Race report by Dave Phillips
Well as usual the last 2 weeks in August in our Penally Hideway meant that the annual toughies had to be run (albeit in Pembrokeshire Harriers colours).
St. Clears 10k – 18.8.19
TROTS running club organise this event that is anything but easy-especially at the back of the pack. The start is from the Leisure Centre and St. Clears is between Tenby and Carmarthen-not the flattest place in Pembrokeshire. After a short distance the road curls right and all you can see is an uphill drag. Then at the top after 3/4 of a mile it’s all uphill again until the 6k mark so a real plodder-for me anyway.
At least the last 4k are downish so not too bad but not an easy run.
Usual lovely black T shirt and goodie bag for all finishers so well done again TROTS.
Time: Dave Phillips 80 mins 2 secs.
Poppit Sands 3 miler – 20.0.19
This was the last of the annual evening 3 race series along the estuary and beach at St. Dogmaels near Cardigan but again a toughie. The start is on the road but soon you turn off and run up the estuary bank and over the water on large rocks to the beach. Then the hard work starts for the remainder of lap 1 with ¾ of a mile to go on very soft sand and back to the start where lap 2 starts on the same route.
The sand seemed softer this time or was it my tired legs? Anyway a super event and T shirts to all those who did all 3 runs-I only did 2 but a great series and good fun.
Time: Dave Phillips 40 mins 16 secs.
42nd Ras Beca 5 miler XC, mountain and marsh race at Croswell – 24.8.19
Many reckon this is one of the toughest events anywhere but still they keep coming back although only 49 did this year’s event (usually 80+ish). I’ve done it about 20 times but why? Guess it’s because the Preseli Mountains in Cardiganshire where it take place is like “heaven on earth”. Remote, beautiful, natural and with all you could wish for in Wales.
The start is in a field with the usual tent and caravan for registration along with everything for the several short kids’ races that start before the main event.
There is no real set course as you just have to get to the top of the Preselis to the 2 mile mark. Mile 1 is just bogs, peat, streams, gorse, heather, bracken, rocks, no track or paths or trails or sheep (they have more sense). Then comes mile 2 which is almost vertical to the top but at least on dry grass and rocks but no path but a killer. Then along the top at around 1200 ft but still going upwards on grass/black peat/water but at least on trails to mile 3.
Then at the marshal point (a farmer on a mountain quad bike) it’s downhill on grass but very steep so dodgy. A few years ago I went head over heels many times before I stopped, but survived.
At last at the bottom comes the dreaded last mile across a swamp, bog, marsh full of water ,mud, long grass and reeds, no real paths and often we were up to our thighs in water and mud.
Then the final ¼ mile when we got out of that swamp was across streams and gorse to the finish and our medal. “Showers” in the usual stream near the finish!
As the winner crosses the finish line a ladies dress is put on him and he is given a plastic axe and he pretends to smash down a plastic gate between him and the finish. Why? Well Ras Beca comes from the Rebecca Riots in this area between 1839 and 1843 when the local workers/farmers objected to the toll gates put up all over the place by the wealthy landowners so Rebecca got loads of people to disguise themselves and dress as ladies and smash all the gates down in protest to the unfair toll taxes.
So Race Beca is in suitably named and long may it continue.
Go on Google and look at Rebecca Riots for an educational few moments. Then pop along next August.
Time: Dave Phillips. 1 hr 33 mins.