The Indian Summer has arrived here in Snowdonia so lets make the most of it & get outside. Even if you are working like I was yesterday (in the very busy cafe) there is enough daylight left after 6:00 pm to get out & enjoy yourself as I did with my favorite short lap of Capel rounding off an excellent weekend. Capel itself was really busy with both the Rab Mountain Marathon & Snowman Triathlon converging on us over both Saturday & Sunday, there were a number of tired but fit athletes re-fuelling with us on Sunday afternoon particularly good to see Eryri’s Hayley Turner & Stuart McDonald after their team effort in the Rab, coming in 4th in their class & also Kate Worthington who I believe came second in her category, again in the Rab.
Despite the cafe being as busy as a summer weekend including our Open MIC night, thanks Alan, I was able to sneak out during each day to enjoy the glorious sun.
On Saturday it was down to Porthmadog to run in the Trailfest thanks to the promise of a late entry from Sian & Dyfi the race organisers. As the train then took us up to Tanygrisiau there was a feeling we were in for something special & indeed we were. The run back to Porthmadog was simply wonderful, yes there were the normal early thoughts ‘this is hard, can I keep this up’, ‘where’s Kean, probably stalking me from behind, waiting to pounce’, ‘you ran 18 miles on Monday you know you can do this Paul’ but that all changed at the first drinks station 7K in. The three guys I’d been running with either stopped to take on fluids or in the case of one simply began to tire to leave me (I ran straight through knowing I was carrying enough fluids to do so) running in splendid isolation for the next 7K. It was indeed splendid running alone with no pressure to catch the guys in front or be caught from behind I could run at what felt a lovely rhythm & take in the views which were stunning. I ran past lakes I knew were there but had never ventured to & over terrain which suited my feet as well as my new Roclite shoes, ‘how lucky am I to be doing this on a day like today’ thoughts were never far away.
Then the spell was broken as I reached the second feed station 14K in, that’s a competitor re-fuelling, he must be tired, there’s a place up for grabs!
As I began to reel him in after a short road section a rocky technical step or two could be seen ahead, mind in the wrong place, ouchh, stubbed my toe & very nearly greeted the technical rock with my head. Thankfully I just kept my footing negotiated the step unscathed, foot off the throttle Paul it’s only one place. As the pained big toe gradually eased so too the caution wained, ‘that place Paul, that place’. True enough on the next hill (plenty of them) the place was won as we exchanged pleasantries but less than half a Kilometre later I heard him talking again, shit someone else has caught him & that means he or she are catching me too! Sure enough a young man in black was soon glued to my heels, I speeded up so he was reluctant to come past, surly he’s not the type to track me for 3K & then spurt past at the line. Thankfully he wasn’t, as we hit the road exchanging comments about how lucky we were I called him through & he obliged, now it was my turn.
Following his lazy looking lopping strides I began thoughts of ‘he went past me 900 metres ago & is still only 30 metres in front, hang on to him Paul’. This made the 1.4K Cob actually enjoyable (had I been in splendid isolation here it would have been anything but) as the gap closed, grew, closed & grew again. In truth I knew that I wasn’t going to get him but hanging on made me work hard & probably clinched my sub 2 hour time of 1:59:21 to place 19th out of over 160. What a race & to have run well simply put the icing on the cake. Eryri’s Adrian Williams came in 4th approx. 16 minutes ahead of me & the remarkable SPJ at the age of 60 beat me by 11 minutes, well he is the British Over 60’s Champ. Kean would have to settle for the joint consulations of Sandra winning her age category (some achievement after an enforced lay-off from long runs of more than a year) & that little Rugby match down at Twickenham.
On Sunday I again sneaked out of the Cafe, this time it was just a walk into the forest to watch some of the athletes descending the final hill on Siabod as they neared the Snowman’s finishing line. Thought I was fit but as the first guy I saw was Eryri’s Jim Bacon some people take it to the next level. Well done to everyone who took part in either the Trailfest, Rab or Snowman what a wonderful weekend we were blessed with, how very, very lucky we are!
Big toe still a bit sore but who gives a s…, I can still run on it & the suns shining!