The Welsh 3000s
Report – Dave Parkin
The Welsh 3000s has been well-known in fell-running and hill-walking circles since the first timed effort in 1938.
It’s a simple proposition – stand on the top of all of the 15 Welsh 3000-foot mountain summits in as short a time as you can – the route is entirely up to you. It isn’t run as an organised race; rather, individuals and teams plan their own attempts.
The record for the summit-to-summit time was held for many years by the incomparable Joss Naylor and is now a quite remarkable 4:10 set by Finlay Wild in 2019.
I had been planning my attempt for much of the year – it is as much about navigation, weather and moving quickly over difficult mountain terrain as it is about pure athletic endeavour.
Much of the route was familiar to me after many trips to Snowdonia over the years but there were a few challenging sections over difficult terrain, so I had a couple of recce days in August to finalise my route plan.
One of the added challenges of the Welsh 3000s is that you actually have to get to the summit of the first one before you start your watch and then get off the last one at the end of a long day.
I duly set off at 4.45am from Pen y Pass to reach Snowdon, my first summit, for the dawn.
Two mistakes; firstly, I set off too early and secondly, I went off too fast, so I arrived at Snowdon when it was still pitch dark, with the rather spectacularly imposing Crib Goch ridge my next destination.
In the dark and the drizzle, I scrambled along Crib Goch by torchlight (don’t try this at home, kids…!), and then dropped steeply down through scree and pathless, boggy, mountain terrain to my first road crossing at Nant Peris.
Ten minutes later I was on my way again, straight up 800m of unremitting awfulness by the name of Elidir Fawr. Reaching the top, once again in thick mist, I found I could actually run again, and had some of my best running of the day round to Y Garn.
From there it was across Glyder Fawr and Glyder Fach (in now quite persistent rain, which, on the boulder field of the Glyders makes for treacherous underfoot conditions and difficult navigation), and then a steep down and up and onto Britain’s favourite mountain, the spectacular Tryfan. The record for the descent from Tryfan to the road is 7minutes – I took a rather more stately 45minutes and was then down for my second road crossing at Ogwen.
It was then onto the final leg. The sun had come out and I just had one big climb left but with 20miles and 9000ft of ascent already in the legs and insufficient food intake, my body decided it wasn’t going to play and I slowed to a crawl. Everyone has a difficult time at some point on a long run, and this was mine. But, with plenty of time left in the day, I stuck at it, eventually made it to the top and even found the energy to run some of the last section along the Carneddau, looking down to Anglesey and the Menai Straits below in the evening light.
I reached the final summit, Foel Fras, at 5pm, giving me a 10hr58min summit to summit time. All told, by the time I was back at the car it was 32.5miles and 12,355 feet of ascent and had been on my feet for 13 and a half hours, so that was very much me done.
Huge thanks to my amazing support team of Emma, Amelia and Tessa, without whom this wouldn’t have been possible.
Triathletes doing stuff without the bike and swim bits i.e. running!
Report – Simon Taylor
Triathletes Ben Phyall and Pete Wharton both competed in the Brighton Marathon a couple of weeks ago. Ben completed the course in 3.54.46, claiming he would have gone sub 3 hours if the course hadn’t been long – by 500 metres! Pete backed up Ben’s claims as he came across the line in 4.04.48 and bemoaned the extra distance meaning he missed his sub 2.30 target! Both were pleased with their performances and blamed the late report on the extra distance they had to run!
Those of you that follow Kate Wright’s results might think that she’s part cyborg and, like a fine wine, gets better with age but a twisted ankle at the Chedworth 10 showed her human side and she ‘only’ managed to finish 3rd woman and 2nd in her age group! Back to the drawing board Kate! The race overall was won, in an extraordinary run, by Chloe Richardson. As a 34 mins 10k runner and someone who excels on cross country, perhaps there shouldn’t be any surprise