Rhayader Round the Lakes 20. Elan Valley, Powys. 05.03.2016

Well what does one do with a clash of dates? Just sort it as I did. This race starts at 1300 hrs from Rhayader but the same evening we had sponsored a concert in St Mary’s Warwick with the Collegiate Choir and Meridian Sinfonia starting at 1930 hrs. This included Handel’s Coronation Anthems so you should all have been there! Trouble was a 1300 hrs start meant there was zero chance of my getting back on time to Warwick.

So I call my friend the organiser at Rhayader and told him I’d start at 0900 hrs and jog round on my own. Fine he said, you’ve done it 25+ times now so you won’t get lost. So job done there!

So I left home at 0600 1nd got to Rhayader at 0830, changed and ran off. But what a 1st 5 miles. All uphill until you get to the highest point anywhere round there at c1500 ft. Took ages to get there. Then at the top you can see miles for 360 degrees and it’s just fabulous but completely snow covered, not a tree anywhere (they can’t survive), no farms in fact just nothing-except for sheep of course. But the wind on the top was about 50 mph with a chill/freeze factor of probably minus 8 as it swept over the snow head on into you.

Was I glad I had several layers of clothes on!

From the high spot it’s a gentle descent to the reservoirs themselves where you run round the road following them. Down there it was quite peaceful, just as remote, hardly any cars, no marshals or drinks. In fact nothing. My drinks were the snow and water from the gushing mountain streams.

It was a beautiful course following the lakes and not too hilly until 18 just past Elan Village when it’s all uphill to 19, then down to the river Wye at Rhayader then all uphill to the finish-where the finishing area was just being set up. Not too surprising as it was 1314 hours and I saw all the competitors heading off for the start of their race as I dawdled in-completely knackered. Found my organiser friend who took my time and gave me the T-shirt.

Then a quick dash home and got to Weatherspoons in Warwick for 1815 and got to the concert on time. Day well spent.

Possible one of the best events anywhere so note it for next year.

Next week’s marathon on Long Marston airfield (8 laps) looks an absolute bore in comparison but needs must.

Being in Wales of course I had to run in my blue and yellow Pembrokeshire Harriers’ colours.

Massey/Pembs time:

Dave Phillips 4hrs 14 mins.


Race report by Dave Phillips.