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Clwydian Hills Fell Race 2017 6ADB&dl=1

October 24, 2017

Its the third time I’ve raced in Wales and each time has been a pleasant experience of friendliness and efficiency; here in Cilcain (Kilkan) in North Wales it’s no different.

What do I get for my six pounds; free parking, a map, soup and a roll, spot prizes, a slate coaster of the race, electronic results as they come in and the opportunity of running nine miles in glorious conditions.

As Storm Brian wheezes its last around the foothills of Moel Famau we’re not sure of what conditions to expect so 141 runners are dressed in singlets all the way through to full foul weather gear; but we are blessed, the singlet is the better choice. And visibility is 100%.

There are a few GandO vests here too, Wayne, Ian H, Jim Rhodes, Alan Duncan and Tom Smith have also made the journey. Wayne scoffs at my dithering of which shoes to wear; its Wales and its been raining and there are hills; so you’ll be wanting the pair with worn soles and not so much grip he says with a grin.

I had been out partying in Chester the night before, nobody told me what a great night out that is, but had shown a little restraint as I knew I wanted to race here today. Unlike Carlos Bedson of Cheshire Hills FR who downed half a bottle of bourbon the night before. I felt awful the whole way round, he says to me. Aah, so that’s why I just edge him out; he’ll get me back next time we meet no doubt.

Little to relate of the race itself except for that annoying walker with his walking poles tucked like a skier under his arm. He couldn’t have cared less about the runners negotiating a way round him on the slippy mud; have a care, mate.

The course has a lot of running in it despite its 3,000 feet of climbing with the only real scrambling going up Meol Famau itself which is the last climb and the bit where I pull away from Carlos; brandy ain’t so dandy seven miles into a race is it now. And the hills here abound in prickly gorse; my legs are a pebble-dash of pricks as a result.

The last couple of miles are marked but I still contrive to take the wrong path. The wind is bending a marker in two when I go by and I make the wrong choice, so I stop and retrace my steps and wait a few more seconds for the next runner to come by to show me the way home. He’s a real gent from Mersey Tri who refuses to go in front of me despite being faster on this flatter stuff and actually urges me on to stay in front of the fast closing chap behind us.

The next GandO in is Tom whom I’ve met once before at Mearley. He’s been fell running some ten years and only just joined our club. I’m Joe’s dad, he says as we chat at the finish; I didn’t know that; and this is Joe’s Bowland vest I’m wearing. When he talks about Joe its with such gusto and happiness that I feel okay to continue the subject. For those who don’t know, Joe was killed in an avalanche in Scotland near Glencoe while working up there. When training at Bowland and working on the farm we often had a beer in the Tillies together; I remember him fondly as a cheerful and handsome young man. Where have you buried him, I ask. He’s everywhere, says Tom; we scattered his ashes in all his favourite places. God rest you Joe, sadly missed but a life much celebrated by your family.

And then in comes Alan; after washing in the stream he tells me that he’s just turned 65 and retirement beckons. I’ll last the year out and then call it a day at work, he says; concentrate on my fell running. What’s Neil Shepherd doing with himself, I ask; he’s lost it, lost the passion, always finding an excuse, says Alan. Well, that explains his absence this past year or so. Pity, as Neil has always been a great runner.

Running in Wales, its always worth the effort, and its topped off with a nice slice of fruit tea bread made by the older chap ladling out the butternut squash soup and the happy spirit of the ladies who’ve made a great effort with the cakes and tea.

Bourbon and fell racing; they don’t mix – Carlos

One Comment leave one →
  1. carlbedson permalink
    October 29, 2017 9:55 pm

    Thanks for this backhandedly flattering commentary.
    Please might i invite you to correct the data in as much as the night before, one might have sipped < 1/4 not 1/2 a bottle of bourbon.
    Nonetheless, the information you provide about how sick and nauseous one was feeling is correct.

    For further information regarding bourbon visit

    However since that article was written, i've replaced pre race bourbon with camomile tea.
    It was nice to be thought of by Declan who is an excellent runner and extremely hard to beat.

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