On Saturday five Buckley Runners ran the 38th Annual Penmaenmawr Fell Race (usually called “Pen Fell” for brevity), claimed to be the oldest fell race in Wales.
After a wet summer competitors were warned in advance that the course was wet. Heavy rain overnight continuing into the morning could only add to it. Fortunately as we drove west along A55 the sky cleared and we were treated to fabulous weather; cool, sunny with a light breeze. This race comes with dire warnings not to be underestimated; in foul weather there is little margin for error or stupidity up there on open moorland. Fortunately the weather was kind this year.
233 runners had entered the race (you have to enter on-line, no entries on the day) and on the day 193 turned up. One DNF but the other 192 sploshed and splashed and slithered round a roughly triangular route on the high ground behind the quarries at Penmaenmawr for a little short of 11 miles. It includes a steep climb to start followed by steady climbing for another couple of miles, a very wet boggy section, a short road section, rocky and undulating tracks and paths heading north back to a very steep, slippery drop down the notorious “Donkey Path” back to the village hall at Capelulo. Hot soup and a roll are very welcome rewards for the finishers along with a bottle of “Pen Fell Ale” provided by Bragdy Conwy.
It was a good day for the club. Jez Brown had an absolutely magnificent run to take first place overall and in 1st MV40 against some class opposition. At the back of the leading group at the top of the Donkey Track Jez decided to go for it on the slippery descent, not only passing the others but opening out a 24 second gap to finish in 1.17.21. Superb stuff, Well done Jez.
Simon Roberts was 10th overall in 1.22.16 with 4th MV40.
Peter Roberts was 63th overall in1.37.47, winning the MV70 class by 64 minutes!
John Morris was 97th overall in1.44.03 taking 3rd MV60
Last Buckley runner home was Robert Mackey in 167th place with a time of 2.12.07, 13th of 17 MV60's in the race. (that's nearly 15% of the men running)
It was an excellent day, and I thoroughly enjoyed the race. I was surprised to be 8 minutes slower than last year, but in the same position (167th out of 192 this year and 167th out of 190 last year) with the same runners around me! Perhaps the wet and slippery conditions did make a difference, certainly the bog was heavy going and the tracks were very slippery. Nothing to do with being a year older after all.