Report by Don Hale. Photographs by Steve Jeffery and Jonathan Kettle
Three NWRRC members took part in the gruelling Ras Tal y Fan fell race at Rowen last Saturday in very hot and humid conditions, with plucky local nurse Vicky Taylor snatching 2nd place in her respective age category.
Said to be one of the toughest runs on the local North Wales fell racing circuit, the race is staged over varied terrain with nearly 800 m of ascent and offered a stern challenge to all competitors over an 8-mile plus course.
The first two miles are claimed to be the most difficult, and host organisers, Club Rhedwyr Eryri Harriers, stated that entrants needed be able to navigate their way around the course, as although marshalls are at the checkpoints, and at the various gates and stiles around the course, the route is unmarked, and prior fell running experience is recommended.
This year, with current Covid-19 restrictions still in place throughout Wales, the event included staggered starts and social distancing with a 100-runner limit.
The first NWRRC club runner home was Josh Keogh in 7th place in 1 hour 20 minutes 18 seconds, with teenager Troy Kettle next in 24th place in 1.39.05, and Vicky Taylor 46th in 2.23.01.
Vicky persevered on this extremely challenging course, and was the 11th female finisher and 2nd in her FV40 age cat.
Vicky later confirmed: “It’s the hardest race I have ever run, but I loved it, and will definitely run it again. So proud just to finish.”
*GOG triathlon athlete Craig Rutter, an NHS radiographer, also admitted it was a hard but enjoyable run, and afterwards said: “Tal y Fan fell race today. Cardiac Hill just to get to the mountain was hard. The car would struggle to get up that! Yeah, it was very warm but luckily it was overcast for the climb up, then the sun came out when heading back to Rowen.”
He was one of two GOG club members running and finished 29th overall in 1.42.07. His colleague Neil Harris was 21st in 1.35.23. The first six runners all finished under 1 hour 20 minutes.
The Ras Tal y Fan fell race welcomed experienced fell runners from Liverpool, Derbyshire, London, and Yorkshire, together with a generous sprinkling of local athletes.
The race was won by Gavin Roberts (Eryri Harriers) in 1.07.20, with 2nd teenager Bryn Woodall (Colwyn Bay AC) 1.09.48, and 3rd was Lawrence Eccles (Penny Lane Striders) in 1.12.12.