Race Reports from Wales

Race Reports by Dave Phillips

Colby Gardens 5k 09:00 hrs – 25.8.18

Well the usual large amount of holiday runners made this a very packed affair with several running with 1 or 2 dogs on long leads. Crazy as the trails in here are very narrow with runners on both sides in both directions for much of the way and of course it was impossible to overtake anyone with a dog. So I deliberately jogged along at the back as I had more important things to do later on in the day. See below.

Massey/Pembrokeshire Harriers time:

Dave Phillips 39.30 (2nd in age category).

Ras Beca 5 mile Fell Race, Crosswell in the Preseli Mountains on the Pembs/Cardigan/Carmarthenshire boarders. 14:30 hrs start. – 25.8.18

Ras Beca is short for Rebecca’s Race and is named after the Rebecca Riots here in 1839. The locals objected to all the land owners putting up Toll Gates everywhere that they ran around smashing them down-including one Toll House. This was during the agricultural depression and all the rioters dressed as women, an allusion to Isaac’s bride (Genesis 24:60), and the riot leader and his followers were known as “Rebecca and his daughters”.

Without doubt this is one of the hardest events anywhere.  It starts in a field in the middle of nowhere where a few tents have been assembled for the HQ. There are also children’s races around the swamps so a super  gathering of nutters.

The 1st 2 miles are on swamps, marshes, streams, gorse, rocks, tree stumps, long grass, heather and no paths whatsoever and most is uphill to top of the ridge at about 1000 ft.- much of it almost vertical.  Trouble was after 1/2 mile my shoe caught a root stump and tore the sole off from the toe to half way down the foot. So it was just flapping around catching everything out there.

So not only was it very dangerous to try to run but almost impossible.Running bare footed would have been better but the non-stop stones and gorse made me decide to keep it on.  Eventually we reached the top at 2 miles then slowly along the ridge for ever upwards to 1200 feet to the 1st marshal (a farmer on his 4 by 4 tractor bike). He had some binder twine that we cut on a rock and I used this to tie my sole on. Trouble was this came of about 10 times between here and the finish so I lost about 10 minutes I reckon!

Eventually the descent started down beautiful grassy slopes then into the infamous last 3/4 mile of just swamp/bog/marsh where you just made it as best you could to the far side. In many cases it was one leg in water and slime up to your waste and the other on firmer ground.  Eventually we got to the far side and a final thrust through streams, rocks and more gorse and there was the finish line.

The winner always has a dress put on him and is given a plastic axe to break down the gate he has to get through to the finish.


67 finishers. Dave Phillips 1hr 32 mins.

Not a bad day out then!