Race report by Dave Phillips.
As always for the last week of August we go back to Penally in Pembs. Not just to do the lawns but there are 3 races in 2 days so it’s a “must have”. Mind you my knee is so bad that it was heavily strapped and I started ½ hour early in 2 of the races. Should I have run? Well it means that I’ve done 50 races this year by 31/8 so I guess it was a resounding “yes” even if I did race walk/hobble them.
27.8.16 – National Trust Woodland Gardens 5k, 09:00 hrs.
Just had to do this Park Run as the local papers were full of stuff about Ben Smith who is doing 401 marathons in 401 days and Saturday’s started with the Colby 5k then onto Haverfordwest. Would have joined him for the full had my knee not been so bad. Ben and I got on great as between us we had done over 800 marathons so all the press insisted that all photos were of Ben and me. Nice one to start with I thought. Then at the end of the run there was a raffle and my 5 tickets for £5 won me 2 bottles of wine and a box of chocolates so I was in great favour when I got back and gave then to Robina. Also a record for Colby with > 200 there.
Dave Phillips 37.11
27.8.16 – 35th 5 mile Ras Beca Fell Race, Preseli Mountains, Cardigan/Pembs Borders, 14:30 hrs.
This race is near Croswell, miles from anywhere, in a field with a couple of tents and officials but superbly organised.
Generally reckoned to be one of the toughest events around and I agree having done it 18 times now. Why? The views at the top I guess. The 1st mile is on swamps, streams, gorse, heather, boulders, no paths or trails at all in fact you just head off for the bottom of the 1st ascent. Then it’s neo vertical to the ridge again on grass, boulders but a bit drier. At the top the marshal (a farmer on a quad bike) points you to the next peak about a mile away and all uphill and on black peat bog land and a sort of rock path to the next farmer. But what 360 degree views-just like heaven I guess. He sends you up and down to the next ridge before the real descent that I found almost impossible on one leg. It was so steep that bum sliding would have been better.
Then at the bottom the real crippler of a mile over, through, under, in a marsh bog with no path at all. There are no paths so you just head anywhere towards the finish field often waist deep in sludge and muck but never on terra firma. A final assault course of streams and rocks and the finish line came into view and a great medal awaited us.
Prior to the main event there had been kids races over short distances so there were plenty of people despite only being 65 in the main 5 mile event. Wonder why? Most do it once and never again.
At the finish line the winner is given a lady’s dress and an axe and knocks down the plastic fence in his way. Why? Google the Rebecca Riots of 1839 where the farmers dressed as ladies and smashed down the toll gates that had been put up all over this area and Rebecca led the riots. Ras of course as you know is Welsh for race.
Dave Phillips 1.31.34.
28.8.16 – St, Clears 10k, Carmarthenshire, 11:00 hrs.
65 runners entered this very hilly annual event and by 5k I was all in as, like Saturday, it was all uphill and very steep but at least on road. Again I started early and by 6k the leaders were speeding past me but I race walked in for my T shirt and goodie bag. Plus at the prize giving I won another box of chocolates for “the most senior person in the race”. Think they meant “old fart” but they are too polite in Wales.
Dave Phillips 1.20.41.
Back now and I’ve just seen the surgery at Claverdon and my knee X-ray shows no damage so it must be torn cartilage. So an MRI scan and knee surgery is on the cards maybe when I make my next appointment. But that will be next week as I have to do the Wolverhampton marathon this Sunday 4th Sept don’t I?
See you at the handicap on Wed – another early start!