Ron Skilton Half Marathon, Llanwrytd Wells – Jo


While most of you were slipping and sliding around the Fforest Fields course on Sunday (well done Crofties on a great result!), a smaller contingent of Croft members were a little further down the road, similarly engaged slogging up and down the wet and wind-swept hills around Llanwrytd Wells.

Although this multi terrain, figure-of-eight race never gets any easier to run (this was my 6th year), the spectacular scenery and variety of terrain: forest climbs, moorland, fields and river crossings almost always compensates for the periods of severe lung and leg pain endured! After a few hundred metres along the road out of the town, there is a tough ascent of around 900 feet over the next two miles through fields and forest that really sorts out the mice from the men (and I’m definitely a mouse!).  The route then winds slowly downhill on a packed slate/shale track until re-entering the town around mile 7.

At this point, the rain laid into us and the second leg became more of a battle to finish.  This leg involves a long, slow slog up through mud-saturated fields and bracken before a steep single-track climb followed by a final sharp descent on loose rocks and a mile run out on the road back to the town. Although I got a bit lost again (I’m sure they’ve been moving gates since last year!) I soon got back on course and actually had a fuelling strategy that worked: a gel at mile 10 and new compression socks meant that as I topped the brow of the hill at mile 11, I had a sudden surge of energy and charged downhill like a demon possessed, completing the last 2 miles feeling strong (and minus the calf problems that had plagued me at this point last year).

It was a small field of 47 runners that completed the course with first man, JonathanPugh, setting a new course record of 1:32:06. GaryPearson (10th) was in 1:49:19; Matt Moffatt (21) in 2:03:06 and my hubby, Crispin Marriott, 33rd, (catching up with me quickly) in 2:15:55.  I was delighted to knock over 4 minutes off last year’s time and come in 2nd woman (OK, there were only 9 running!) and 27th overall, in 2:11:28.

As many of you know, RonSkilton was my uncle and this race raises money for Motor Neurone Disease, of which he died.  Numbers were low this year because of the clash with the Winter League series and a Welsh event on the Saturday so I’m hopeful they will change the date next year and I can persuade a few more of you to come.  I know you will love it!

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