Rhayader Round the Lakes 20
Saturday 15th March 2008
Many C&C runners were blown about and had a free shower in the Turing Trail Relay on Sunday, but a day earlier Katie and I were in beautiful hilly Wales also getting wet and having a breezy time!
An absorbing course, wonderful scenery, with a steep 3.5 mile long uphill near the beginning, then downhill followed by continual undulations with barely a flat stretch to be found.
2 years ago, I ran this race for the first time when I was fairly fit and in a bitterly cold temperature (wind chill <0C) and a ferocious wind (~40 mph in the hills - the waterfalls at the dams were being blown back up!) I finished in 2:53/54. Last year, I wasn't so fit, and while it was still cold and windy (but not so bad) I took 3:01:03. This year, I felt even less fit and was expecting to take even longer (3:05?). Despite my usual slow start (I was in the last 10 at the beginning - everybody at training knows me and my style!) I got to halfway in 90 minutes still feeling alright (having overtaken lots of runners on the first hill), so I went for it in the easier 2nd half of the race and finished in 2:53:32. Despite the rain, I couldn't stop smiling and chatting all the way round!
Very friendly event. Goodness knows how Rhayader AC manage to get about 100 marshals, officials and drinks people out in such conditions!
Despite living in the flatlands, I do enjoy some hills (I love the St. Neot's half-marathon!) and Wales is a pleasant change from Cambridgeshire, the Rhayader/Elan Valley area is so scenic and the other runners are friendly and I enjoy chatting to them as I go round. I like challenges so I didn't think of it as hell but something to enjoy. The Rhayader people say the effort of the race is equivalent to a marathon - I'd say nearly but not quite. On a flat wind-free course, I could probably do 20 miles in 2:25/30. Unlike Katie, I couldn't do it again the next day - 2 days afterwards, my legs are 'a bit stiff'. Just as well I've got a couple of days leave from work to recover - I don't feel like cycling to work like I usually do.