Sheeptracks Report

Clwydian Sheeptracks 2019 Race Report

A beautiful spring day greeted the opener in this year’s WFRA Championship Series race. 121 started with 109 finishing the course. A dry spell over the last few weeks had left the hills firm and fast underfoot. After last year’s tent parachuting episode we based the race from the Village Hall which proved far more resilient and welcoming.

Champion Ram – Michael Corrales (Dark Peak) give the thumbs up whilst laughing along with 3rd placed Stephen Skates (Prestatyn). Photo: Colin Martin (NEWSAR)

The Ram’s race was well contested. After the northern loop section into CP8 the top ten were separated by less than 4 minutes but from this point Michael Corrales (Dark Peak) ran away from the field gaining 6 minutes over them on the hardest section through to CP15. Gavin Roberts came through CP15 in 4th place 11 minutes down on Michael but clawed back 4 minutes on the run-in section through CP16 & 17 to finish 2nd overtaking both Stephen Skates (Prestatyn) [3rd overall, 1st M40] and Matthew Fortes (Eryri) [4th overall, 2nd M40]. Also having a great last section and rounding out the top five was Rob Grantham (Pensby) [5th overall, 3rd M40].

”Purple Drain” trod, below Moel Dywyll, leading up to CP10 ‘boulder-on-the-shoulder’. Photo: Richard Anthony (Aberyswyth)

The Ewe’s race was a two way scrap between, reigning Champion Ewe, Hayley Evans (Buckley) and Sarah Ridgway (Mercia) [1st W40]. Neck and neck until CP8, Hayley eked out a couple of minutes by CP15 and then pulled away on the run-in section to retain the title. Sian Williams [2nd W40] came in third.

Hard going at the back of the field. Photo: Richard Anthony (Aberyswyth)

M50 winner was Ed Gamble (Cheshire Hill Racers) [10th overall] with Paul Jeggo (Springfield) [21st] in second with Simon Ellis (Chester Tri) [25th] in third. W50 winner Sue Howarth (Mercia) arrived covered in mud & blood after finding (and falling into) the only stream for miles.

Simon Edwards (Buckley) climbs away from CP8. Photo: Colin Martin (NEWSAR)

The O60 race was run over a shorter 20km course (missing the northern loop) but retaining the harder sections to provide a challenge. A great run from Steve Jones (Eryri) took the win in the M60 category followed home by Nicholas Holmes (Tattenhall) & then a photo finish for joint-third between Huw Lewis (Buckley) & Glen Davies (Mercia) – well it doesn’t help when runners arrive from 2 different directions with no real finish line! W60 winner was Menai Baugh (Denbigh).

A strapping young lad called John Morris took home the O70 crown and a few tins of mushy peas for his efforts.

“You looking at me?” Ellie Salisbury’s, Elsi managed to get all the Rams & Ewes back into the pen for tea & cakes. Photo: Colin Martin (NEWSAR)

This year’s course had been well recced by the majority of the runners but route choice still played a key role in the final standings. The section between CP10-CP15 gave numerous lines to follow but surprisingly it was CP16-17 that was the biggest winner for some. Those taking the west side sheeptrack (Traverse of the Gods) gained 3-5 minutes on those that chose to stay on the Scouse Road and go over the summit.

The Scouse Road maybe not the quickest way to the finish line, but it’s a great view. Photo: Richard Anthony (Aberystwyth)

The new Ian Brown Memorial Trophy (Clwydian mini-series) was deservedly won by Jez Brown (Buckley) with Hayley Evans (Buckley) in second and Iain Wood third. Rob Grantham’s 5th placed finish along with his Clwydian Hills win in October puts him in the bog-seat for the trophy at the Mountain Race in August – but you have to be in-it to win-it.

Just a caution note to all runners – It was a warm day. Far too many of you set off with insufficient water for the race. I positioned a small quantity of water at the manned checkpoints for first aid/safety purposes. It is embarrassing to see lead runners taking this (especially as early as CP8)! This race runs under WFRA safety guidelines – read them. You are meant to carry SUFFICIENT WATER FOR YOUR NEEDS. I will not wipe your backsides in future. Anyone running the race in future who takes ‘safety’ water will be time penalised if I am in a happy mood or DSQ if I am grumpy. Nuff said.

Thanks as always to all the helpers, cake bakers, marshals & of course safety cover from the fantastic NEWSAR. One thousand apologies to Tim Hargreaves by forcing him to marshal in the Buckley/Bohemian Rhapsody Fanzone – I hope your tinnitus has cleared.

Next year: more of the same – hopefully a little chillier


Clwydian Hills Report 2018

Clwydian Hills Fell Race 2018

21st October 2018

Race Report – 103 runners, 1 DNF

“I’m sure he’s already passed me twice…”

A little bit of rain a few days before helped soften up the hills a little but yet again the weather gods smiled on the race with the rain holding off until I got to the pub after cleaning up.

Slog up from CP4

My pre-race advice of “Remember the person in front may not be going the correct way” was ignored by the front runners and hence the race lead was dominated by navigation errors (even from the locals who should know better…) This led to some interesting chatter amongst the trailing bunch who kept seeing the leaders pass them….several times. These early errors did mean a great finish though as we had 6 runners come over the 2nd last summit of Moel Dwywll together. Rob Grantham’s (1st, 1st M40, Pensby) fearless descending earned him a small lead which he kept until the finish just holding off Jez Brown (2nd, Buckley) and Gavin Roberts (3rd, 1st M23-40, Eryri). The top 3 finished within 30 seconds and the top 6 finished well within 2 minutes of each other making this one of the closest finishes ever for the race.

A delighted Simon “I never win anything” Ellis of Chester Tri took the M50 honours, Leigh Warburton (Bowland) won the M60 category and our race’s creator John “Elbows” Morris (Buckley) took the M70 class. U23 winner was David Appleton (9th).

John ‘elbows’ Morris

The ladies race was a good battle by local Hayley Evans (18th, 1st F23-40, Buckley) and Helen Brown (19th, 1st F40) finishing 20 seconds back with Alice Swift (Chorlton) finishing a couple of minutes behind them. Sally Gilliver took the W50 category.

Loving your robot moves

Buckley Runners took home the Petzl Team Trophy for the first time with 636 points. Pensby finished closely with 595 points and Bowland with a brilliant 544 points. It was really great to see folks coming from further afield and in good numbers.

We few, we happy few…. Lois Lee & Kai Walsh

The junior races offered a great run out for Lois Lee (1st F18, Prestatyn RC) & Kai Walsh (1st M16, Wrexham AC) and meant they got all the great prizes, shiny trophies & cake for themselves. XC races in the local area the day before maybe did not help numbers but it is a shame as the courses offer a great challenge and running freedom for the youngsters who you would think would prefer it to running round a school field…? I will keep offering them… well until no one shows up maybe.

Richard Borne – Abergele Mysteruns (3rd Place – Clwydian Series)

Refreshments, presentations and the obligatory post-race debrief chats were held in village hall. Special thanks to NEWSAR members and the supporters group for marshalling the race & looking after the runners with homemade soup & cakes.

Apologies for lack of photos this year. 2 camera people were unavailable and I had to stick my other one in an un-photogenic location.

CMR Race Report 27th Aug 2018

46th Cilcain Mountain Race
27th August 2018

The unusually dry summer led to a browner than normal mountain for the 46th running of the CMR but as ever it gave good sport to the Bank Holiday Monday crowd. Leaden skies and a cool breeze made for good running conditions, though the ground was still a little firm even after the 12 hour downpour on the Sunday (my setup day….)

The runners gave a great reception to the 4 time champion & original course record holder, John Messum who took charge of the starter horn for this year’s race and was also on hand to award the trophies on the showground afterwards. Many thanks to John for giving his time up for the day.

First up and down the mountain was Gareth Wyn Hughes who had a great tussle with and just held off last year’s winner Phillip Robertson. Jez Brown finished forth on the line to win the Vet class and subsequently was promoted to 3rd place after time penalties were added for the first 3 runners who descended early off the north spur. They followed the U16 ascent markers off the mini-col on the ridge (my fault for using same colour markers…). I decided a time penalty was deemed a fair solution as any time gain was small due to the rougher ground lower down and it being partially a marking error on my part. Thankfully once the hoard arrived with a few regulars no one else took this alternate route.

Gareth Wyn Hughes, Liam Burthem & Phillip Robertson approach the top

The Browner (local gent) and Dennis Kemp (local vet) Trophies were retained by Steve Brady. Gareth Williams took home the Llys Fynydd Shield (supervet) for the first and I am sure not the last time. A delighted Iain Wood, Chester Tri (43:00) took home the O60 class and Buckley stalwart John (Running Machine) Morris won the O70 category (They say form is temporary, class is permanent but in John’s case they seem both permanent!).

David Lyth (Buckley) won best gents fancy dress – how do you run in that….?

The ladies race was won by Sarah Ridgeway (Anderson Trophy). 2nd place went to Ursula Moore and 3rd place was “Spidergirl” Hayley Evans (WI Trophy for first local lady & best ladies fancy dress prize). Susan Fourie won the vet class (Deeside College Trophy – which is still missing….If anyone fancies sponsoring a trophy or remaking one??). Karon Forster, Spectrum Striders, won the O50 class.

Bo Hughes M18 took home the restyled Julie Tullis Trophy and Lois Lee W18 retained the Hawitt Cup.

Sarah Ridgeway being presented the Anderson Trophy (first lady) by 4 time winner & record holder John Messum

The junior races had a decent turnout of 60 runners across all categories – but we still need more U16 runners folks – the trophies on offer have a good history behind them – back to 1988 for the Crittal Cup. This year’s winner of the cup was Luke Hampshire (Wallasey) (27.57) even after a detour (caused by a half asleep marshal….). Luke shared the extra distance with the winner of the W16 Snodgrass Cup Sioned Cordiner (Wrexham AC) (27.54). It was good to see a sizeable gaggle come up from the clubs such as Deeside, WESPA, Halton & Frodsham, Wirral AC. Apologies to the few who found themselves running further than they needed – learning points for marshals and signage for myself.

Winners of the other junior categories (and main race) can be found on the website

Runners descend through sun scorched heather (usually a sea of pink & purple)

The over-riding memory of the day for me will be the loving family bonds shown across all the races. The London Hughes’ now annual pilgrimage north to run the event (I think Dad needs to run next year!). The affection between granddaughter and grandmother (or nain as they call them round these parts) Nora Yvonne Jones. After winning the W16 class Sioned then ran alongside Nora who that the ripe old age of (shhhh over) 70 became the first O70 female to complete the main race (ever), winning not only the O70 but also O60 class in the process. More than winning.

The usual (and very gracious) thanks to marshals, time keepers, hangers-on helpers. It isn’t possible without you.

159 runners. I counted them all out and I counted them all back.

This is Radio Cilcain signing off (well until October and the soup run!)


Gents Overall

1 Gareth Wyn Hughes 00:32:42 U40 Mercia FR
2 Philip Robertson 00:32:48 U40 Sale Harriers
3 Jez Brown 00:33:41 O40 Buckley Runners
4 Liam Burthem 00:34:05 U40 Liverpool Harriers AC
5 Nathan Williams 00:35:22 U40 Vale Royal AC
6 Scott Nixon 00:35:39 U40 Dee Striders
7 Stuart Fludger 00:35:47 O40 N
8 John Heap 00:36:43 O40 Wirral AC
9 David Appleton 00:36:57 U40 N
10 Gareth Williams 00:37:02 O50 Vale Royal AC


Ladies Overall

22 Sarah Ridgeway 00:39:00 U40 Run Snowdon
33 Ursula Moore 00:40:37 U40 Pensby Runners
40 Hayley Evans (FD) 00:41:35 U40 Buckley Runners
51 Susan Fourie 00:43:00 O40 Chester Tri
51 Carolyn Stamper-Clark 00:43:00 O40 N
51 Bailey Ewel 00:43:00 U40 Penny Lane Striders
61 Tammy Lewis-Jones 00:43:54 O40 Eryri
72 Rebecca Massey 00:44:54 O40 Dee Striders
73 Lois Lee 00:45:12 U18 Prestatyn
75 Jane Ashbrook 00:45:21 O40 Helsby


U40/MSEN          Gareth Wyn Hughes  Mercia                  32.42

M18                       Bo Hughes                          n/a                           45.23

O40/M40             Jez Brown                         Buckley                33.41

O50/M50             Gareth Williams           Vale Royal AC    37.02

O60/M60             Iain Wood                         Chester Tri          43.00

O70/M70             John Morris                     Buckley                49.23


U40/WSEN          Sarah Ridgeway              Run Snowdon    39.00

W18                       Lois Lee                                  Prestatyn             45.12

O40/W40             Susan Fourie                     Chester Tri          43.00

O50/W50             Karon Forster                  Spectrum             45.24

O60&O70             Nora Yvonne Jones      n/a                          1:41.15