Saturday, September 23, 2017
   
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Brecon Fans Weekend

A view from the front...

Paul Jeggo, John Williams, Ed Charlton-Weedy and Harold Wyber produced solid runs in very warm conditions this weekend at the Fans fell racing weekend in the Breacon Beacons.

Saturday saw the 5.8km, 588m climb Pen Y Fan race, taking competitors up towards the main Breacons ridge to the summit of the 873m Corn Du. The course then ascended to the north east to the 886m summit of Pen Y Fan, before plummeting into the valley and continuing down across rough terrain towards the finish. Harold established an early lead; overtaken on the approach to the ridge, he initially lost ground before managing to overhaul the leader just before Corn Du. However, while he led at the top of Pen Y Fan, Harold was caught on the steep descent shortly afterwards and, beginning to suffer from blisters he could only watch as the race leader pulled away. Having gained enough time on the climb, Harold managed to hold on to second.

The heat and steep downhill section meant that Harold wasn't the only person to face foot problems. Paul incurred a large blister but despite this produced a very strong run to take 1st V50 and 9th overall. Ed, however, fared less well and was forced to walk much of the descent, seeing him cross the line in 29th. John looked rather shell shocked as he crossed the line, appearing to have felt the effects of the heat (apparently nearing 30C) but nonetheless performed effectively to achieve a 47th place finish.

The team of Harold, Paul and Ed came very close to taking the overall Men's team prize; so close in fact the they were awarded the title after the race, only to be told the following day that Welsh team MDC had had a third runner mistakenly identified as running for another club. Unfortunately the Springfield three weren't able to return three empty wine bottles.

While Sunday's event, the 16.5km, Fan Y Big race, was obviously much longer, it didn't involve much more climb. Ascending through fields and then again up to the Beacons ridge, this race took in the two spurs immediately to the East of those covered in Saturday's race. Hitting the summi of Fan Y Big after a little under 5 miles, the course then involved a long descent down a spur and eventually on to a mile long stretch of road into the village of Llanfrynach.

Harold, having talked of a steady start, following the fresh-legged runners who hasn't raced on Saturday, instead opted for a death or glory approach. This involved running the entire ascent, and generally worked except that one other runner, Saturday's winner Hugh of MDC, kept with him. The two ran neck and neck along the summit ridge but once the descent began Harold's blisters re-emerged, causing him to decelerate while Hugh pulled clear. The gap increased over the final few miles but with no significant challenge Harold managed to hold on to take 2nd.

After a relatively slow start, Paul was able to gain ground in the race's latter stages. Despite his blisters from the previous day, he overtook a number of runners on the long descent. The road section saw him take a wrong turn and be overtaken but a late turn of speed enabled him to regain the place on the line, leaving him 10th overall and again giving him the 1st V50 crown. Ed found the going as if not more tough than on Saturday; starting the descent he experienced the same pains he's experienced in the Pen Y Fan race and was forced to walk much of the following few miles, coming in in 30th place.

John, meanwhile had a relatively steady run, setting a sensible pace on the ascent before setting in to a run on the ridge section. He ultimately managed 80th place, running in much warmer conditions that he or Paul had experienced in previous years on this course. The stunning views and generous post race refreshments - a bottle of local beer for all finishers after the Pen Y Fan race; tea and sandwiches after the Fan Y Big race - made this a hugely enjoyable weekend. We hope to see many more Striders here next year!

 Full results of both races, and pictures of some red faced runners can be found at www.breconfans.org.uk/

Closer to home, Suzanne Kuyser won the short course event at the Essex Stragglers orienteering on Danbury Common last Thursday.

 

 

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