My first race as Presteigne Pacers latest loan signing (negotiations dealt with by my agent Mr M. Blenkinsop) saw me travelling to Talybont-on-Usk to take part in the fourth running of the Sleepwalker race. This is normally a 20mile figure of eight course, but due to the poor weather conditions the course was altered to an out and back format and as a result was around 18.5 miles.
Although looking very picturesque with a dusting of snow and lights reflecting off the Talybont reservoir, in reality with temperatures reported by the organisers on their website as dipping to a toe curling -17∙c plenty of layers were called for!
Starting 10 minutes late due to complications caused by the weather we were sent off into the dark at 18.10hrs.
This was my first attempt at this event. All the other Pacers, with the exception of 21 year old Jordan Mcqueen (for whom it was his first competitive race for the Pacers, a baptism of fire if ever there was one!) had completed it a least once before.
On the outward leg I ran with Phil Jones closely followed by the other Pacers.
At the turn around point I was feeling strong and the thought of the great selection of cakes back at the hall spurred me on and I was gradually working my way through the field.
Having passed 8 or 10 people there were no more head torches in sight I decided to stay with the last person I had overtaken as I was not too sure of the route and although carrying an OS map with the route I felt, considering the weather, I was better off staying with someone who knew the route rather than trying to gain ground and potentially getting lost in the process.
Within the first 20 minutes of the event unsurprisingly the pipe from my drinks bladder had frozen solid. After approximately 15miles I opened the cuffs of my coat to remove what I thought was snow that had got in, only to find a lump of ice about half the size of a golf ball in each sleeve, which was sweat but had since frozen!
Once I finished in a time of 2hrs 52 minutes in 18 th place I removed my coat to find it glistening with a coating of frozen sweat – really must find something else to do with my Saturday nights.
The winner completed the event in 2hrs and 29 minutes. The Pacers finished in 3hrs and 6 minutes in joint 25 th place. 71 people completed the event and one person retired.
Would I do it again? Yes, but I would certainly take the chance to recky route during daylight hours.