• Brownie

Cader Idris Mountain Race

Updated: Jan 12



Five Go Up…and Down

The sun was splitting the stones in Dolgellau town square as five Harriers lined up for this year’s Cader Idris Mountain Race, a firm favourite in the fell running calendar because of it’s varied terrain. At 853m it’s not a high as others, still very pointy at the pointy bit and no less beautiful on such a gorgeous day as this was. A few words from the Race Director and then off, out of the square and immediately up a steep road which instantly transforms chatting into puffing as the gradient takes hold. On and up. We go across a field and into a wood alongside a picturesque lake, tippy-toeing through the tree roots as the race stretches out. Over a stile, across what is normally a boggy field but today is dried firm and then onto the mountain slopes proper. Run until the ascent is unrunable then scramble to the next false flat. Repeat. At the top the view is superb, right over to the Irish Sea – but there’s no time to stop. Touch the trig point, turnaround and go back. Going up is mostly leg strength and what position you can achieve before the real climbing starts but descending is a skill and something this correspondent lacks. The good fell runners are sure-footed, fearless and make it look easy. Runners I passed going up are bounding past me on the way down. The descent starts to flatten out, back across the dried field and into the wood again – in the dappled light it’s a trap. Just like Baldrick’s bullet, there’s a tree root somewhere in that wood with your name on it given the amount of times runners went over. Clem emerged with a cut knee and Peter went over too – they were far from the only ones! Back on the road, the steep ascent out of town is now the sort of long decent that really tests your knees as you have to stop your momentum literally running away with you. The cheering crowds herald the end and it’s done – your legs are screaming but what a great race! First Cambridge home was Christian, 49th overall and 3rd in his highly competitive M50 age group. Clem was next, 81st and 15th in the same group. Steve came in 162nd, 4th in his M60 group followed by course debutant Peter who was 206th, 1st M70 and a later prize recipient, with Pat 255th, 52nd M50. As usual, the organisation and facilities were excellent, food and drink laid on for all and more melty chocolate than we could decline – I wonder what they did with it all? Surely it couldn’t be better than this next year?



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