Breidden Hills is traditionally the first of the Shropshire winter fell series, and marks the watershed between summer and winter. Despite the rain before the race, by the time runners had assembled it had stopped, but leaving the hills shrouded in low cloud. Admiral Rodney could have sailed off on an adventure, for all we knew – there was enough water around.
The first stage of the race is a steady uphill pull on a wide forestry track for about a mile, which serves to thin out the pack! From then on it was mostly mud and wet fields, with only limited views from the hilltops as the low cloud began to lift. The downhills tended to have small, slippery rocky outcrops, occasionally camouflaged with leaves, which encouraged me to descend more cautiously than most, judging by the cuts and grazes others were comparing at the finish. The trickiest of all though was the 20 foot (?) descent of a rock face, followed by a steep slide down a cwm, made worse by the wet peaty soil having been shifted down the slope by the earlier runners, leaving less grip (or cushion?) for the tail-enders. From the final climb up to Rodney’s Pillar (I only saw the base, and didn’t have the energy to look upwards to check he was still there), it was downhill to the finish, but still slippery, stony stretches to negotiate.
138 runners completed the race, with Gary P our best finisher (47th) in 1.14.33. Paul C-D, ex Croftie now with Myndd Du was 60th (1.18.26). I finished just as Tim arrived, calling in on his way back from a 50 mile race in Snowdonia (and I thought our race was tough). I was the first of two M75s, in 1.30.44, with Gary G 1st M70 ( 1.33.55), ahead of Flora (121st, in 1.38.09). Gary G stayed for the results and presentations for the North and South Wales fell series winners – of which more, I hope, later.
Gary P must have evaded the cameraman