It’s hard to believe that this years event is now almost 6 weeks past us, my apologies for not putting this report together before my Alpine excursion, there is only one true excuse, please bear with me whilst I explain.
The week after ROFN I’d planned to do two blogs the first would cover my 3rd trip to the Yorkshire 3 Peaks to walk it with friends & the remarkable co-incidence & treatment I received when my car broke down that same evening as well as going on to give an account of the Stockholm Marathon. The second would be a report on our ROFN Day. More than an hour of typing into the first of these my internet connection crashed, the drafted blog was lost as was my soul & motivation to start typing all over again, at last that motivation has returned, so here goes, ROFN 2018:-
Dorina & I stayed at the Cafe overnight on the Friday so that we could maximise sleep for the long day ahead. Waking at 4:00 I began to go through my pre-run routines whilst Dorina cooked me 3 Poached Eggs on toast with 153 Backed Beans (not quite that sad but you’ll get my drift). We were soon joined by John & Marion as supportive as ever & then at 4:45 by Paul Jones who so willingly offered to support the first leg of my 45 mile run namely the Siabod Challenge. With photographs taken Paul & I set off bang on time as the clock struck 5:00 am in what promised to be perfect conditions. Crossing the Glyderrau we were rewarded with a gloriously still sunrise, with Paul being quite a bit faster than me he was able to stop & capture several stunning photo’s & then catch me up. Paul’s speed would come in handy twice later on when I was able to ask him to fill up water bottles at Pen y Pass both on the way up & down Snowdon in the knowledge that he would soon catch me up again. At the foot of Snowdon we were over 10 minutes ahead of schedule, feeling good with pride coming before a fall I then proceeded up Snowdon with confidence & too much speed, it felt good whilst it lasted but to climb the Pyg track in 1:06 (only slightly slower than a good training pace for me) when you have another 35 miles ahead of you was certainly not a great idea. The descent saw reality strike, suddenly the day began to look like a long one. The return over Moel Siabod is never easy but as the days warmth grew my mojo shrank, still you’ve got yourself into this Paul only you can get yourself out of it. With Paul’s great support we strode back into a now bustling Cafe after 6 Hours 27 Minutes a new Best Known Time for the route but not very clever on my part!
I tried to acknowledge all the people taking part in events at the cafe itself but in truth I was also thinking use this stop effectively, re-fuel, hydrate, change socks, hydrate… I have at least learnt that much in the recent years.
Now it was time to start Leg 2, the Siabod Half Round, a mere 15 miles or so with 4 more summits. My support team this time was Peter Durkin, Alwyn Oliver & Brian Robbins, Brian having seen the state I was in decided to support the whole leg rather than join us at Pen y Gwryd. Despite my best efforts to re-fuel the days warmth re-drained me on the climb up Siabod, sensing this Brian & Alwyn kept behind me as I crested the summit ridge but they were clearly concerned as I began to whimper motivational stuff like ‘this is bloody tough’. Descending Siabod a slight recovery set in but as soon as I hit softer boggy ground cramps hit & my pace dropped again. The miners path climb up onto Glyder Fach seemed as tortuous as ever so Brian & I consulted, is there a direct line to the summit to avoid the plateau, yes, lets go for it then! Brian led the way, but it wasn’t the way was it Brian! On reflection the next 30 minutes were comical as Brian began leading us towards the wrong Glyder with me thinking why are we circling the summit we should have been aiming for, tensions grew when Brian got into scrambling mode ‘it’s easy Paul’ he encouraged ‘Brian I’ve been cramping for a few hours I think I could do without this!’ I hissed. Enough was enough with me still not realising that Brian had Gyder Fawr in his mind I stopped following took my own path to Glyder Fach, Peter & Alwyn clearly also having doubts followed my new course. Soon the penny dropped & an apologetic Brian was soon back in the fold. We’d lost some time but in truth this leg was never going to be run to schedule it was now a case of simply managing my decline safely back to the Cafe. Here my supporters worked as a team, Brian led (the correct way) as we headed back over the Eastern Glyderrau, Peter followed but constantly looked over his shoulder to check on my pace & slow Brian if necessary & Alwyn kept a respectful distance behind me, all provided me with fluids when I needed them. Having almost completed the descent back into Capel I broke the news ‘sorry guys, the route takes the long way back to the cafe via Plas y Brenin’, don’t think it made me Mr. popular!
Back at the cafe more great support & more re-fuelling before it was time to set off for the 3rd & final leg, Moel Siabod itself. This time my support team consisted of Dorina, Maggie Oliver, Sandra Rowlands, Rebecca Roberts & a chap called Steven Brown who I’d just been introduced to by Rebecca. I gave a brief briefing ‘now girls remember we are going to run until we are out of sight of the cafe, then we are going to walk & there will be absolutely no running up any hills! Got that’. This was taken on board by all except by my Angel (aka Dorina) who promptly went off like a hare in training for the Siabod Fell race, clearly un-leashed from a long day at the cafe it took several stern words such as ‘please my darling’ before we all settled into a more sedate pace. We reached the summit in 1:12 but that no longer mattered the 6 or so hours of doubt had by now gone I was going to complete this years run, the Siabod Triple Challenge was at last in the bag. This final leg was completed in 2 Hours & 1 Minute a slow but enjoyable end to a great mountain day.
Of course none of the above could have been done without my support runners, John & Marion & Gaby for her Goulash & care but of course this was only my story many others put a lot of time & effort into our ROFN Day, I was not there to see much of it but will do my best to cover it now:-
Twiggy & Peter Price (& friends from Trefoil) for making & selling a variety of Crafts as ever your support is simply wonderful. Hazel Robbins for selling Nepalese artefacts supplied by Doug Scott’s charity CAN with whom we continue to have a great relationship.
Ian Draisey deserves particular mention simply because he organised the Cycling Sportif again this year & this event (the riders passed us as we reached the Pen y Gwryd on our leg 2) was the biggest single fund raiser for us this year at circa 2K as this goes to press!Also thanks to Helen Isles who supported the riders & of course to all the riders who took part, hope you enjoyed your day in the same way I enjoyed mine.
Sara Jackson for once again providing a more peaceful way of enjoying the day with her Yoga classes, thanks Sara.
Charlotte Evans again led a group of hardy girls wild swimming & am delighted to see that some have turned this into a regular habit with Charlotte’s encouragement.
Apologies were received from Mike Lees on the day itself whom I’m glad to say is now back to ‘normal’ but this potential for disaster simply proved the spirit of the day itself with Tim standing in at a moments notice to host the Auction & our ‘own’ Nick Livesey stepping in to host the Quiz (Mike having e-mailed us the questions & answers from his sick bed). Great job guys, summed the day up from where I was sat!
As ever John & Marion’s support & organisational skills both in the lead up, on the day itself & the weeks that follow are a key factor. Marion has created the visual account of the day which is still on display at the Cafe, John will be going out to visit the Melamchi School at his own expense to give us a detailed report of how all the monies raised by all our supporters have been spent.
Thank you too to the Cafe team who kept the cafe working whilst all of this was going on.
The final thank you must go to all those who have supported our efforts by actually donating cash or buying goods etc, without your support none of our endeavours would have helped the school a single dot.
So what does all this mean? Well this year the total raised has exceeded £6,000 & is still rising. If you have read this with interest there is still time to give by donating at our counter & remember this years fund raising will culminate once again in November when Doug Scott visits the Cafe to give his presentation ‘Up & About: the hard road to Everest’.
If you’ve reached here simply thank you for being interested in a day at the Cafe.