Report by Emma
Last weekend I took part in the 2020 Rhayader Round the Lakes 30k race – just 18 months after it was originally
scheduled. Also on the start line for Croft were Gareth Leek and Eric Apperley, though they were instantly so far
ahead that I didn’t see them running again.
Road races are not generally my thing but this one is so scenic that I had to make an exception. It was a warm sunny
September day, very different to the wild and windy March weather of my last attempt, but I haven’t quite decided
which made for tougher running. The heat on the big climb was at times brutal and plenty of runners were making
tactical stops to photograph the scenery. I pootled up, overtaking them when they stopped only for them to shoot
past me again shortly after. Though I was pleased to reach the top at 6k feeling strong and with energy to spare.
Last time I remember I was almost on my knees by this point, but now it was my turn to shoot past – I can’t resist a
good bit of down-hill and made up a number of places in the process too.
From the start of the lakes it was just a case of keeping going to try to hold off the stronger up-hill runners behind
me. At the second water station, around 12k in, overtaking another lady spurred me on and then I was more or less
on my own till just before 18k when I caught up with Eric limping painfully along. He’d been forced to pull up with a
cramp/pulled calf muscle and by this point had been walking for almost 4km – which shows just how far ahead of me
he and Gareth had been!
Luckily there was a lift for Eric at the water station around the next corner and although he shocked his parents by
arriving at the finish in an ambulance, he still managed to register a finish time half an hour ahead of mine by
wandering too close to the timing mat while still wearing his number.
Back on route I was caught on the next hill by a strong chatty lady who while now living in Weymouth had been born
in Rhayader. She knew the territory and clearly had energy to spare. I pulled away on the down-hill only for her to
catch me on the next incline, then we stayed together till the final hill 2k from the end where her superior strength
enabled her to surge ahead overtaking not only me but the two female runners ahead of us too. I was pleased to
see that even I was making obvious ground on them by the top of that last killer hill, but it ended just too soon and
before I crested the summit they were away again. I spotted the rear-most of the two crossing the line just as I
rounded the final bend and soon I was across the line too – elated with a PB 6.5 minutes ahead of my last effort.
Gareth finished in 6 th place overall in 2:03:14 – second in his category
I finished in 63 rd place overall in 2:34:36 – 8th lady and 1st in my category
Also at Rhayader last weekend were fellow Crofties, Theresa, Clare, Thea, Lisa, Hayley and Roland taking part in the
10k race with Bronwen on camera duty – a rollercoaster of ups and downs with the same brutal hill 2k from the
finish that the 30k runners had to negotiate, it was a tough old race in itself and Clare and Roland were out racing
again at Hereford the following day! The 10k results were:
Theresa Jones – 1:07:34
Clare Preece – 1:07:19
Hayley Colebatch – 1:02:52
Lisa Gray – 58:32
Thea Preece – 50:44
Roland Preece – 47:18