Apparently a day trip to Wales from the Isle of Wight is a very good idea, particularly when you throw in a seven mile fell run for good measure! Up at 02:30, picked up at 03:30 and on the ferry by 04:30 isn’t as horrendous as it sounds (ok, maybe it is!) when you’re in the company of some awesome people. I joined Nigel, Rosie, Trevor and Claire (ex Road Runner, shhh! Don’t tell Joy!) plus Holly came along for moral support, when we all made this incredible journey on Saturday 6th April. Sugar Loaf Mountain in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire was our destination for an annual fell run organised by the infamous Mynydd Du (thankfully, I managed to go the whole day without having to pronounce that so no one was offended!).
Only 122 extremely intimidating (but genuinely lovely) runners took part (I shall lump the five of us in that bracket for the purposes of this report) in a race that presented you with beer at the finish instead of a medal. Apparently this is normal at fell runs and just illustrates the point that you really do have to run these kind of events with the heart and not just the legs.
I was extremely privileged to have Nigel as my guide, not only is he an experienced fell runner but it was also the first time he had run Sugar Loaf too and so sacrificed his own achievements that day to make sure I was safe and enjoyed my first experience.
The start was tough, I’m not going to lie. Those uphills were practically vertical and never ending. As some of you know I couldn’t complete the Rog Run due to ill health and Nige and I ended up following one of the Ventnor Fell Series routes on our return. To say I had demons was an understatement. We all know running is 75% psychological and 25% fitness so a race like this was going to be challenging anyway. During the Rog Run, the back marker was walking behind us and the impact that had was overwhelming. When the same thing happened again this time, I held on and pushed my pride to one side. She was lovely, we had a nice chat! Nigel’s guiding skills are superb on that type of terrain and his knowledge of when to push it and when to take it easier definitely made the world of the difference as we finally reached the summit and the snow! (Photos were taken as proof!)
The descent was unbelievable, downhill is always my favourite part of a race (obviously!) but downhill on a mountain is something else – steep with rocks, roots, streams etc, so much fun! Both Trevor and Rosie were waiting at different points towards the end and with 7.5 miles clocked up in total (everyone else did 7! Ha!) we weren’t in last place across the finish line. Result!
Trevor and Rosie pulled in some outstanding times, well done you two! Looking forward to the next road trip with mountains now I know how easy they are (I jest!)!!
Trevor McAlister 01:06:27
Rosie Eldridge 01:28:48
Sarah Probert 01:58:00
Nigel Eldridge 01:58:00