I would imagine that everyone who has run regularly within the last 20 odd years has heard of the Rhayader 20 miles, some would remember it for its stunning scenery (when you can see it!) and others for its gruelling climb from the 3 mile marker to just beyond the 5 mile marker, then with tired legs you still have almost 15 miles to run, and is nothing short of testing to say the least!
Added to that the weather during this year’s race played a major role, although it was cloudy but dry when we set off by the time I had reached 7 miles it started to hail then it turned to heavy snow changing to sleet and then rain before becoming dry again. If nothing else you can’t say that the weather in mid Wales is predictable.
This year’s race was headed by 5 Fairwater Cwmbran Runners who were the class of the field taking the first 5 places, the winning time set by Matt Collins who finished in 1:58:09.The first female finisher was Gemma Collier from Gloucester AC recording 2:21:31and finishing 31st o/a.
Croft Ambrey RC fielded 6 runners this year and they were headed by Mark L finishing 34th in 2:22:07, a commendable result. Gemma was next Croft runner completing the course 86th in 2:39:35, which is a really good run in preparation for her run in the forthcoming Edinburgh Marathon, which should be a breeze for her. Next up was David R Jnr who finished in 125th in 2:49:50, followed by Paul P who just dipped under the 3 hour mark by 1 second and claimed 164th place. I was next after really struggling with the last 5 miles coming home 182nd in 3:07:09; I would say that this race is as hard if not harder than the London Marathon mainly because of the long climb early in the race. The final Croft runner was Sue P who finished in 3:12:55 to take 198th, a good result and another runner in their final preparations for the London Marathon, she will surely have a good run after this test.
In the past there have been 350 plus finishers but this year saw only 273 which makes me think maybe a fairly large number pulled out? Not so Croft Ambrey runners! A tougher than average 20 mile race! So why does it always rain (or worse) when I go running in Mid Wales then? ( I suggest you listen to the weather forecast next time, Frank! – Guy)