Jubilee Plunge race

Posted by Sam Harrison on January 1, 2015 at 19:42.

 Fell running

clwydian clwyds fell race jubilee plunge moel famau

"That's second place in the bag" I thought to myself as me and first place sprinted our way along the Clwydian ridgeline. I was trailing the Mercia runner in front by 5 metres or so, and we'd both opened up a comfrotable lead on third and the rest of the bunch. Bar a catastrophe, podium finishes were ours.

The Boxing Day snows had brought a fresh powdery white blanket and that coupled with a clear sky and practically no wind made the walk up Moel Famau - for the start of the downhill only "Jubilee Plunge" race - an absolute pleasure. I'd opted for a Merino wool top and Ron Hill Tracksters, but was regretting not going for t-shirt and shorts. The good weather had brought others out in their droves and the summit was heaving, not just with fell runners.

The snow was soft which made my new(ish) pair of Mudclaws perfect for ploughing down the initial steep descent off the summit. I'd been caught off gaurd at the start but soon worked my way into second place, happy that steep technical descents still seem to be my forte.

Me and first place passed a path leading off left that I thought looked familiar, before we started working our way up Moel Dywyll. Of course, if I'd have realised we were working our way up Moel Dywyll, I'd have realised that the familiar looking path was familiar because it was the one we'd just walked up from Llangynhafal, and hence the one we should be descending. But alas, in the rush of the race this passed me by and it wasn't until a passing walker asked "aren't you meant to be going that way?", whilst pointing at the stream of runners behind us making their way down said paid, that we realised we'd made a pretty embarrassing navigational blunder.

Some expletives were uttered (apologies to the passing walker) and we cut across the deep snow and heather to try and make our places back. We slipped (literally) back into the long line of runners and proceeded to attempt some awkward overtaking manoeuvres, awkward because we were now on a single track path bounded by more deep snow and heather.

The chap from Mercia (Tim, I think his name was) showed his strength and worked his way back to third place. My legs weren't quite strong enough to go on such an impressive overtaking spree and I only managed to pass about ten people to end up in seventh position on the line, in around 14 minutes, a minute or so slower than the winning time of 13 minutes.

The race was great fun and despite not being able to claim a bottle of wine at the finish, I was still happy. I'll be back next year!
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