Race Report by Tim Jones.
Long Batch, Carding Mill, Ashes Hollow, Callow Hollow and Minton Batch are the major valleys that cut into the eastern flank of the moorland plateau of the Long Mynd. A series of steep climbs and exhilarating descents link all of these valleys in the 18.5km and 1370m of ascent that are The Long Mynd Valleys Fell Race. The lucky competitors even get to visit some of these gems twice with the biggest climb of the race saved for that moment when you naively think that you are only 2km from home. This is definitely a race that requires prior fell running experience as the weather can be harsh so early in the year and if you lose sight of the other runners navigational skills are required to keep yourself on course.
After the initial disappointment of a race postponement due to Storm Ciara the race organisers worked hard to renegotiate access and find an alternative race HQ before rescheduling the race for March 1st. The delay proved valuable for Gary G and Flora who were now able to join John Jaspers and Tim Jones who had entered for the original date.
A new innovation this year was the addition of barcodes to our race numbers, we were scanned like cans of baked beans at the main checkpoints allowing our progress to be beamed back to race HQ and on to the internet. This also allows each runner to analyse their split times after the race. During the race briefing it was helpfully pointed out that we shouldn’t worry about the minor hesitation for the scanning process as even after the final checkpoint we still had 30 minutes of pain in which to catch and pass the runner ahead of us!
Despite an early hint of bright sunny conditions, the weather during the race was a real example of 4 seasons in one day with a mixture of sunshine, rain, snow and hail. I think there was also a bit of wind but my mind seems to have blanked that bit out.
The race was won by David Chetta in a time of 1:59:17 and all 4 Croft Runner made it safely to the finish with positions and time as below.
75th Tim Jones 2:44:56
92nd John Jaspers 3:06:27
97th Flora Gunner 3:09:27
101st Gary Gunner 3:47:11