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  • Writer's pictureIan Marshall

Brecon Beacons Fans Races

Updated: Oct 9, 2020

The weekend is made up of two races, Fan-Y-Big and Pen-Y-Fan. For the third year running the organisers kept the same format of the longer race on Saturday to tie in with Llanfrynach village fete. Only Clem Dixon and Ian Marshall made the trip this year. In the days of £20+ entry fees for road races etc. it is nice to know you can get two races for £15 running in superb scenery with free food afterwards. Main picture shows Fan-Y-Big on the left, Pen-Y-Fan in the middle (Corn Du on the right 1st summit in Pen-Y-Fan race)

Fan-Y-Big (10.5 miles 2200’)

The changed race order is much better as you get the run through the village out of the way first not at the end which was a tad torturous. The weather on Saturday was very warm and humid but clag free by race time. 117 runners were in the start field, it was a mad dash through the village, through woods then out across a few fields. This flat 2 miles or so got the legs nicely warmed up before leaving the fields and onto tarmac, the start of a gentle climb but then onto a very rocky path before finally breaking out onto the open fell and the long climb up to the ridge with the summit of Fan-Y-Big away in the distance.

The ridge was very dry no peaty mud to slog through this year, there were stunning views across to Corn Du and Pen-Y-Fan, tomorrow’s challenge. On reaching the summit you turn left and pick up a  rocky path along the ridge edge for a couple of miles, if you had time to look to your left there was a near vertical grassy drop to the valley floor way below. Once off the ridge the 3 mile or so descent started, going became easier on grassy paths with the odd rock to catch the unwary. The grassy downhill continued until a very steep descent off the fell and onto road for the last mile or so still going downhill, enter the village and turn right into the finish field. There followed a very pleasant hour or so sitting in the sun enjoying the fete and a beer.


1st            James Blore        Chepstow Harriers          1:17:32 44th         Clem                                                               1:39:24 114th      Ian                                                                2:15:10

1st Lady (27th Overall) Niki Morgan       Mynydd Du        1:34:21

Pen-Y-Fan (3.5miles/2000’)

Well the £1000 is safe for another year. That is the prize for the first person to beat 30mins, 3.5 miles in 30 mins what’s hard about that! 84 runners toed the start line on slightly sore legs from yesterday in very warm and humid conditions, the tops were clear though. The 2000’ of climb to the highest point in south Wales starts immediately and is unrelenting although having to cross a stile after half a mile or so gives you the chance to recover your lungs if not your legs. Also, the lee of a hill gave some protection against any wind until you breakout onto the open fell and up the steep but laid path to the summit of Corn Du dodging the walkers, a short run down then up to the Pen-Y-Fan summit, immediately turn left  and literally step off the hill to start the very steep downhill dash to the finish, this initially is a very short scramble down over rocks then grass, no path to follow you choose your own line down or try and follow the runner flattened grass! This year visibility was clear and you could see the coloured snake of runners hurtling down and across very clumpy grass to find the outward track back down to the finish. A bottle of beer and cake for every finisher.


1st           Ben Mitchell       MDC      33:34 48th         Clem                               50:54 82nd        Ian                                 74:54

1s Lady (4th Overall)          Megan Carter-Davies     MDC      38:56


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