A Final August Flurry – Race reports by David Phillips.
Now that’s what I call a proper August with 8 races-7 in Wales and the Corporate 5.
16.8.17 – Massey’s Corporate 5k Coventry.
Once again we were very happy to have sponsored this so huge thanks from us all at P&B to those who put on such a superb event especially Dave Goodwin and Anne-Marie. It was a pleasure to be the Official Sweeper so roll on 2018 where I can assume the same role and you can count on us to sponsor the event.
20.8.17 – St. Clears 10k, near Carmarthen.
This was identical to last week’s Cardigan 10k with the 1st 5 very steeply uphill then gradually down to the finish. 85 did it and this time I was not last as 2 in fancy dress kept their distance behind me.
Again breathing (or lack of it) made it a fast race walk event for me but an identical time to Cardigan.
Massey time: Dave Phillips 1 hr 24 mins.
26.8.17 – Ras Becca (Rebecca’s Race), Croswell in the Mynydd Preseli (Preseli Mountains) on the boarders of Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Cardiganshire.
Wow what a double whammy as this was Ras Beca’s 40th anniversary in the same year as Massey’s 40th year and there I am in both camps. However this is thought by many as the hardest event anywhere and only a few come back year after year to do it-this was my 15th year and early on before I joined Pembroke Harriers I ran it in the red and white!
It’s so called because in 1839 the area was so impoverished that farmers, peasants and all workers struggled to make a living and get their goods to markets and ports. Then the landowners put up toll gates on all the roads, so the local revolted and rioted, dressed as women and smashed all the gates down over a 4 year period as no one could afford the tolls. This was an allusion to Isaac’s bride-see the bible Genesis ch 24 v 60 where it refers to Rebecca and her many daughters, thus the name-plus they could not be recognised of course.
The course starts in a field and the 1st mile is through pure hell just swamps, mud, rocks, streams, heather, gorse, bracken, black peat and no paths or trails at all. I was often knee deep in all this stuff. Then you start to climb up the Preselis (on all 4s in many parts in my case as I could not breath) for a mile to the top at 1250 feet. I had a long rest up there breathless again. At least on the top ridge it was not neo vertical but still just ever upwards to the summit at mile 3 but again many black peat bogs and in one of them the farmer marshal’s 4*4 mountain motor cycle had sunk above its wheels and we also had to run through this.
Eventually the descent started and at least this was dry but then at mile 4 came the final bash. It was just a swamp/marsh with water, mud, reeds, long grass and no paths whatsoever so it was hit and miss all the way (more miss than hit) as we were often knee deep in mud and water trying to reach the far side. Eventually the swamp was over and it was rocks, streams, gorse, mud again to the finish.
Around 70 nutters did the main run and there were also several kids races in the lower regions of the course so a day well spent? Probably not but guess I’ll be back for the 41st.
As the winner reaches the finish he is given a dress to put on and handed a plastic axe which he uses to smash down the gate in front of the finish line thus re-living the past. As you can imagine I’ve never seen this happen!
Massey time: Dave Phillips 1hr 31 mins.