Elan Valley 10 – 22.11.15

Running in Rhayader
Inspired by the Massey league table when I joined earlier this year, I decided to try and complete all the distances in my first year, that meant completing several running firsts . . . I’d done a 5k, 5m and a half before, so that ‘only’ left doing my first Marathon, 10k and a 10 mile. Balsall Common Fun Run provided the 10k and Leicester provided the marathon, just leaving the 10 mile.
Browsing Runners World (always dangerous) looking for events on Saturday as didn’t really want to take another Sunday away from church and family, I came across the Elan Valley 10 mile – http://rhayaderac.org.uk/10mile.php
So a cold Saturday morning found me driving through beautiful snow capped Welsh mountains with my family to Rhayader. Grabbing my number from the visitor centre and making a mental note of the special offer at the cafe of soup, coffe and cake for runners (I am a Massey runner after all, we need our cake) the first exertion was a steep climb to the start and then trying to keep warm at zero temperatures while we waited for the off.
A nice steady canter downhill for the first mile, still feeling the chill but not for long as we got into the second mile we hit our first steep climb that soon got the blood pumping and the body warmed up. That set the tone for the rest of the race, up a climb then a mad canter downhill, great fun.
All the while there was plenty to distract from any pain you may be feeling, mountains alongside, highland cows in one field and beautiful autumn colours all around. It was well marshalled, cheerily shouting support and four drink stations en-route.
Coming into the last couple of miles, I felt good and was able to up my pace and overtake a few of those who’d passed me earlier, I crossed the finish line in 1:29:09. Quite happy with that for my first 10 mile, I think I gave a good showing for the Massey colours  . . . first Massey finisher (oh and the last!) Nice purple tech shirt for all finishers as well.
Then of course, there was a final race to the cafe . . . the soup, cake and coffee were very welcome all for a bargain £4.
If next year you’re looking for a 10 mile race at the close of the season, I can highly recommend it, well organised, great location and an interesting, undulating course. Let’s make it more than one red and white next year on the start line!
Ian O’Donnell
(Thanks to David James for the photo)
Elan Valley