Clem Dixon, Tarbo Fukazawa and Ian Marshall made their way to Dolgellau in Snowdonia for the race described as the toughest in Wales! Can’t really argue, it’s not only the 5 mile climb from the town square but the differing terrain, 1 mile steep tarmac out of the town, a wood infested with ankle turning roots, then the climb actually starts, a long steep pull up the mostly rocky ‘Pony Path’, an impressive sight looking up and seeing a stream of colour making their way up. On reaching the top of the Pony path through the checkpoint which must be reached within 1hr 15 mins otherwise you can be turned back down the hill. From here the last mile or so to the summit is on a rocky path, watch out for runners hurtling back down. The last few metres to the summit are an easy scramble, touch the trig point turn round and briefly look up to appreciate the stunning view from 3,000’ before gingerly picking your way down off the summit.
Descending can be tricky on Cader as you are constantly watching your feet all the 2.5 miles to the bottom of the Pony Path. Back through the wood watching for those pesky roots and eventually out onto the road and a 1.5 miles gallop downhill on tired legs, round the final corner into the town square where a huge crowd clap you in. There was tremendous support throughout the race.
It is said that the skill of fell running is in the descending, to prove the point the eventual winner Mark Hopkinson was exactly 3 mins behind Rob Samuel at the summit but Mark passed Rob and finished over a minute in front to beat Rob into second place.
Clem and Tarbo both had good runs though Clem was a tad disappointed to just go over 2 hours for the first time but he did do a marathon the week before! Ian decided discretion was the better part of valour by going as far as the cut-off point at the top of the pony path, about a mile from the summit, before retiring and descending back down.
In the evening in the pub we witnessed Tarbo demolish two main courses and a dessert of a bowl of chips! The man has hollow legs!
We may have a fell star on our hands if William White transfers from his Welsh club to Cambridge, I believe the 1st claim status has been ongoing for some time. His performance on Saturday was excellent.