Report by Tom Davies
Back in1977 the Kington Festival Association decided to hold a run from Hay -On-Wye to Kington and the Offa’s Dyke 15 was born. Over the coming years the race grew into a classic with fields of over 600 runners containing some of the very best fell and distance runners of the time, unfortunately the foot and mouth epidemic in 2002 brought about a temporary demise and now Tempo Events are gradually restoring the race towards its’ former glory.
The race, probably more than any other, has a special place in the annals of Croft Ambrey Running Club. It was instrumental in the formation of the Club and Croft runners have taken part in every race since 3 founding members took part in 1982.
This year’s race was therefore a perfect way to start our Anniversary celebrations and 37 Croft runners rose to the challenge of taking part. As a concession for our anniversary, runners who felt unlikely to make the 12.30 cut off in Newchurch were allowed an early start and we were also allowed to run relay teams as a trial for possible inclusion in future races.
And so it was that Huw, Hayley M, Theresa and Bryan and Tom Davies set off at 10.30 am in perfect running conditions pondering when the rest of the field, due to start at 11 am, would pass them. They did not have too long to wait with Eric passing after some 5 miles already with a healthy lead over the rest of the pack. Gradually most of the remaining field passed the early starters with lots of encouragement passing between the host of sky- blue vests.
At times the race can seem like an epic journey with its’ different surfaces, climbs of all lengths and severities and also fantastic views if you have the time and energy to take them in! I’m sure every runner will have a personal story to tell. Be it of the rush to beat the first cut off at Newchurch severely slowed by the climb up Bettws Dingle, the never-ending slog up Disgwylfa or the climb onto Hergest when legs are tired and the mind is weak!
All in all, an excellent and enjoyable day with Eric taking an impressive second place and 1 st senior male with the Club winning the Ladies (Kelly,Emma and Jo M) and Men’s shields(Eric, Jasper and Sam J).
Other ‘rostrum’ finishers were :- Jasper 2 nd sm, Kelly 2 nd FV35, Emma 3 rd FV45, Ian Price 3 rd MV65, Bryan Davies 1 st MV75+.
In addition we had 4 relay teams, Leg 1 Hay to Newchurch (6.9miles) leg2 Newchurch to Gladestry(3.6 miles) leg 3 Gladestry to Kington(4.8 miles): –
‘Easier Said Than Run’ (Guy Whitmarsh, Clare Preece, Sue Field)
‘Not Much to Offa’ (Darren Edwards, Howard Verran, Simon Norwood)
‘Are We There Yet?’ (Pat Pearson, Rob Wood, Sue Wood)
‘Croft Originals’ (Tom Davies, Bryan Davies, Bryan Markham)
Unfortunately the chip timing didn’t work for the relay teams so we don’t yet have any team times.
The race was rounded off by our founding chairman Pete Faulkner coming out of retirement to cross the line with Bryan and Tom. Altogether an incredible turnout and super performances on what is a very tough race boding well for the future of the Club. From my own perspective I have asked my family to commit me to a secure institution if I consider running the race for a 23 rd time next year! The race was won by Jamie Shingler of Ludlow Runners in 1.46.55, first Lady was Molly Browne of BRATs in1.56.36. There were 193 finishers.
Lots more photos on the photo page of the website – scroll down page to photos of different races.