Despite it being a 340mile trip each way a resilient Devon men’s fell team turned out for the Intercounties race at Llanberis, The route was going to be testing only 11.4k but with 700m of ascent in the first 3,5k and the top runners from most counties. But as shown at the Devon trial race we had come to compete!
The start had over 300 runners with Intercounties and Open race combined. Ceri Rees (Wild Running) and Sam Dellar (TAC) our front 2 runners were not far behind the leaders for the unrelenting first big climb. Key fact – eventual course winner took 4 mins out of the rest of the field on the the first big climb ( heart , lungs and lactic!), Awesome stuff after a 6.5 hour car journey.
Adam Holland TAC) and last years Dartmoor Fell Series overall winner was next up the hill , playing a canny game to not overstretch on the hill and build pace through the course. Minimal kit was required wind cover and map and compass and whistle. Sorry to Jamie Frost our U20 from EVH in the race missed your photo in the melee.
Next Simon Allen also TAC and Dartmoor runners knowing what to expect having recce’d the course 2 days previous.
Conditions were fab, because of the lack of rain no real boggy bits just bouncy grass and moss and a good breeze on the ridge but hot about 17 degrees. Here are a few of the teams best bits and toughest bits.
How it felt
Simon– Friendly atmosphere combined with hugely talented runners. Toughest- the long long bridle way to come off the hills . Ceri – the route is a belter – mini horseshoe with a leg deadening climb to a 750m crest and a long not too technical descent – great views out to sea!
Adam– Honour to represent County at such an amazing location. the views were amazing. Hardest bit- the first hill should have started further up and then trying to keep running even up the very steep hills. Jamie – best views out to the coast from the first peak awesome. Hardest – futile attempt to keep up with Adam on the downhills!
And lastly from Sam – best bit- battling up the first ascent against other racers, having a back and forth, depending on how runnable it was. Toughest – super hot when climbing, made you think about damage control, not tipping over the line to ensure a strong whole race.
The event was won by an astonishing performance by Chris Richard’s Cumbria – taking 4 mins off the course record and climbing 7 mins faster than most other leading runners. With him and another runner gaining GB selection.
First in for Devon _ Sam in 55 mins ,followed by Adam who took three places in last 200 yds, then Ceri, 2 places later Simon and a few more then Jamie. A really tight team performance resulting in Devon gaining 9th overall place. Even beating Lancashire, Cheshire and all Scotland team, in the 21 team competition.
Overall brilliant team performance by some great runners and we now have a few ‘up north’ team managers rattled! Next year we will try to make sure we have ladies team too.
Thanks for reading – ‘see you on the hills’ -Richard Best -Team manager