Monday, 16 June 2014

Fell running at Cwm Pennant

Saturday morning and we're packing the van after a couple of days relaxing in the Rhinogs. We are heading up to the Cwm Pennant valley for a fell race, but I'm distracted slightly, as the resident wild bunny rabbit is allowing me to get very close as it munches on grass.

With the van packed we set off and find the magnificant Cwm Pennant hostel in glorious sunshine. We're early so we join a couple of other Glossopdale Harriers for second breakfast and have a walking recce of the first few, and last few kilometres of the race. Tim raced, but I chose not to after deciding there was a very steep-airy section on a ridge and a little too much rough ground for my liking on a 25km run. But, I had a plan for a decent long-ish run.

View of the ridges and hills in the distance on the race from our recce wander
Me, heading off before the race start
At around 10.30am, half hour before the race started, I set off....along the race route. My aim was to reach the summit of Moel Hebog (782m) before the racers....and my plan just about worked. I was overtaken by first and second runners about 500m from the summit and then Tim and the guy in 4th place guy soon after.

Looking down Moel Hebog from about 2/3rds up...runners coming into view

Start of the descent off Moel Hebog.....Tim is one of the distance white specks!
After the long steep climb up Moel Hebog I paused to see a few other runners come past, then I continued along the race route. First down steeply, then up Moelyr Ogof (655m) and then down again to the saddle and up onto Moel Lefn (638m). The views along the race route and around to Garnedd-goch (the racers final summit) were spectacular.

Steeper rocky section dropping off Moel Hebog....Moel Ogof looms up ahead
Through the rock gap up onto Moel Ogof
I kept pausing to take in the views and snap photos, but also frequently to let runners in the race get past me. My average pace for the run was slow....but it was too lovely to be rushing. There were a good few steep descents for me to practice technique on, and then a few rocky sections where I just didn't rush at all.

Descending off Moel Lefn with Mynydd Tal-Y-mignedd rising up to the left
As I reached the furthest point on my run (just short of the racers check point 5) I picked up a lovely track down through the mine workings and along the fields on a dismantled railway (including having to jump across a couple of rotten bridges). The ground was boggy and marshy for a lot of the track, but well defined and easy undulating running.

Moel Lefn

Dropping down to pick up the track back to the hostel - Garnedd-goch in cloud
At Isaf farm I picked up the road and made my way to the point where the racers would be joining it, about 2km lower down the valley. I made a rough calculation that I might just make it back to the finish before the leader came in....but it wasn't to be. Simon Harding passed me at the final farm, and I'd been back at the hostel only a short time when the second place runner came in. Tim had a great run coming in 9th place (his race report is on his blog). We enjoyed the post race banter and a very welcome shower at the hostel - thanks to Math the race organiser and the hostel for their hospitality - tea and delicious cakes were most appreciated.

I'd managed a shorter run than I wanted but it was a hot humid day and the slow pace tagging along the race route made up for the deficit in distance. I'd wanted a run of 25km at least, but being out for 19km in 3hrs15 made for a lovely Long Steady Distance. I also had a big 'stroll' up Y Garn, and scrambling only a few days earlier so my legs were feeling the radical increase in height gain this week! This run accumulated about 1000m of ascent taking my weekly ascent to 3248m - about double my usual.

No comments:

Post a Comment