So, after the very busy Beastly build up, the weather gods certainly shone on Maenclochog for the ninth full running of the Beast. 24hrs later, and it would have been a different story!!! As it was, there was a carnival feeling in this rural, but bustling North Pembrokeshire village.
So, I have to start by saying a Mahoosive Big THANK YOU to everyone who helped out. The volunteers put soooooooooooo much effort into their roles, with amazing fancy dress costume wearing and enthusiasm from them all. From Mr and Mrs Roberts from Oop North, registration team, top of town band, Tim Plumb/Realtimeracing, hill and roadside marshals, Kev the sweeper, Caffi’r sgwar, Siop Sarah, Gethins cider, Mantle brewery, Princes Gate water, Etts electrical, The Globe, this amazing community, and,………….everyone else involved. Without you, this event wouldn’t be what it is, and certainly wouldn’t have soooooo many positive comments from the competitors!!! DIOLCH o Dalpen i chi gyd/Huge THANK YOU to you all. 😉
A few days before race day I was starting to worry/fret/lose sleep that there wasn’t going to be enough cake. Mrs Roberts kept saying that it’ll be fine, and more than fine it was. 😉 The table was again groaning under the weight of cake. Thanks to all who donated the huge variety of cake. 😉
Then, there’s the runners. The Beast has started to become a bit of a must-do race for many now, with many returning year after year to run the course. However with three different routes on offer, it’s sometimes difficult to choose which one to do. They came from far and wide. They ran, they sweated, they smiled(or was it a grimace!!!), and then they ate cawl and cake! 😜
That King Charles certainly needs a word with however. I mean what a cheek to take the usual Beast day to have his coronation on!!! However, that did mean we had a Bank Holiday weekend, so had the extra day to get over things anyway. 😋 It also made me think about other ideas!!! 😋
So I’ll start with the 11m Beast Bach(BB). This starts 2.5hrs after the other two races, but attracts the most entrants by far. It’s certainly more do-able for most! What made it more interesting this year was the fact that Gancho Slavov( the record holder for the UltrabeasT) ran the Beast Bach, while the current record holder for the BB was running the UltrabeasT!!! Were either of them going for the record??? I certainly knew someone was!
After the briefing, and the now usual hugs all around, the Beast Bach train tore off up through the village before heading off road through the Beasts Lair. 😉 Local Nblr(Nobbler) Ollie Minton has been on great form recently winning a number of local off-road races, and took the win fairly comfortably by some two minutes over Gancho in 2nd in a time of 1hr 25m 26s – so no record breaking so far. However, Nblr teammate Kitty Robinson came romping in fourth overall in a female record breaking 1hr 29m 18s! Huge well done. 😉 Previous records were 1hr 13m for the men, 1hr 31 for the ladies. Aberteifi RC runner David Warren still has a lot of speed left in his legs, as he came in a galloping 3rd overall in a time of 1hr 28m 24. More astounding is that he’s a male vet 60!!! There was some great running done by many, but what I love most, is the fact that this really challenges those that don’t tend to run this far….or on terrain like this. So I love hearing from them what they thought, and what they felt. 😉
Other category winners- Catherine Treble, Westbury harriers- F40; Delyth Crimes, Sarn Helen-F50; Hazel Davies, Emlyn runners- F60. Some runners didn’t carry the mandatory kit so despite some good times weren’t officially placed. Hence why Dylan Davies, Amman Valley harriers took the M40.
The 24m Preseli Beast(PB), and 32m UltrabeasT(UB)) sets off at 10am, and there was a record number of entrants. 69 PB, and 41 UB runners. MDC runner, Matt O Keefe was running the PB, and out of the entrants I knew, I had him down to win. With the What’s app updates from the marshals out on the course, he was clearly leading this one, and by the time he finished, he was 30minutes ahead of second!!! However, he was still some 30minutes slower than the course record! I truly think this record will stick for a very long time.
The M40 class was strong, with 4 runners in the first 5 home! Just goes to show that you often get better at the longer distances as you get older.
First overall female back was Amman Valley runner, Clara Davies in a time of 4hrs 16m 19 seconds. She too was a F40 runner.
Other category winners were Ben Jones CDF runners-OM; Paul Beeson, Maldwyn runners-M50; Derek Spear, Run4All Neath- M60; Cassie JONES, CDF runners-OF; Jenny Heming, Eryri- F50; Deb Parr, Pembs harriers- F60.
Now for the 32m UltrabeasT. More than a few of us were eager to see how this one was going to pan out. Peter Bray, the current record holder for the BB, and PB, was back and hungry for another scalping of the Beast! He led from the start, dropping two others after about mile 1! But could he keep up this extremely hot pace???? A few updates on the Whatsapp group got the marshals rushing to get into position earlier as he was again pushing the timings. He barely stopped at the aid stations and seemed to have a rocket stuck up his a**e! 😛 But there was still the fact of running out on the eastern side of the Preselis, where the ground can be quite savage if you take the wrong lines! However, the update from the marshals on Carn Alw, and on Foel Drygarn was that he was still flying! Only the matter of running back along the golden road, up onto Cwmcerwyn, and then it’s nearly 3 miles of downhill. With Sarah’s buggy bleating her horn to let us know that the leaders of each race were coming in, we knew he was going to totally obliterate the record. It was a whopping 42mins quicker in fact. That’s more than a minute a mile! Truly outstanding! So for the first time ever, the same male has the record for all three distances. Could that happen in the female category I wonder??? 😋
Other category winners. Richard Jackson-M40 4th overall; Balazs Pinter, Aber AC-M50 6th overall: and the machine Dave Powell, Aber AC-M60 5th overall.
The female race was pretty exciting too. I recognized a few entrants’ names, but also knew local lass F40 Tasha Sexton had been training hard. When she crossed the line first, she had given everything. I and loads of other were so chuffed for her, especially as she came in at 5hrs 54m 29s. 😉 MDC runner Katie Ironside was first OF lady in 6hrs 1m 17s. Another local lady Helen Platel took the F50 category in 6hrs 52m 1s; whilst we didn’t have any F60 entrants. Well done all who ran this one. It takes no prisoners!!! Great to see some old faces in this one, especially my mate Little Dave, who had his own ‘supporters’ group out on the course! 😋 Good to see a few runners stepping up to this one from having done either of the other routes in the past. Da iawn. 😉
There was a special coronation prize giving ceremony this year. I’d come up with the idea of donning on a ‘crown’ and ‘royal gown’ on the overall male and female winner of each race, together with catagory winners either side. Well, it made many laugh. 😋 There was an extra special prize to Peter Bray too. I’d come up with the ‘Triple Crown’ award idea when thinking that he would deserve such an award should he take the record for all three distances. I have to thank Owen Davies of OED for not only making all the awards, but especially this special award with 36hrs notice! 😋 Diolch Owen, and well done Peter. 😉
Category winners all received a trophy, and a bottle of either Gethins’ cider, or Mantle brewery ale to rehydrate! 😋
Diolch i Pretty platters, and Llaeth Preseli Milk and Gelato for the mobile pop-up vans. 😉
Ok, so I’m going to mention the only downer of the day, which was in the Beast Bach. Runners running with no kit! I’d emailed, put a notice in front of registration, and shouted it out before kit check was carried out. However, some runners decided to try and sneak around the back, and got in! The race insurance stipulates that runners must carry kit required and decided by the race organiser. Luckily nothing happened, but that’s not the reason for not carrying kit. You’re just cheating everyone else, including yourself. It puts yourself, others, and myself at risk. So please please please, bring kit with you to my races next time. As it was I had a very good volunteer marking your number down on the finish line and the very reason you didn’t get in the prize giving. I’ve also got to re-do the final results, and this will be rectified. This sounds harsh, but no it, no result.
Back to it. I know it’s slightly wrong of me to highlight some people, but there are certainly some that need it. James G and Carz the plait for marking out some of the course, in pretty horrible conditions! Mr and Mrs Roberts from Oop North travelled down from Lancaster on Thursday, and didn’t stop whilst here. They’ve come down every year, and although they love it, it’s still a huge commitment, and pretty tiring given that they’re in their 70’s! After helping clear up the final things on Tuesday morning, they headed back up North. Diolch. 😉 Then finally there’s Rachel, Carolyn, Rhyds and the Boys. Rachel is so supportive and sorts a lot of the admin stuff out and keeps track of race day stuff, and people. Carz and the boys did a lot of running around getting last minute stuff, as well as giving me a hand to mark the course. 😉 xx
So, onto next year!!! 😋 Well, I’ve already announced that because it’s going to be the 10th anniversary of the full Beast, we’re adding in a ‘little extra hill’ known as the WoD(Wall of Death!!!), onto the BB and PB route. There will be no UB, but we will make a mini Beast, which won’t be that mini, and will also take in the WoD! Oh, joy of joys. 😋 I can’t quite decide if it’s going to be back on the Sat, or stay on the Sunday???
And before I sign off completely, there are still some other lower key races I organise, without the carnival feel of it all. Cheap to enter, but you still get tea and cake at the end. 😉
Next up is the Preseli DipDab- June 25th. A 4hr Orienteering score event where you’ll only get the map on the start line, and have 4hrs to find as many checkpoints as you can!
The short 3.5mile Carn Ingli Killer race- Tuesday eve 18th July, from Newport. Beast route up, across, and back down. Simple right? 😋 Marked route.
The 7mile Ras y Cerrig Las- Sun August 6th. A 7mile fell race taking in much of the eastern UB loop. Marked route.
And finally, the well established Ras Beca- August 19th. A 5.5mile fell race starting from near Crosswell. Marked route.
Link to all races page. The Races – The Preseli Beast.
Some facts- 300 runners took part. Some 65 volunteers helped out. Muchios cake was eaten. Many miles were ran. Muchios beer was drunk in the Globe that night!!! 😋 Till next year.
Pps. One thing I totally forgot to mention, was Ticks!!! Check your legs, even up into your nether regions for these pesky blighters! You can use tweezers to try removing them, but it’s worth buying a simple tick remover. That’s all I’m saying. 😋 WARNING: The Most Horrific Tick Infestations – Bing video
Photos will be attached at some poijt, but most will be on the Beast fb page soon. 😉