Last weekend three athletes from North Wales Road Runners each took advantage of a selective return of “live” racing by trying their hand at something completely different.
Richard Eccles swapped the relative comfort of his usual 5k and 10k events for a 17-mile trail and fell race, whilst rugby referee Llyr ApGeraint-Roberts took part in a duathlon and Steve Bozier tackled a very steep downhill dash.
Richard competed in the challenging Llangollen Fell and Trail race. He was one of 125 starters and the only NWRRC athlete involved.
Despite his lack of experience over this distance, he finished in a highly respectable 2 hrs 36 mins 45 secs, and even claimed the 1st MV50 prize.
The Llangollen race is known as an “amazing event” and includes 3,000ft of elevation, run over a demanding course that enjoys spectacular views across Trevor Rocks, Eglwyseg Mountain, Rhuabon Mountain, Cyrn Y Brain and Watkins Tower, before dropping down to Offa’s Dyke, and the World’s End Trail, before heading back towards the finish.
Richard, who also had to carry emergency gear with him in case of need, admitted: “I don’t do fell runs and only entered as it was a run that was going ahead. I normally run shorter races, but to be honest I enjoyed it, although my legs might feel it later.”
Rugby referee’s first duathlon
Top rugby union referee and school master Llyr ApGeraint-Roberts, took part in his first-ever duathlon over a rain-soaked course along the leafy country lanes of Cheshire last Sunday.
The Manchester Airport Duathlon included two short runs of about 2.7k, split by an 18k bike ride.
He ran the first race at a very fast pace in 10 mins 8 secs, and then attacked his first cycle race for more than 20 years, finishing well in 33 mins before transition, then running his second repeat road dash in just 10 mins 33 secs. His final overall result included 23.6k in 55.48 mins.
NWRRC athlete Llyr used the event to improve his readiness for match fitness – whenever games re-start – and said he was “chuffed” with his performance and his result, coming 3rd out of 83 competitors, and winning his age category.
He later explained how live races have changed since before lockdown, stating: “It was something different for me. When I signed up, it was to be run in a mass wave of 30 starters, but then the organisers changed their mind to a time trial, with competitors starting at 15-second intervals.
“I gave myself targets for both events but after the bike ride my legs felt as though they didn’t belong to me, so for the last run it hit me, and slowed me down a bit.
“Overall though, I enjoyed it, even in the torrential rain, and I could have gone quicker in the first run but was worried about blowing-up, and the bike too, needs a bit of work.”
All downhill for Steve
Endurance runner Steve Bozier bravely made his debut last week at the tough Tryfan Downhill Dash.
Although run over a relatively short distance of less than a mile (about 1.24kms), the race offered a unique challenge with a very steep descent, and staged over a precarious course littered with huge boulders and narrow pathways.
Steve finished 7th overall in 11 mins 35 secs, and later explained: “It was the shortest, hardest and most decent race ever.
“That was one steep race. I didn’t do the fastest run by far but it was a great experience to compete it, and without injury too – although my legs are in bits now.”