Clwydian Hills Report 2019

Sunday 27th October

Race Report – 107 runners, 1 DNF

There were always going to be winners & losers scheduling a welsh race at the same time as Wales were playing a Rugby World Cup semi-final…needless to say the winners had a lovely day on the fells. Cool and sunny with a little cloud later on – we keep getting blessed by the weather gods.

Alistair Thornton – First Gent

As quite a few locals had opted to stay-in-bed, get drunk, watch rugger – it was down to those from slightly further afield to stand (run?) up to the mark. They did not disappoint. Five sleepy headed students from Loughborough University Orienteering Club (LUOC) crammed in a car, drove up, men’s overall, course record & M23 for Alistair Thornton, female F23 for Jenna Williams, Petzl Team Trophy, drove back & I expect got drunk – bossed it – nuff said.

Old course record holder, Lloyd Taggart (Manx) was back at the race for the first time in 7 years and went over the top of Moel Dwywll with Alistair Thorton & Adam Fieldhouse of LUOC, Lawrence Eccles (Penny Lane) & Peter Bray (Chorlton). Alistair Thornton stalked Lloyd up stony gully and over the final summit before out sprinting him on the run-in to set a new course record of 1:16:26 beating the previous by 9 seconds. Lloyd was only 14 seconds behind. Peter Bray came in a few minutes behind.

Lawrence Eccles came in 4th on the day but was enough to get his hands on the prized Ian Brown Memorial Trophy and takes the honour of being Series Champion into February’s Sheeptracks race.

Sophie Horrocks (Rossendale) – First Lady.

Sophie Horrocks (Rossendale Harriers) took the female overall by a good margin from second placed Alice Swift (Chorlton Runners) with Helen “I don’t feel well so I’ll run with the dog oh I’ve come third” Brown (Mynydd Ddu) came in third – so I suppose Dennis gets first dog award as well.

Tom Smith (Bowland), Jeremy Randell (Meirionnydd RC) & Daniel Jones (Denbigh) on Moel Dwywll

LUOC took home the Petzl Team Trophy 458 points from only 5 runners. Tattenhall finished 2nd with 394 points and Pensby with 349 points. Was a great show from the three Chorlton Runners who although only finished 5th averaged 97 points each and were all placed in their categories.

Will Garton (CRR) & Nigel Crompton (Pensby) having too much fun for a hard fell race.

In the junior races Josh Peevor (Eryri Harriers) and Matthew Anthony (Deeside AAC) took the M16 & M18 trophies respectively.

Matthew Anthony (Deeside) – M18 Winner

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.

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.