Race Date: Sunday 4th November 2018
Impossible to over-sell this great little event / race.
Great route, incredible views, super challenge in the elevation grades, fantastic variety of surfaces, friendly, organised, well-selected venue, and a range of weather challenges over the years (massively muddy one year ago, hot and dry two years back), cold and damp this time but mud-free.
The photos say a lot:
It’s uphill from the start on a decent, wide, compacted gravel track.
The route climbs immediately to the top of Moel Famau, the highest of the Clwydian Hill range (just into Wales – the ones you drive through to get to Snowdonia).
Skirting to the west of the Jubilee Tower, it is a drop and another rise to the second peak, Moel Dywyll. For the history buffs – we are on Offa’s Dyke Way at this point. Here the terrain becomes more of challenge – bare rock, smooth rather than bouldered. A couple of runners fell here and withdrew.
At 6 km it is back towards Moel Famau, but approaching from the other face, and facing a steep ascent – maximum angle of 30%. The ground has become peaty and soft, and the climb up becomes slippery. Most were walking and puffing up the hill – 101m height gain in just 400m!
The drop from the top is into an area of forest – beautiful at this time of year. Loose gravel in most parts, with some exciting little drop-offs.
Another couple of fallers pulled out at this point out.
I was, fortunately, warned of a kick in the tail, with the last 800m being uphill again. Wide forest track by this point, though, and so it was as fast as each was capable.
It took me more than an hour to run the just-over-10k route, about 15 minutes down on my road time for the same distance. This is a fair indication of the challenge in the route.
A decent medal and unnecessary (for me) T-shirt, a few healthy bars of chewy goodness and a bottle of water at the end (which is not back at the start, but half a kilometre away) for every finisher.
I loved it, and will go and run it again in 2019. We should, seriously, take a coach party to this one.
First /Only Strider: Stuart Jones 1:02:54
First Male: Craig Brighton 0:48:54 St. Helens Sutton
First Female: Dominique Searle 0:56:32 Northwich Running Club
Finishers: 380 (from 384 starters)
Best Club Name (non-Striders) Oswestry Olympians