to feed updates to the Cafe’s Facebook & Twitter thingies, friendly faces on route or running buddies will be very welcome to catch up with me en-route.

Now off to talk to my feet & ankles ‘now look guys I know you are already sore but I have a cunning plan & you are going to love it…!’

Reach Out for Nepal Day – 22nd June 2019

A quick blog to say that I’ve just updated our Events page for this years fund raising day due to the likes of Charlotte, Sara & Mike confirming their involvement again this year. In addition I have now been able to put the meat on the bones of the evening events at the café with line-up & approximate timings, it might be prudent to reserve your ‘free’ seats. Finally it includes an update on both our fund raising & who is joining me on the charity run & others willing to support us on it.

It would be great to see you on the day in whatever guise you see fit.

Trefriw Walking Festival

With this ever popular event soon to be upon us & our very own Nick helping lead one of the walks on the Saturday, we’ve just received news that Nicola & Dave from Plas y Brenin are running one of their brilliant navigation walks as part of it this year. It’ll be on Sunday, May 19th, meet at Peniel Chapel, Trefriw & lasts all day. The festival is listed on our Events page but for full details simply google trefriwwalkingfestival.co.uk.

Bank Holiday Opening Hours

With another dry weekend in the forecast we have again extended opening hours allowing you to stay a little longer out on the hills before coming down for a refuel. Also on Saturday we have our Open MIC Night with extended drinks licence until 10:30 pm, so come along & feel free to join in. To do so simply tap our host, Alan Mannouch, on the shoulder.

Opening Times are:-

Saturday 4th – 07:30 to 23:00 (Last hot food orders at 7:30 pm).

Sunday 5th – 07:30 to 20:00 (Last hot food orders at 7:30 pm).

Bank Holiday Monday – 07:30 to 18:00 (Last hot food orders at 5:30 pm)

Hope you have a great time in Snowdonia this weekend!

Café News

Well there’s no rest for a busy café……. but before what’s coming up next let me go back to the Easter weekend.

It was not just our busiest Easter ever, Sunday was our busiest day ever, Saturday was our third busiest on record & Friday & Monday also kept us on our toes although on each of these two days I did at least slip out for a run. If you want to get or stay fit just apply within for a job here, Sunday 25,000 steps carrying an assortment of trays, plates & pots – I lost weight hands over fist. But the main reason for outlining all that is to allow me to say on behalf of all of us here at the Siabod Café a massive thank you to all of our customers over what was a stunning weekend in Snowdonia. A comment from a regular lady on Monday morning who was up from the South East of England really put the icing on my personal cake ‘So this is where everyone is, well I suppose so too as this is our fourth visit this weekend!’ Interactions like that really do make all the hard work worthwhile it was very warmly appreciated.

Next up is this Saturday evenings Quiz organised on behalf of The Snowdonia Society by their Claire Holmes. Claire will be the Quizmaster & there is sure to be a heavy slant of questions about Snowdonia so please come along to both show your knowledge & gain further knowledge all in support of the Snowdonia Society & the betterment of this stunning national park. The quiz will kick off at 8:00 pm with entry fee a Donation of your choice, the winning team will be given a picnic hamper of local produce. For those wishing to start the evening with a hearty meal last hot food orders will be at 7:00 pm.

The following weekend sees our next Open MIC Night hosted by Alan Mannouch, please come in your droves to avoid me having to take more than one turn at the MIC.

Full details of both these events can be found on our Events page.

Paul’s Blog – Manchester Marathon, a race too far? Part 2

Before I go any further a quick reminder that this Saturday sees the Fron Four fell race taking place near Caernarfon so good luck to race organiser, Mike Blake, & all those taking part, carrying fluids might be prudent.

Now back to Manchester & that Why?

Well it certainly wasn’t due to a lack of breakfast as my pre-race stopover at Kean & Sandra’s for the night saw me being fed a breakfast fit for a King, or runner at least so why had I lost so much energy so quickly?

The main reason related to parking & no race support on the day the former totally my fault, the latter not. These were later added to by a lack of a banana & gels.

Parking – Having failed to read the pre-race e-mails until the day before I didn’t pick up on parking had to be paid for in advance & by the time I tried to pay on-line the Old Trafford parking near the start was sold out. In a nutshell I’d had to arrive early & park a long way away (20 minutes or so).

Support – With an un-expected two members of staff down at the café on top of one already being on holiday there was simply no way Dorina could support me this year.

Parking & Support combined – Wanting to avoid the ever busy bag drop & failing to pick up some old warm clothes (to be thrown away at the start line) my walk to the start was cold, I arrived early enough to use the portaloos but far too early to keep remotely warm in just my shortsleeve tops & gloves. I shivered my way from one portoloo to the next (bowel movements long past) simply to hide from the cold but for almost 2 hours simply shivered the clock down to start time.

It was only a day later that with clarity of grey matter I figured out just how much energy my pre-race shivering must have used, of course I was on for a hiding.

The banana & gel lack was definitely my fault, how could I forget to take a pre-race banana from the café, had my guardian Angel been by my side I’m sure this wouldn’t have happened but I should & do know better, idiot. I almost made up for this oversight by taking a spare gel to the start but of course didn’t as ‘I’d had a big breakfast, don’t need a Gel’ ruled my mind.

8 miles in I went for my plastic gel pouch (carried in a belt with hard to access seams), well that went O.K. but at mile 14 my second attempt to enter the seam failed. Mind not being straight I ran on despite knowing I was in trouble & it was only 3 miles later when I found a way to access it. This being far too late had no recovery effect whatsoever.

Initial post race thoughts were, too many training miles but at too slow a pace, too many races leading into it, that Birthday run, I’m getting older, I drink too much wine, those race day gels. The Goldrush has cemented the cause & whilst all of these are indeed factors in my failure to be the fastest O.50 on the planet or even in the Goldrush where some f….. O.50 ran sub an hour (now that’s taking the p…) the true cause was parking too far away making passing time away in a car with heated seats, no support & those pre-race shivers with lack of Banana’s & Gels adding to the mix.

Monday allowed this more positive thinking & was added to when I looked at the results. Of course in my hour & a half of distress I was at least not walking & was passing quite a few who were walking but to discover that I crossed the line only 51 places lower down the field than I’d been at the halfway point was a very pleasant & uplifting tonic after the seeming hoards who had been passing me.

Tuesday was the day to take these positives further, step 1 – visit Matt Ward’s shop, ‘Matt, good to see you at Manchester, I had a shocker, do Salomon do an easy to access belt to store gels…..?’ ‘Look at this one Paul, drinks bottle pocket for Electrolites, Gel pockets, room to store a windproof, all easy to access look I’ll demonstrate, comes in red or black’ ‘I’ll take it in red, I like to be seen’, unquestionably the best bit of kit I could buy for a road marathon, what a result, if only I’d had it on Sunday!

Step 2 – When Angel (aka Dorina) said to me later that day, ‘next year I’m coming with you & we’ll stay in a hotel’ simply say ‘yes my Angel’ so I did.

There endeth the lesson, note to self, must read this in 50 weeks time.

Manchester 2020, I’ll be back!

Whether you are taking part in the Fron Four, running another race or simply enjoying the great outdoors this Easter have a great weekend . I’ll be in the café clearing tables, cleaning pots & wearing a little red belt.

Paul’s Blog – Manchester Marathon, a race too far?

Well that was to be the title (but with an exclamation mark) of my previous blog but with hindsight I am glad I changed that blog & it’s contents because it has allowed me to indeed clear my head & believe it was a self induced blip.

This more positive reflection was helped by a half decent performance in last weekend’s Goldrush in my own backyard. O.K. so my time for the Goldrush of 1:14:07 was a little outside my pb’s of 2016 & 17 (yes that was when I ran the same time two years running) but it was faster than 2018 by over a minute & made it the most competitive performance of the last month which had included a Half Marathon, 14 Miler, Marathon & ‘type 2 fun’ birthday run of 32 miles. So thanks to Matt Ward & his fabulous team in the CyB for giving me the chance to pick myself up, dust myself off & prove that there is still some running in the old dog.

So what did happen in Manchester & why?

The What:-

The race itself started well & remained that way until Halfway, indeed my first & 2nd splits for 10K & 20K were only 6 seconds adrift (at 3:12 pace), very consistent, feeling good, a false dawn. Soon after halfway two guys who’d I’d been tracking with ease started to speed up, wrong, ‘Paul you are slowing down!’

With 16K (10 miles) to go I ran into the Wall & into what felt like at the time a complete nightmare. Feeling ready to collapse, tight chest, absolutely no energy I somehow was still on 3:15 pace at 30K (my pre-race best guess target) but I knew even 3:20 was going to be a struggle.

By now the 3:15 banner guy & his merry band had come past me & were running into the distance soon to be followed by wave after wave of other stronger runners, this was a new experience that I’d recommend to absolutely no one.

The bloody mindedness needed to keep running those last 10 miles felt simply off the scale, at least I had that to cling onto at the finish where I crossed the line in a shell shocked 3:26:33 some 16 minutes down on my pb set, yes you guessed it, in Manchester only 3 years ago.

A long, long walk back to the car, a long, long drive home having to stop twice due to exhaustion saw me clawing at why’s & wherefores’, a new dawn would see me with a more viable reasonings but it was only the Goldrush that would confirm my optimistic conclusions.

This is going on a bit so I’m stopping it there & will answer the ‘Why’ in my next blog thereby allowing you to take a breath or of course in the words of a childhood TV programme you could simply ‘switch off & go & do something more interesting instead!

Easter Opening & Specials

We will be extending our Opening Hours again this year so with a great weather forecast in the offing there is no need for you to rush off the hills to secure that favourite piece of cake or dine on one of our specials with a glass of wine or refreshing beer. So here are those opening hours:-

Good Friday, Saturday & Easter Sunday: 07:30 to 20:00

Easter Monday: 07:30 to 18:00

Just remember that last hot food orders are half an hour before we close.

In addition to several of our regular Specials being available Gaby is cooking Slow Braised Lamb Shank cooked in red wine & Wild Garlic (from our garden) served with Minted Lamb & Veg. available through the weekend until it Sells Out, customers come first but try & leave one for me!

Paul’s Blog – A race in The Lakes & a pain in the leg.

The weekend before last saw me up in The Lakes for another road race, the Coniston 14 which is what it says, a 14 mile road race around Lake Coniston starting & finishing in Coniston where a good friend, Rob, whom I met in Nepal in 2012 lives. Having run the route at leisure in 2016 the day after Rob had helped me complete the Wainwright’s I had some idea of what I was letting myself in for but the size of the event (1,300 runners) took me a little by surprise. The quality of the runners (it being The Lakes) did not surprise me so no chance of a category win from the off but I was pleased with the way I ran & picked up quite a few places from the 5 mile mark onwards. However with 6 miles to go the deep ache I had just above my right ankle (hangover from Wrexham Half & an ill advised 8 mile recovery run the next day) suddenly morphed into a sharp tearing pain ‘oh s… it’ll be a long way to walk back from here’.

Over the next minute or so & a few more shooting pains later I did the only sensible thing a runner can do when faced with the surety of a serious long term injury, I pulled out.

Well when I say I pulled out what I actually mean is I pulled out of my usual running style & adapted my foot strike from a front foot to a flat foot, a cunning plan to reduce impact & power going through the lower leg. Not being a sports scientist you can imagine my pleasure when this logic worked allowing me to complete the race still gaining places & finishing well inside the top 200, it felt like a step forward from Wrexham.

Next morning I woke & began to pay for staying in the race, something was seriously tight & that something felt like a tendon. With the Manchester Marathon only a week away ‘Paul be sensible, you have pre-booked physio on Wednesday, no running until then & take Sam’s treatment & advice’.

Sam asked ‘Paul what is your record when faced with injury mid-race, do you pull out?’ ‘Well to date Sam, no, not once’, her eyeballs rolled as only a physio’s can when talking to a runner.

The hour long session was the most painful I can remember but the diagnosis was muscular rather then tendon, the green light to Manchester was on. The next 3 days still no more running but the pain had eased so Saturday evening saw me heading over to coach Kean’s for an early night & early start, thanks here to Sandra for an excellent breakfast.

However Manchester would prove a race too far, the shock, the analysis, the aftermath are still being worked out in my head but more importantly Sam’s assessment had been correct & my ‘injury’ was not a factor in my demise. More on Manchester to follow once my head is clearer.

Having bumped into Matt Ward in Manchester who was doing the commentary & prize giving it is timely to wish him, all his team & all the runners the best of luck for this coming Saturday’s Goldrush race in my backyard, the CyB. I will see you there & contrary to appearances I will be running, lets hope for wonderful weather to match the wonderful course.

ROFN – Thank you Nick!

Thank you Nick, I think (as in Livesey).

Having come up with my route for this years charity run in aid of Reach Out for Nepal & loosely calculating it’s stats from the Harvey’s Snowdonia North Map, Nick kindly offered to plot the route on his computerised mapping system (aka something I’m not really sure what it’s called) so get some more accurate stats. He’s recently e-mailed his findings:-

Paul’s Guess: 41.9 Miles. Nick’s findings 46.2 Miles.

Paul’s Guess: 11105 feet of height gain. Nick’s findings 13,674 feet.

Paul’s Target time: 13 Hours. Nick’s findings 57 Hours, I can only hope that this last little anomaly is based on Nick walking the route whilst carry his computer & a very long extension cable whilst falling into a variety of bogs (not shown on the screen) whilst not looking at the ground in front of him. In the words of Meatloaf my fingers are crossed that Nick’s stats. are a case of 2 Out of 3 ain’t Bad.

But seriously, thanks Nick all food for thought, let the recce’s begin, I need further meat on the bones before June.

Paul’s Blog – Book, Run, Book

I had the title for this blog all sorted a few days ago, it was to be ‘Running away from age’ & would focus on my predictably annual birthday run. However I am never too old to learn (despite admittedly failing to frequently) & upon completing the reading of a 2nd memorable book last night, in the space of less than a fortnight, the blog & it’s title just re-wrote itself instantly, so here goes, draft 2:-

Book 1 – East of Eden, John Steinbeck

Having been mesmerized a couple of months ago by Steinbeck’s writing in ‘The Grapes of Wraith’ I was back for more & wasn’t disappointed, despite feeling that the book lost it’s way just a little in the second half another clever & un-expected ending brought it to a fitting conclusion (but he was always going to struggle to match the ending of The Grapes which in my humble opinion was the best I can remember reading). However East of Eden hit me personally like a thunderbolt. The introduction & building of the main female character (at around about page 50 to 100) had me turning over page after page & soon I was convinced that I was reading a ‘there by the grace of god went I’. My thoughts simply put were ‘I was there & I came through it, somehow’. It made me look at the puzzle in a different way, I’d just found the missing bits after so many years. I’d deliberately avoided reading the books introduction as they often reveal too much of the plot before the read commences but upon completion I went back to the introduction & read it to find a similar mirror of circumstances & feelings be they right or wrong.

I quickly moved on to getting another year older as Saturday dawned to muddled thoughts. Having put my back out seriously the previous Monday ‘Paul you really should know better’ my planned long birthday run was in serious doubt. Each day it would loosen up (on Thursday an easy 4 miler went comparatively O.K.) before re-seizing overnight, once again rising gingerly on Saturday I was very apprehensive. Dorina, up even earlier than usual, cooked me the tried & tested, 3 poached eggs, beans & two pieces of toast as I prepared my kit & cleared my thoughts to ‘this is going to hurt, you will probably have to bail but think of how you will be feeling (with knawing back pain) if you don’t even try!!

The run was simply a re-match of my failure on my 51st birthday ‘The Coed y Brenin Grand Slam’. For those not in the know this involves the 5 marked running routes in my local woodland back to back. The stats are not massive but for me mentally it is arguably 2nd to none in toughness. No support, too much knowledge of the hills to come & a bail out option at the CyB centre not just once but 4 enticing times! In 2017 I turned up cocky, ‘I’ll do it the hard way, shortest first & leave the longest to last’, idiot, I duly bailed the final Half Marathon & went home to cook a birthday meal with my tail between my legs & a sympathetic Angel by my side. But with age I have learnt, give it respect, ‘start long, end short’.

So at 7:45 I pulled up at the centre next to a sole van put on my running bag & set off on the Half Marathon in splendid isolation & at a very steady pace. The early long hill inevitably played on my mind ‘got to come back & do this 4 more times Paul’ as did the pain in my back. 1K bleeped my watch, mind calculates that about 2% done, mind says ‘you know this is about 6 hours, just run the clock down it’s the only way there is to get through this.

At about 15K having not seen a soul I realised my thoughts were changed, no longer was the back a focus it was now the pain above my right ankle (a hangover from Wrexham), was it going to get through another 35K or so? Despite this new doubt the mind games began to go my way I was soon back at the car, yoghurt, banana, go again, The Goldrush (my favourite of the 5) was next. By now I was respecting the tougher hills & walking a bit here & there but despite this I seemed to be putting them behind me at increasing speed, ‘Paul you’ve got a chance’. On the final hill I caught a friendly female mountain biker & stupidly ran it to avoid the humility of walking, how could I say ‘you know I’ve already done 34K’, thankfully no lasting damage done by my egotism.

Toilet break, Banana, Yoghurt, here we go again, The Long Sarn Helen. Two long hills in the middle of this, first partly run, great, second totally walked, no problem, it’s behind you, then it got really good. I overtook a friend & his wife on the long descent & then passed another runner as I made my way back to the centre, 3 down 2 to go.

If memory serves me right I’d had enough of banana’s by now but Yoghurt was still hitting the spot, The Short Sarn Helen. By now I knew that barring disaster I was going to do it, for the first time I walked a part of the first hill (thankfully no one to see me & think look at that cripple he’s walking after a few hundred metres). In truth my splits per K were quickening as with confidence running through my veins I was picking up speed on the flats & downs. Here comes the car again, don’t stop, Shoe Test Trail here I come.

Early on I passed Matt Ward & some runners coming the other way. I had passed Matt at the centre after the Goldrush & panted to him ‘I’m knackered I’m trying to do the 5’, ‘the Grand Slam’ came his reply. At this meeting he stepped to the side ‘this is the guy who’s running 50K’, they clapped & cheered me on, out of sight moments later & on that hill I broke into a walk filled with pride. This was to be a bit of a mistake.

Thinking that this final route actually descended to the river I was convinced that my estimated total time of 6 Hours was going to be missed by up to 10 minutes, ‘who cares, only an estimate anyway’. However after the lovely initial descent (going well now Paul) I was surprised to see the trail marker pointing straight back to the centre. Immediately I looked at the watch, shit Paul should have run more of that hill, ahh well, the damage is done, just enjoy the finish. My time was 6:00:35 a mildly annoying 35 seconds were soon forgotten, 51.8K, 3,900 calories & 5,350′ of ascent were now all behind me, Monkey of my back, Long to Short made the difference for me.

At the running shop a few of ‘Matt’s runners were there to congratulate me as was Richard in the shop itself. I’ve no idea how my time stacks up to others who have done this, not really important but of course one day I will ask Matt that question, I’m a runner after all.

From there is was up to the café to get a few Happy Birthday’s before an early retreat home for a belated re-fuel supper with Beth & my Father who’d just driven up from Bristol in little over half the time I’d been running.

Book 2 – Miracle in the Andes by Nando Parrado

I knew a fair bit about this true life disaster having watched the film about it ‘Alive’ many years ago but the book sheds far more light on the relentless trauma the survivors of the air crash went through. Nando who had initially been comatose for 3 days became arguably the strongest member of those fighting for survival & portrays all the characters with deep & sincere sympathies. I am not going to go into detail but the ordeal lasted 72 days (it states that on the books cover so I’m not giving anything away), it is riveting throughout but it was the concluding chapter that stood out for me. In this Nando sets out, with the help of a comforting word from his Father shortly after their reunion, how he managed to use his experiences positively to shape his life thereafter & this is hugely uplifting in again a ‘there for the grace of god’ kind of way.

Well that blog became longer than I’d intended for Draft 2 but there again I’ve actually written two blogs in one, just couldn’t help myself, sorry.

Reach Out for Nepal

Details of this year’ event have just been updated on the Events page of our web-site, for full details simply click on the page & go to 22nd June 2019.

In addition we now have 3 New signed photographic prints by Doug Scott displayed at the Café, these are signed by Doug & Chris Bonnington & can be purchased on a first come first served basis with all proceeds going direct to Community Action Nepal (Doug’s charity).

Original Everest Marathon Presentation

We are delighted to announce that Ali Bramall the race organiser of the Original Everest Marathon (OEM) has agreed to give her presentation at our Café on the night of our Reach Out for Nepal day – 22nd June 2019.

This is extremely fitting as it not only takes place in Nepal but also raises money for Community Action Nepal.

If you are interested in taking part in the OEM (Paul is running it this year & Dorina is supporting as a Marshall) come along & find out about it & enjoy a Nepalese evening. Non-runners can still enjoy a fascinating insight.

A date for your diary for now, more details as soon as they are finalised will appear on our ROFN & Events pages of our web-site.

Paul’s Blog – Excitement after a storm.

Well the wished for abating of those winds needed a bit of patience over the weekend didn’t it. Coming over the Crimea at 7:00 am on Saturday it was clear there would be trouble ahead. Clearly the rain had been lashing down through the night as the roads were the worse we’d seen them since Boxing Day 2015 & that’s saying something. Arriving at the Café it took me a minute or two just to open the car door & sprint to the protection of the café. The afon Llugwy was already in full Speight & still rising, un-like the weather we knew we were in for a quiet day, only mad dogs & rugby players go out in weather like that.

Not exactly correct, we did have a steady trickle of customers but not enough to stop me putting of the inevitable ‘I must go to see Swallow Falls’ (I have ‘form’ here from 2015 but this time made the decision to avoid the knee deep water of the back road at least in favour of the ankle deep water of the A.5). With running gear donned & camera in hand I went out into Hannah’s arms & got joyously soaked, I even smiled as the odd lunatic driver sprayed me from head to foot, in fairness a fool was getting what he was asking for!

Into the safety of the woods the trees swayed but thankfully weren’t creaking much & I soon reached my goal, camera clicked, battery died, s…, s…, s… but then un-like most un-prepared non-photographers the grey matter kicked in ‘there’s a spare battery in the case, it could even be charged?’. My plan was saved & if asked I can show you the proof of my adventure & some biblical weather in Capel.

For the first time in our history (almost 7 years to the day) we closed the café earlier than planned as we had homes to go to, apologies if anyone did try to use us after 6:00 pm, but our two & a quarter hour journey home proved the call to be a good one.

Sunday dawned brighter & saw Dorina & I head off for the Wrexham running festival. My Half Marathon was the last race underway at 10:30 so I had more time than usual to make my kit decision, wrong again, as we set of under sunny skies but an icy wind. I knew I wasn’t in condition to run a pb or anything close but as ever the red mist had by now descended so I latched onto the 1:30 pacer despite him setting a decidedly 1:27 pace, clever that!

One by one runners alongside me tailed off until with only two left it was duly my turn at about the 9K mark. Only runners will truly appreciate how (at times) the remaining 12K felt, fading energy, try to quicken but get slower, pain, ‘I’ll never make it to the end’ but this one had an extra twist of fate. Every hill on the 2nd half had a full on headwind which just added to the bloody frustration of it all.

You may ask why, well eventually, as ever, it dawned ‘I am going to make it’ & my spirits began to rise. With 4K to go I saw him, I can catch him, maybe not, yes I can, yes I did, my race was run. Shortly before the end I saw Kean’s encouraging face urging me on & moments later Dorina’s smiling ‘well done my darling’ greeted me across the line.

Lets not talk about time, well lets, 1:35:04, an annoying 4 seconds for sure but at the top end of my pre-race expectations albeit well down on a pb & my early pace. Race de-brief with Kean & Dorina in a Costa outlet, ‘it was the wind lad’ came from Kean’s mature mouth, partly true but speed work or the complete lack of it tells the true story.

As we headed off for another coffee back at Kean’s & Sandra’s we walked past the prize giving, it was cold ‘no lets back to the car Dorina’.

But (& my apologies for this, not) that’s not quite the end of the story. Monday morning saw me out in the drizzle doing an 8 mile ‘recovery’ run, as I pressed the safe button on my watch it did something new & flashed 3 medals at me. Fastest 5K, 20.19, fastest 10K, 42.05, fastest HM, all brought a smile to my weary face despite the stats being only true to the watch & not the man. But there’s more, the afternoon saw me look for the results, I’d won my age category & the sweetest bit of all was I am sure the guy I honed in on 4K out was ‘my’ runner up.

Thanks to the organiser’s for keeping the races on track, their nerves must have been on edge throughout Saturday’s visit from Hannah & for hopefully keeping my address to post me my prize, next year I promise not to walk on by, Hypothermia will hopefully be worth the risk.

Paul’s Blog – Running to Catch Up

The Sheep tracks race is long gone but was a great route tackled in that glorious weather of late February. My recce with Steve the week before paid great dividends but still saw me make one howler between Checkpoints 11 & 12 which saw me waist deep in the dreaded gorse with no path to turn to. Over two weeks on & despite wearing leggings to protect me from such an eventuality I am still easing bits of thorns out of my scarred legs. Earlier in the race I was almost in splendid isolation between CP3 & CP7, having not recced this it would have been anything but splendid had I not been running to catch up with a guy from Buckley (local knowledge & a Kean & Steve tip) & his mate. By keeping them in sight I was just able to follow them & the racing line rather than target the Gorse even earlier.

Of course it was seriously hot (in those leggings) for a fell race in February, CP15 saw me demand water from Borne’e (well he did call me Chris or some other insult) before I tackled the last major climb. From here things went well with me picking up about 5 places over the latter stages, who needs speed when you have stamina, well me of course, nothing new there!

I finished 49th out of 106 starters in 3:37:51 & was 4th O.50’s qualifier in the Welsh Champs class, could this be my first year to target a respectable Championship place? Irrespective the main thing it was a great route & race & being part of it was a late but very good call.

Moving on, last week saw me again ‘running to catch up’ after putting household duties ahead of enjoyment. I awoke on Friday morning with a grand weekly mileage total to date of absolute Zero (if you discount running into Tesco’s in Prthmadog from the car park with icy rain slicing into my face). So a plan was needed, watching the weather forecast, ‘shit more rain by 10:00, move Paul, move!’

30 minutes later I was moving in a running motion as I headed from home out towards the Mawdach for some speed spurts on the flat. The ‘speed’ word failed to inspire so as the spots of rain began to fall ‘no Paul, don’t run too far from home, U-turn at the Abbey & get back to the forest & it’s waterfalls’. Good decision, mojo levels soared & after waterfalls viewed (on the run) in spate, a drenching to boot I arrived home some 15.7 miles later, the catch up had begun.

Next day saw a repeat of my 20 miler route where I’d been accosted by Ellie a few weeks before. It was tough but part 2 of a 3 part plan had been grittily nailed despite a temporary delay due to the morning gales (well done to Craig Jones who got an excellent turn out for the Pipedream race, trainer Kean had talked me out of it, possibly for his own purposes but I won’t go there).

Sunday dawned, snow on the hills, wind & rain in Capel, part 3 of plan again delayed but after an easyish day in the café part 3 finally came, a 10 miler to Swallow Falls & around Capel. 2 Miles from home two late ‘walkers’ with two sheep dogs descended towards me, the ‘mad’ woman begun to run, held out her arms & gave me a hug & a kiss, Ellie you are forgiven your sins but what were the chances of that? Ellie & Adrian had traversed the Gylderrau from PyG braving the deep snow & fiercely cold winds, we had all clearly won. From here my erstwhile heavy legs shed their weight, I felt powerful & light, I had been ‘running to catch up’, I had caught up & I was on a high.

The previous evening Dorina & I caught up with many friends & acquaintances at the Eryri annual awards, great job done by Jennifer & Ellie. Russel Bentley’s (& kids) humorous & open presentation will be one to talk about in the coming years. I used my 20 miler as an excuse to dodge giving a summary of Bronwen Jenkinson’s achievements but did summon enough energy to pick up her award for best Overall Athlete on her behalf(3rd year in a row, now that’s a proper runner for you). Bronwen the trophy awaits you at the café but bring help, as you know, it takes a lot of carrying!

I am now tapering for the Wrexham half this Sunday, with my current high still lingering that tapering could prove hard to maintain but in Paul’s world lessons don’t need learning all the time that would be very boring & far too intelligent.

Whether it’s Moel Winion on Saturday, Wrexham HM, Park runs etc. etc. hope your plans go well this weekend & lets hope the winds abate.