We are again organising a series of evening sessions for beginners, or those already running a little but in need of more confidence. These will begin on Tues April 24th at Tattenhall Recreation Club at 7.00pm for a 7.15pm start. We will start off on the roads and paths around Tattenhall and, when ready, head off-road for a bit of (muddy) fun. The cost is just £20 for the 10 week course which we will deduct from the annual membership fee at the end of the course should you wish to join the running club.
It is the first day of Spring and so, with the prospect of light evenings not far off, we are preparing for summer training on the trails and footpaths around Tattenhall. Following the pattern of recent years Grace has put together a framework for training sessions and a leader rota, which can both be accessed on the Training Nights page.
The Paddy Buckley Round is a long distance fell running challenge in Snowdonia. The route is a circuit of just over 100 km long taking in some 47 summits. On Saturday June 10th Peter Taylor made an attempt to complete the round with friend Jim O’Hara. Here is his account of the experience.
One Windy Day
While still fresh, I thought I’d breeze through my recollections of this weekend’s experience.
‘Masochistic’ and ‘perverse joy’ are social media phrases used following my Paddy Buckley Round attempt. It seems that my friends, like me, took pleasure from battling the storm. Several people have suggested that we should have delayed the start, but the wind was unrelenting at the end as it had been at the start, and the rain wasn’t such an issue. Should we have started at all? Probably not, but we had the support of our friends that weekend and no backup plan.
For me, the adventure ended in Llamberis after 17 hours. How Jim O’Hara continued for another 12 hours 40 minutes is beyond belief. Hats off to you mate. Calling it a day was the right decision for me. I was slowing and becoming a liability, potentially putting myself and others at risk.
Interestingly, my legs are not trashed today, one full day later. At least, my quads are not as sore as after my Bob Graham Round, suggesting that I had the remaining 3,000m climbing in me. But my knees, ankles and wrists are sore, and I was drained. This is unsurprising given the unrelenting gale.
Jim, four loyal supporters and I ran off Moel Siabod leaning heavily into the wind to remain upright. I opted for poles and my winter waterproof, which was fully zipped and the hood tightened to snorkel mode. The rain belted off our jackets for the first six hours. With everyone working hard to keep themselves functioning and communications tricky, I took on navigation duties. Apart from having to nip back 100 m to nab a missed summit, we were doing OK. After missing the summit, I gave my waterproof map to Max Wainwright and asked him to take a lead.
Nick Holmes battled through waist-deep bog traps and high winds to Moel Druman, about 20 km in, where he had intended to meet, and depart with, Steve and Sarah Hammond. Steve and Sarah found the featureless summit. Not being a day for waiting about and with virtually no chance of finding us in the clag, they leant the other way into the wind and retreated to Croesor. Meanwhile, Nick and Chris Jackson descended to Blaenau Ffestiniog where they shivered and looked sorry enough for themselves to blag a lift. Mark Smith and Dave Sykes came up from Blaenau Ffestiniog to the quarries to cheer and as a warm up for later supporting duties, but didn’t see us or the others.
Simon Ellis was now overloaded with kit. He and Max continued, but Jim and I dropped them climbing Moel Ddu. With hindsight, we should have waited and made a plan, but we didn’t. The next section is a loop and has corners to cut and I thought we’d meet again at the quarries. The Moelwyns part went well with one hairy moment for me when a slip didn’t stop. I seemed no worse for my 10m mud slide, although I now see that a rock had its say and I have a striking tramline on one bum cheek.
Without a map or compass, we came off Moelwyn Mawr a few degrees off line and ended up returning to the quarries from an unorthodox direction. We hoped to find Simon and Max sheltering in the ruins, but all we could see was mist and all we could hear was the wind.
So, no map, no compass, no visibility and no path, and the most difficult part to navigate. No food too, but water, water everywhere! (Had we been in possession of a board, it’d have shrunk.) Jim hadn’t reccied this part, but I knew it well, so we didn’t panic. We bobbed about in the mist and gale, over and round heathery hummocks. “Find a small lake then another with a dam, and then steeply up to Cnicht,” I said. “Does this look right,” repeated Jim. It all looked the same. Fortunately, we found a path. From its gradient and the general absence of paths, I knew it was the northeast ridge of Cnicht. Simon later told me that the reservoir was cascading over the dam, rendering it and the outflow un-crossable. When Simon and Max found the dam, they were forced to retreat down valley to Croesor, so not finding it may have been lucky.
The run to Nantmor was uneventful. Despite only having the food in our pockets to chew on in three hours, we were happily trading song lyrics with each other and the gale.
There were lots of folk at Nantmor, including Rudy Miller, a founder member of Tattenhall Runners who now lives locally. Sharon Basford and Sue Ellis were brilliant at the changeover. I stripped off my wet clothes behind the camper van, naked except for my socks and shoes. It felt great to pull on a dry merino wool thermal.
Off we went. Jim, Rob Chambers, Simon Duckett, Chris Collins and I. Off up Bryn Banog, Moel Hebog and their comrades. The rain stopped but the wind was unrelenting. At least now we were not battling into it.
I was feeling a little sick. In the confusion of the gales, I’d drunk more electrolytes, rather than straight water, than I wanted to. Whatever the reason, I was finding eating difficult, but munched slowly onward.
This is the leg I’d reccied the most, and Simon and Rob had both been over it, in a heat wave, a few weeks before. We had one navigational blip, but were otherwise good.
Again Sharon and Sue were set up to receive us. There were others too – apologies for not mentioning everyone by name. Warm food and off again, this time into gathering gloom. The only full moon anyone saw was my arse at the first changeover.
I told Mark I wasn’t feeling good. I didn’t need to say anything more. He paced me up Craig Wen, Yr Aran and beyond, constantly attending to my needs. Rob and Simon continued. Supporting two legs is no mean feat and a testament to their strength.
The wind on Yr Aran was as ferocious as it had been on the first leg. Only I know the route off Yr Aran and up Snowdon. It was meant to be on good, moonlit paths, but losing the path was as easy as slipping on wet slate. We each had a halo of mist reflected back at us and could see little else.
Rain started again on Garnedd Ugain. I adjusted my hood and pulled the jack-plug out of my head torch. Normally, this would not be a problem, but I was cold, tired and plunged into blackness and didn’t know why the light had suddenly failed. I watched four halos fading fast. I yelled into the wind until they came back. We continued with a spare torch in service. Careful navigation from Mark got us onto the path. The GPS trace says it all!
By this point I was slowing. 75 kms of wind was taking its toll. Jim was faring better. He wouldn’t leave me. Mark told me not to make any decisions until we reached Llanberis, but I had decided. We had two supporters between us for the next leg, but I wouldn’t have gone on even if we had enough support to split. At this point, sub-24-hours still looked possible for Jim and I didn’t want me slowing him into Llanberis. Jim knew the route off Moel Elio, which is the same as the race he’d run a month before, so I insisted that he go on. But racing isn’t reccying! After faffing about at the summit and following the wrong fence down, Jim, Rob and Simon made it into Llanberis and were off just before Mark and I arrived.
Sharon and the ever-present and ever-cheerful Charlie Eldred greeted us. It was over for me. 80 km with 5,300 m climbing, and no lull in the storm. I didn’t feel disappointed, but tired, happy and relieved. It had been a great experience, an adventure, a discovery.
Jim was now right on the 24-hour schedule, with no slack, but the wind caught up with him too. His wind-battered body slowed. Remarkably, he had the willpower to drag himself over another 35 km with 3,000 m climbing. He was out for nearly 30 hours!
We’ve learned a lot for Simon Duckett’s 2018 round.
Yesterday saw the running of the 36th London Marathon and 7 Tattenhall Runners were amongst the almost 38,000 who took to the streets.
Iain Wedge crossed the finishing line in a sub-3 hour 02:56:08, an excellent time and some 2 minutes faster than your correspondent did in 2001! The next 5 Tattenhallers all succeeded in completing sub 4-hour marathons with Phil Abram in 03:38:36; Neil Matthews in 03:41:00; Sharon Eaton in 03:53:00; Angela Lipson in 03:56:32 and Debs Stanaway in 03:57:25. Gerry Cummins, a recent and highly enthusiastic member of the club achieved a very creditable 05:34:01. Oh and Tim Peake did it in 03:35:21, but he isn’t a member of the club, yet! Everyone will have personal stories to tell and we look forward to hearing of the pain and the triumphs in coming posts.
Very well done to all runners and take a well deserved break – at least ’till Club training on Tuesday!
Tattenhall Runners hosted the Llantysilo Mountain Fell Race on Saturday 26 Mar. The race, just outside Llangollen, formed one of the North Wales Fell Championships races this year.
At 10k in length and with over 2100 feet of ascent it is a challenging event irrespective of the weather! However, it is not as though we were lulled into a false sense of security after a gloriously sunny Good Friday. Oh no, the forecast was not the best, in fact with heavy rain and gales across the north of Wales, the omens were not looking favourable for a dry day. And so it proved. 97 runners signed up and the weather stayed largely dry for the registration but it wasn’t long before gale force winds and horizontal driving rain were lashing at bare legs and faces, threatening to blow runners off the exposed Llantysilio ridge. A few chose to take the opportunity to add waterproof layers but for the majority ‘no stopping’ was the order of the day and these hardy souls braved the elements clad in fair weather running attire only!
Unfortunately, with the large number of people needed to support and marshall the race, no Tattenhaller took part. Notwithstanding, it was a great event and the new course proved a winner with runners. The race was won by Jon Bowie of Mercia Fell Runners in a time of 53min 53 sec, setting the record for this new course. The first lady home was Mel Price, also of Mercia Fell Runners in a time of 59min 46sec similarly setting the record for future years.
“It isn’t the fastest runner that makes a race or indeed the slowest. It isn’t the number of
participants or the quality of the competition. It isn’t the weather, the course or the
supporters. It is: an experience shared; a pain overcome; a target achieved; a sense of
Did I just say that? What sentimental tosh! Of course it’s the weather, the runners; the
marshals and car park attendants; the smiles and encouragement; the supporters, the camaraderie and not forgetting, the cakes!
And so it was that Tattenhall hosted the fifth race in the annual Borders League series. The races, each of just under 10km, pit individual against individual and club against club where final club positions are achieved by ranking the first four (women) or seven (men) finishers. It takes considerable planning to set up and marshal a race safely and congratulations and thanks should go to Jen and Rob Chambers for all the effort they put into to ensuring the event was a very great success.
Sunday’s race took 273 runners starting from the Flacca and heading out towards Harthill before climbing to Burwardsley Post Office and returning.
Tattenhall’s women excelled once again with notable finishers including Alice Robinson taking 4th place overall and 2nd in the SF category in 39 min 38sec enabling her to take the lead in the women’s competition overall. George Ross came in 6th place in the women’s race and 1st in the FV35 category and Alli Grundy took 11th place overall and 2nd place in the FV40 category. Tattenhall’s leading man was Rob Arden who crossed the line in 44th position overall in a time of 37min 36 sec.
All in all it was a great race in glorious spring sunshine. The marshalling was first rate, the
smiles and support highly necessary and vocal, and the cakes… well, let a picture tell the story!
Tattenhall attacked a new cross-country course at Baschurch on Sat 16 Jan, in the latest of the North Wales Cross Country League races which saw over 220 men and women slip and slide their way around the 5 mile course. Once again mud was the order of the day, though on this occasion water wings and, with a flock of sheep in the finishing tunnel at the end of the ladies race, some shepherding skills, would have been advised.
Tattenhall Runners again remitted themselves well with Alice Robinson taking 7th place and Alli Grundy, 9th place. Simone Norris had a great finish, overtaking 5 others in the final few yards to cross the line in 40th place; Jen Chambers completed the team in 75th. Together the ladies were placed 3rd in the team competition.
Attempting to save the team from relegation, Pete Taylor was first male Tattenhaller to cross the line in a very impressive 16th place overall and taking 2nd MV40 position. Fellow Tattenhaller Ali McNay took 3rd MV40 place in 18th place overall. Simon Ellis took 1st place in the MV50 category and James Jenkin took 3rd place in the MV55 category. Mike Whiteside was 3rd in the MV65 age group. Like the ladies, the men’s team were placed 3rd overall and the maturity of the team assured them of 2nd place in the Masters table! An excellent, if muddy, result!
After a hard year’s racing, only one challenge remained. The feet had been climbed and the miles put behind them; the legs were rested; the kit tested, fuelling was complete and hydration optimised. Finally the date arrived and Nick Holmes and James Jenkin took to the starting line with another 61 intrepid souls. This was not a mad lurch for the finish but a measured, carefully calculated judgement of man vs mountain; of effort vs energy; the culmination of toil, sweat and planning. Finally the gun was fired and all racers put their individual strategies into operation.
Thankfully, less than 14min later it concluded in the garden of the Golden Lion at Llangynhafal. The 2016 Jubilee Plunge, all 2.2 miles of it, all of it downhill, was over!
Nick and James completed the race within half a second of each other. James taking the honours in a time of 13min 21 sec in 16th place and Nick crossing the line close behind in 17th place.
Tattenhall Runners complete their annual racing calendar with their festive fancy dress race on Sunday 20 Dec. This year’s theme is Nursery Rhymes and it can be expected that those running will enter into the spirit and create a memorable spectacle! Uniquely, the race is a handicap with an arcane and utterly opaque formula designed to give the slower runners a chance. Such is the keeness to win this race that runners have been deliberately running slowly for months to achieve a better handicap. Unfortunately, since no-one but the organiser understands the system, this is seldom successful!
The race starts at the Recreation Centre at 1030, heads up Burwardsley Road, along Dark Lane and back via Bolesworth Road through the village returning to the Recreation Centre. 2014’s theme was ‘The Circus’ captured above for the record. What turns up this year, well, we’ll just have to wait and see. So, if you’re around on the 20th, pop out and cheer the madness through the village that is the Crazy Christmas Canter!
Last weekend Tattenhall Runners were in action at the latest Borders League race in Caernavon and in Shropshire at the annual pre-Christmas favourite, The Cardington Cracker. This latter 9 mile fell race took in some of the beautiful fells south of Shrewsbury and this year over 240 runners completed the testing course which included 2600ft of climbing and more than a little mud! Thankfully Storm Desmond had passed, by the Sunday and this year the weather was mild and dry, largely. The majority of the course markers remained upright!
The race was won by Ross Campbell from ‘Dare 2 B Highland Hill Runners’ in a time of 1:17:23 with, once again, Peter Taylor leading the Tattenhall pack in 14th place in a time of 1:25:34 and winning 2nd place in the MV40 category.
Full Tattenhall listings are:
Peter Taylor 14th overall, 1:25:34
Simon Ellis 39th overall, 1:33:21
Simon Duckett 63rd overall, 1:39:27
Nick Holmes 70th overall,1:40:45
Rob Chambers 92nd overall, 1:44:56
Charlie Eldred 108th overall, 1:48:15
James Jenkin 120th overall, 1:50:11
Kate Lightfoot 126th overall, 1:51:16
Mike Corkhill 168th overall, 2:00:39
Sharon Basford 231st overall, 2:24:37