Report by Karen Jones
A group of enthusiastic members decided to take on the challenge of the Brecon Beacons running festival organised by Trail Events. The distances on offer were Ultra, Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K so something for everyone. This was going to be a mini away weekend, involving camping at the suggested site of Talybont Farm.
We all arrived the day before the run, fortunately these trail events are on a Saturday which meant we didn’t have to wait long to take part. The weekend was forecast to be very nice weather and for Wales that was a bonus. All tents and vans in situ, we popped to the start point to get our numbers, all numbers had to be signed for and our t-shirts picked up. Back to campsite to fuel up with carbs and a little bit of alcohol, followed by a bit of race strategy then off the bed.
Each race distance went off at different times, 8:30 Marathon, 9:30 Half Marathon and 10:30 10K. Steve went off first, then Tracy, Deb, Bryony, Mary and Karen and finally Stuart, Melvyn and Richard. Caroline stayed behind to look after Eddie and Archie. This report is taking the point of view from the Half Marathon, which we were told was 15 miles!
Our wave went off and we stayed together as a team and Tracy said to keep yellow pace, trying to achieve 4 mph. Good strategy and a nice start along the canal. What was to come can only be described as running torture, we started to climb rapidly but running on paths with stones exposed great for turning an ankle, but onwards we went. We picked up the Taff Trail, this trail was to form the first part of the run, we continue to climb. The first check point appears about 3.7km into the run, taking on refreshment we continue up and up. This becomes one of those runs that you feel if you don’t get into a rhythm you are gonna hurt. The scenery was fantastic, we were running above the Talybont Reservoir. Up and up, bit of a pattern here but it was going up for 7.5 miles, don’t want to walk must keep tottering up. In the distance we could see the next checkpoint at 13k, but it was at the highest point! It is now getting very hot, the shade has disappeared and the sun is very strong, we are taking on plenty of water and electrolytes but is it enough? Approaching the check point the photographer was clicking away and we had loads of smiles, we could see the last of the hill (or so we thought……….)
Fuelled up at the check point we started our descent through the forest, it was fabulous and so cooling but mindful of those roots and rocks to not trip over. Exiting the forest feeling refreshed we were to start climbing again, the route now was ‘undulating’ up and down we go, there is no shade we are now in the thick of the afternoon sun. We pass a fellow runner who looked like they were in distress, they had left their water bottle at the last checkpoint. Tracy kindly handed over her bottle, and we were on our way. The scenery is just great we can now see where we have come from looking over the other side of the reservoir, the path does indeed go up and up.
The course continues in this undulating fashion what feels like more up than down, until we crossed the dam to the final checkpoint. I was starting to feel very rubbish by this time and advised to take on coke and crisps, we filled up our bottles and continued the last 4 km. We retraced our steps and coming along the canal path were cheered on by spectators a great pick me up. The finish line was in sight, one last corner and a welcome party was there to see us over the line. Hand in hand with Tracy to go over the line together, I was so pleased to finish. 16.1 miles we recorded on our Garmins, we are getting used to running these ultra half marathons!! Slow walk back to the campsite to celebrate and exchange stories.
Steve Low won male 2nd place, 4th overall – Marathon
Bryony North won female 2nd place, 7th overall – Half Marathon
Steve Low – Marathon
Karen Jones – Half Marathon
Bryony North – Half Marathon
Stuart Thane – 10K
Deborah Heighes – Half Marathon
Melvyn Dolman – 10K
Mary Thane – Half Marathon
Richard Jones – 10K
Tracy Dolman – Half Marathon
The campsite was to be recommended if ever in the that area, uninterrupted hills all around and the pitches generous sizes. www.talybontfarmcamping.co.uk
The organisation of the event was very good, no bells and whistles just the right stuff for the event.
Routes nice but tough, this is the Brecon Beacons after all. Nice medal and t shirt, no goodie bags.
Would I do it again? – Yes, loved it we were of course blessed with the weather but could have had it
slightly cooler for the running. Not complaining.