Man v Horse, 22 miles in the Cambrian Mountains, Llanwrtyd Wells, Powys – Sat 11.6.16.
Race report by Dave Phillips.
This is the hardest event I’ve ever done I reckon. Right now on Sunday morning I feel absolutely shattered. Could also be something to do with the 3 marathons in the last 3 weeks maybe?? There was just something about yesterday’s changed course that added a killer dimension to it. This was its 37th time of running and I reckon my 25th but yesterday’s was brutal. Most of the competitors also thought so apparently.
So 600 solo runners and 170 stage 1 runners from the relay teams of 3 runners lined up outside the Neuadd Arms in the Square for the “off” at 1100 hrs on a bright and warm morning. By 2 miles most were walking as the hills had started and at 3 the first of 60 horses started to pass us on a very narrow track bumping into us as they struggled past.
This 1 st leg of about 7 miles was mainly in forests and on rough tracks and very muddy trails with huge ascents making forward progress almost impossible and the gorse and midges were a nightmare. Eventually the changeover station (with 3 coaches to transport the runners) came into view and there was Steve Damms cheering me on as he had already passed over to Darren Chambers. As a solo runner I passed the baton to myself of course and plodded on.
Leg 2 was just as crazy but more in the open on the high points of the mountains for a while with stunning views of God’s own country. Then the inevitable descent down the valley only to go back up again on ground so muddy and wet that progress was non-existent.
By the leg 3 changeover there was only 1 lady waiting for her co-runner and only a mere handful running with me so loneliness was the name of the game. Nicky Ellis had taken over from Darren ages before I reckoned. So the final leg of about 7 miles started and this was as hard as anything going up and down valleys, through horrendous mud, streams and swamps until I did at last overtake some people who were so shattered that they were lying down flat out and receiving help from 2 marshals.
Finally the end was in sight with just river Irfon to wade across waist deep so no problems there. Then the final few hundred yards to the finish where The Massey mob were waiting to cheer me in. Thanks a lot all-really needed all the help I could get.
The organisers describe the event as “challenging”. With its 3000 ft. of ascents and descents you can say challenging is a complete understatement.
Just checked back in some earlier records and in 1996 some 20 years ago I did this in 3hrs 39 mins.
Dave Phillips 6 hrs 7 mins.
Nicky from The Relay Team will send in their report and times soon.