First things first, that Petzl Night Race the Saturday before last. It was the first running of this event in the Coed y Brenin & I was really glad that I belatedly entered just before heading off to Scotland, being on the doorstep to where I live just adds to the sense of being & enjoyment.
The basic idea was that both teams (made up of three) & solo entries all start at the same time, 6:00 pm with head torches mandatory & to be turned on as the evening progressed. You then ran for 3 hours around a circuit of just over 2 miles to see how many laps you could do. Each team member had to complete at least one lap whereas the solo’s simply kept going round & round, I was one of the solo’s, this was going to feel like Siabod Summit Challenge all over again!
The monotony may sound thankless but it was anything but, with a testing come & go climb of 300′ followed by a similar ‘relaxing’ descent Matt Ward had chosen a very doable circuit. Running through the centre at the end of each lap with music blaring, friends cheering you on (inc. Dorina, thank you Gaby) & Steve Edwards/Matt on the tanoy updating the spectators on your progress & position all added to a great atmosphere & took away any monotony. I was lapped by the fastest teams twice but just avoided being lapped by the fastest solo whilst being able to lap a few teams & solo’s myself, all this just spurred you on as the head torches blared through the forest as the night drew on.
The most memorable bit was that hill, after the first ascent I targeted to run it the first 4 times before being reduced to a walk for the stiffer sections, this approach made sense & the Marshall (Mark Arthurton) seemed to confer as his wise words on the first climb were ‘keep it nice & steady Paul’. To place Mark near the top of this climb was a masterstroke by Matt whether planned or not, Mark being both knowledgeable knowing many of those taking part was able to motivate me & no doubt many others during the course of the evening, in the end I ran the hill complete for the first 6 laps before gradually accepting a slow demise.
In the end & at 4 minutes past nine I completed my final & 10th lap to finish a very pleasing 6th solo overall & 2nd in my O.40’s class, even got a prize! Better still Dan & Phil (my Oggie 8 team mates) won the team prize with Dyfi Roberts. At a well attended prize giving (a free beer helped) we all relaxed together but did I hear correctly as Matt said something like ‘Stephen Edwards, 6 in 6, Snowdon Marathon’.
Now Stephen apart from designing our Cafe logo & signage has also been kind enough to call out my name in association with the Cafe at numerous races in the past few years, there was only one thing to do: 3 days later I e-mailed him, ‘did I hear correctly, you’re doing the Snowdon Marathon route on 6 consecutive days for charity, the Cafe will make a donation, do you want anyone to tag along for part of one of them?’
For details of Steve’s & Alan’s challenge & charity I urge you to visit ‘www.justgiving.com/6in6teamirfon’
I joined them this Tuesday on a glorious day part way through their second Marathon at Pen y Gwryd together with Phil who despite the pressures of being a Snowdon Marathon organiser was supporting them the whole way round on top of running half of it with them the day before. After Beddgelert we were also joined by Vincent as we ran towards that dreaded Waunfawr hill. To Steve’s & Alan’s immense credit they ran that hill in it’s entirety to be rewarded by many cheers as they ran into Llanberis, two down four to go, great effort so far guys!
As for me a 21 mile night race, three 10 mile plus training runs & then a 22 mile support run all within 2 weeks of the Snowdon Marathon, only this Saturday will tell me if I’ve found a new way to taper but I am really looking forward to the Snowdon Marathon. Hope everyone taking part feels the same & remember no matter how tired we may be feeling running into Waunfawr two guys are on their 6th Marathon in 6 days & we’re not talking about a flat one!!
Finally time waits for no one so congratulations to John Rowell for deciding to join Rob Johnson, Myself & others in Patagonia, in Rob’s words only 9 Sleeps until we go, can’t wait, if only I could sleep through most of the 25 hours it’ll take to get there!