Paul’s Blog – Part Six

My silence since the Welsh 1,000’s 10 days ago has had nothing to do with having a bad one & everything to do with my feet don’t seem to have touched the ground since. In the 9 days which followed it I got confused as to whether I was having a recovery week or a pre Coed y Brenin Trail Marathon ‘full on’ week before tapering back this week. Still on a high from the race the ‘full on’ week prevailed as I went on to amass a further 80 miles with approximately 11,000 feet of climb. Highlights included an 18 miler down to Cwm Idwal with 3 laps of the lake (why haven’t I thought of that one before), taking my mate Chris around the Moelwyn race route, at a walk I hasten to add & then the icing on the cake yesterday with a traverse of the Snowdon Horseshoe with Chris, Georg & Javier where we were blessed with glorious weather highlighting the beauty & splendor of this classic route.

I digress, back to the 1,000’s itself.

As race day approached it became clear that all our hard prep was at risk of being blown literally to pieces by the forecasted storms. Now we may be nuts but I’m pretty sure that none of us were relishing racing lightning across the Carneddau as well as each other!

With Dorina taking me to the start we set off from the Cafe under light grey skies at 06:45 but in the length of time it takes to drive the Ogwen Valley these turned menacingly black & sure enough lightning strikes over Anglesey soon followed. The start was duly delayed until 08:30, thanks here to Harvey Lloyd & OVMRO radio link which predicted the summits would be safe by 10:00am. Only one problem with that because I knew that I’d be up high by 9:30 at the latest!

Thankfully the storms ceased on cue for the race start so game on. Last year I won the 4 peaks mountaineers race & a chap named Bob Hind won the 5 peaks, this year with just the 4 peaks route we were up against each other so I spent most of the extra time at the race start trying to figure out just who was Bob Hind. My task here was made a little easier because amazingly Bob has just turned 60 so all I had to do was find the fittest looking guy who fit that bill, advantage me!

Sure enough my suspected candidate hit the front before Aber & I moved alongside before he dropped me as we climbed towards the wood. Then a chap called Paul Boakes who had not been on my radar came past me & I knew I was in a real race. Re-taking second place through the forest I drew alongside Bob on the climb up to the Falls, we introduced ourselves & shook hands, what a sport we enjoy!

Scene set I won’t bore you with too many details but in a nutshell this is how it evolved for me:-

Bob took a better line up onto the ridge to edge ahead.
Pulling him back in I took a better line to Yr Arag’s check point to gain a 57 second advantage (yes that close after an hour & 20 minutes).
Paul Boakes remained worryingly close.
Thankfully from here-on I was able to slowly increase the lead but we offered genuine encouragement to each other as we passed on my return from Daffyd.
The Glyders saw a return of the rain, it was wicked, a nav. error on the plateau had me shouting Marshalls, Marshalls where are you, surely disqualification simply because I mistakenly kept running in the pea soup would be too cruel. Was I glad when they finally returned my call, I almost kissed them & got disqualified for sexual abuse instead!

By the time I hit the Pyg track, like last year, I felt I had the win in the bag but that doesn’t make the last leg any easier, head down, pain, pain & it was finally over.

To win against really good competition, which included Roy Silver who once again put in a good performance to finish fourth, made the feeling of relieved elation even better, it was great to exchange words with both Bob (2nd) & Paul (3rd) as they made their similar slogs to the summit.

Bob & I again bumped into each other at the Prize Giving at the Tyn y Coed later that evening, true camaraderie, if I can do anything like his time when I am 60 I will be a very happy man.

The day would not have been possible without the tremendous effort of the Marshalls (I re-paid this debt by Marshalling with Chris the following weekend on the Pedol Pennant, although we were in wondrous weather) who must be commended for their dedication to brave the storms. I am also indebted to Georg for feeding me at both road crossings & Dorina who met me at Pen y Pass before & after that final climb. Also thanks & congratulations to Geoff Price who did the F class & cheered me on as I passed him high on the Pyg, to Adrian Williams who did the A class passed me on the Pyg & allowed me to hang onto his bum bag (not quite literally) until the worst of the pain was over. Finally my thanks to Captain Neil Turnball for a nice reflective natter as we descended back to Pen y Pass. Ooh, I almost forgot my nemesis Kean who turned out to support us with Sandra at Ogwen, thanks to you both too.

As Sunday dawned my general lethargy left me in no doubt what an epic I’d been in but in a masochistic way that simply makes you feel even better. No honestly it does!

No time to reflect further (what do you mean he reflects too much) it is onto that little Marathon this coming weekend, I am trying not to think that the ascent in it will be more than yesterday’s Horseshoe, please commit me somewhere soon.

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