Race day dawned with the brilliant blue skies & clear summits of the day before now obscured by a blanket of cloud but the forecast gave hope that it might clear up by race start at 2:00 pm.
My fears of reduced entries due to the Welsh Champs race the next day were soon dispersed once registration opened at midday. By race start 59 runners were lined up at the start line for the pre-race photograph behind the Cotswold Outdoor banner, our race sponsors. One second before the off this increased to 60 as one final runner sprinted back to the start line to a loud cheers, had he over reccied the start or simply been caught short, either way he was certainly warmed up!
Runners got away at exactly 2:00 pm carrying kit because the summit was still in cloud but none complained so thank you for understanding my call on that.
The race began to take shape once runners reached the mountain proper & by the summit Richard Roberts (34 minutes) had a clear 2 minute lead on Martin Cliffe a former race winner with Matt Fortes a further minute or so back in 3rd. Miranda Grant was 1st Lady to the summit only 17 seconds behind Matt in 4th place overall. Next Lady was Sian Williams who had a lot to do to try to close the one & a half minute gap.
The top three men held their places on the way down, Richard increased his lead to over 3 minutes to win in an excellent time of 50:53 with Martin (now of South Cheshire Harriers) settling for 2nd in 54:13. Matt had closed the gap on Martin to just 23 seconds & had given his all. Also of note was an excellent descent by Gwyn Owen who had leaped up (well down actually) 4 places to cross the line in 4th place. A magnificent 5th overall & 1st Lady for Miranda who crossed the line in 56:14 a full one & a half minutes ahead of a her winning time from last year. Sian held on for 2nd place in 60:49 & was followed by what appears to have been a ding dong battle between Sarah Serry (former race winner) & Gemma Moore, Sarah had overtaken Gemma descending the mountain only for Gemma to regain & take 3rd on the run in clocking up a time of 63:36.
First Local to claim the Mike Cousins shield was Gethin Armstrong, 10th overall in 57:44.
Male Age Category winners were: U.40 Warren Renkel, O.50 Richard Borne, O.60 Russel Owen (excellent 58:41 & 11th Overall) & O.70 Brian Robbins, this sprightly 75 year old had just sneaked a ding-donger with friendly rival John Morris (Buckley) by a mere 21 seconds.
In the Ladies the winners were O.40 Sian Williams, O.50 Linda Jones, & O.70 Maggie Oliver, well who else as I believe she has won her age category every year since I’ve took over as race organiser in 2013!
Of particular notes were that it was a good day for the Men Over 40’s who took the top 3 places & Eryri Harriers who took 4 of the top 5 places, 6 of the top ten. Thanks to my fellow club runners for supporting the race but also to all the other runners (one from the flatlands of Norwich) who made it such a great day.
Prize giving was held in the festival marquee where I dished out the new Male & Female trophies (donated by the Café) & the more than generous 16 prizes donated by Cotswold Outdoor (thanks Chris, Rosemary & Meta for your continued support).
Final thanks to a magnificent support team both in the café & Marshalls out on the hill who guided the runners despite the horrors of those femme fatale’s aka ‘The Midges’.