March 26, 2023

Blaenavon Fell Race 25 March 2023

Bob Foreman reports:

On Saturday I ran in the Llanbedr to Blaenavon Fell Race 16miles and 4’580 feet. It was the second race in the 2023 Welsh Champs.

This is a linear race and to make the logistics a little easier Mark Jackson came with me to drive my car from the start to the finish.

The profile of the race is 3 steep climbs followed by 3 long, leg sapping descents of Crug Mawr, Sugar Loaf and Blorenge.

There is a 2 miles tarmac section of difficult urban navigating across Abergavenny during which I missed a turn and found myself running along the A40 dual carriageway and having to climb over the crash barrier and down a 20 foot steel mesh fence to drop into the underpass and get back on track.

This wasted so much energy and being just before the final and steepest climb, up The Blorenge, which almost brought me to a standstill. Once at the Blorenge TP there was a cold headwind for the last 3 mile shuffle to the finish, much of it through the remains of mining slagheaps and then a last half mile through a rough housing estate to the finish at the rugby club.
A tough race but with with some great running, especially early on in the southern Black Mountains and only one sharp refreshing shower of rain.

The race was won by Matt O’Keefe of Mynyddwyr De Cymru in 2hr 23min and the first Lady was Jackie Lee of Eryri, 17th o/a in 2hr 45min.

I struggled around in 3h 14min, 67th o/a and surprisingly managed to bag 1st M60.

My logistics manager Mr Jackson, did a grand job, apart from eating my bread roll when I went up to collect my prize and leaving me with nothing to dip into my bowl of vegan gruel!