Report by Bronwyn
It only feels like yesterday that it was mid-September and we were getting ready to run Rhayader Round The Lakes 2021. Fast forward to Saturday 5th March and here we are, several months later, ready to go again.
Like other years, two races would be held on the day. The first being a 10km out and back race from Rhayader to Elan Village and back again. The second being a 30km which, as the name of the race says, was a literal run around the stunning lakes of Elan Valley.
After much deliberation as well as taking part in a social run with some of the club around the majority of the route, I decided that I would put myself up to the challenge of running the 30km. My longest race to date. Although, due to illness and issues with my feet (that were caused by a lot of walking over in Florida the week before), it was touch and go as to whether I was going to make the start, let alone the finish. However, on Saturday morning I was feeling fine and ready to face the challenge that lay ahead.
The event began with the 10km race which got underway at 11:15am. The 30km followed at 11:30am. There was decent turn out for CARC with a number of runners making the trip into mid-Wales to take part.
Both races began at Rhayader Rugby/Football Club with runners making their way out of town along the B4518 towards Elan Valley. Here the 10km runners and 30km runners went their seperate ways and as I ran the 30km route, the majority of this report will be about that.
Probably what was the one of the most challenging aspects of the race came at the beginning with a 4-5mile(ish) “slog” up the mountainside. It was long, tough and deceiving. I must have questioned my sanity several times while making some kind of attempt to get to the top. But I got there as did the other CARC runners. As to whether it was actually a mountain we were running up, I don’t know. It really felt like it. The wind was a bit nippy at the top but from here on it was a lovely downhill run into Elan Valley.
The roads that winded their way around the valley were relatively downhill with the odd steeper section, we were in Wales after all. It was during this segement of the race that I managed to make up some of the ground that I lost at the beginning and find a consistent pace that I could happily tootle along at. I even managed to catch some Crofties which surprised me as everyone looked extremely strong on the mountainside.
Soon came the trek along to Caban Coch Dam, the one by the visitor centre. I was now tired and contemplating jumping in the reservoir for a swim. Even hitching a ride with the ambulance that seemed to be following me came to mind. But I was still catching other runners and making up good time. I had no reason to stop.
Past the dam and down the hill came a sharp right turn into Elan Village itself. Here I lost my momentum. And, after speaking to other competitors, they felt the same here too. It was a bummer as I felt I was going well. And that was with my feet causing me all kinds of pain and my constant coughing and spluttering, which in hindsight did keep other people away. I quickly consumed a gel, which I’m not a huge fan off, but I wanted to finish this race on a high. So off I went along the footpath (the 10km route also followed this) back into Rhayader.
Then came one last hill to challenge us. And, from what I saw and from what I’ve heard, the majority of people walked it. Luckily for me I caught up with some hikers so I just cheekily pretended I was one of them so I didn’t look bad for not running. As soon as I neared the top however, I put myself into gear and went for it getting back to the start/finish line in just over 3 hours.
Gareth was the first CARC member home in 5th place with a time of 1:59:26 and was shortly followed by Eric in 11th with 2:04:34. Kelly was 6th female with a time of 2:23:57. Stuart and Roland came home in 112th and 113th in the male category finishing with almost indentical times. 2:56:35 and 2:56:40 respectively. Then came Thea with 3:01:32 and myself with 3:09:11. Liza rounded up the Crofties with 3:16:00.
At the time of writing, I am unsure if a report is going to be done on the 10km. Steph Main was the first Croft home in that race finishing in 50:02 and 9th in the female category. Lisa was next under the hour with 58:40. Theresa crossed the line with a 1:06:47 and then came Suzanne with 1:09:52. Very well done to these ladies!
As for my race, I enjoyed it and the picturesque views were an added bonus. I am extremely keen to take on this challenge again next year and better my time. In the mean time, well done to my fellow Crofties for getting across the finish line!