The 2024 Beastly write up.

Well, what can I say??? Mmm, I’m not sure where to begin… Let’s start with the WoD.

I first discovered part of the WoD a few years ago. I’d come running to the quarry half way up from the Rosebush side a few times and even put that top steep section into the Ras Cwmcerwyn race a few years back. I then found a different way down to what I thought was the bottom, and used to do that……. for training! However, the descent down was initially pretty rough, and far too rough for most peeps. Then I found a better way down to the actual bottom where I used the lumpy tussock as the landmark for the bottom of the WoD.  Oh joy! During covid, I used this new WoD route climb as a way of getting 10,000ft in the shortest amount of distance as possible. 12 reps in one go was all it took!!!!! (My sanity was questioned a few times!)

So, a route had been set. I took a few locals out and showed them the way of the WoD. This then became a bit of a favourite amongst a few of us, especially as there was now a strava segment up it too! Some even took to making the WoD stick, and it also had the odd dance around it! Lol.

So, the 10th Anniversary Beast. Where have those years gone to eh? It seemed like a different Beast back then; the start was actually ½ mile out of the village and we had 112 runners in the Beast and Beast Bach combined. One of the runners who took part in that inaugural event (Little Dave) said that this race was one of the best he’d done and would go from strength to strength. How right he was.

The question that had been going through my mind for a long time was how could I add the WoD to the Beast, and what would people think of it? As a fell runner, hills like these aren’t ‘abnormal’ and so while some of you might think it’s crazy, there are loads of fell races with bigger climbs! However, the addition of it to the Beast would certainly put some folk out of their comfort zone, especially as it’s towards the end!!! With this being a special year, then why heck not?

So I included the WoD in all races as a present to you all, and myself. I think the Twt route will avoid the WoD in future and go up to Cwmcerwyn the normal route but will continue to be included in both other distances. As promised there will be an online poll to see what the participants think so watch this space…

Ok, that’s probably enough about the WoD for now.

The build up to the Beast starts quite a few months before the event really. What started as the two of us putting on a race has developed into an event that really does take a whole community to make it a success. So I’m going to explain a bit of the various parts and say some thank yous.  Pretty much after one race has finished we have to work out if we’re going to do merchandise, and what designs are we going to do/make for the next one. I’m really fortunate to have a very talented wife so most of that is down to her. Our daughter, Carolyn (Carz the Plait), her hubby Rhyds, and our grandsons also play a part in lots of the planning and designing, so a big huge thanks to them too. This year there were new flags to design and approve, new T-shirts, and new buffs! Another person who has played a big part this year, is Mr Tim Plumb. He’s designed new timing boxes for key locations. This then avoids the route marshals to having to write down runners’ numbers and times. This is particularly helpful when the two routes converge and there are runners coming from different directions! Tim also did the online registration tool, and the results. So thank you Tim. The results also show split times between the sections, which is great if you want to see how you got on.

Valero kindly sponsored the Beast for its inaugural event, and now the Beast was 10, it ideally needed some more kit. So thank you for sponsoring new flags (which were really helpful to see where the top of the WoD was!!!!!!), and new tables. Diolch. We decided to do Tshirts this year, and to aid promotion, we’d asked some local businesses if they’d like the opportunity to have their names on the back of the Tshirts. Thank you muchly to(in no particular order) Caffi’r Sgawr, Pretty Platters, The Globe, Young Bros, Running Free, Rock & Dough, Valero, and Etts electrical. Etts also sponsored the race numbers, which they have done now for many years. Thank you all. 😉

Trophies were sponsored by Stopio; Fir club; Hains & Lewis; Golden Road gin; Clive & Sian Rees; and Danclawdd cottage. Diolch yn fawr I chi gyd.

Trophies and coaster were all made locally by Owed Davies(OED woodturning). 😉

Thank you to Siop Sarah, for many things, including driving her Beastly buggy like a crazy fool up and down the village; and to Arfryn dairies for donating the milk for hot wets. 😉

The locally made Gethin’s cider was donated as extra prizes by Gethin from the village. 😉   

The cake makers! Huge thanks to everyone who made and brought the humongous amount of cake. You’re all absolute diamonds. The cake table was again groaning under it’s weight of cake. 😉

Thanks to the hard working cawl crew at Caffi’r Sgwar who supplied the runners and also kept many supporters fed and watered. Thanks too to The Globe, Pretty Platters, and Llaeth Preseli for supplying their various forms of goodiness. 😉

Now for The Beastly volunteers! What can I really say about the humongous army of volunteers that hasn’t been said by many of you runners before. They are totally amazing and brilliant, and the whole event could not go ahead without them! They usually amaze me most years, but this year they’ve blown me away by everything they did. There were some amazing costumes, brilliant bit of thinking on the spot, the top of town band were there as usual…immense, the cracking registration and finishing team, tea and coffee crew, fantastic marshals out on the course, and most of them did some really long stints! I love them all. And as for this brilliant village? Waw, what can I say??? I unfortunately didn’t get a chance to feel and see what the villagers were doing, but some of the videos I’ve seen are superb. Diolch o dalpen pawb. Xx

Mr and Mrs Roberts from the north are notable persons I also have to mention. They travel down from Lancaster specifically to help. They arrive on the Thurs, get stuck in straight away, and don’t stop until they leave on Monday morning. Mrs Roberts also makes a small mountain of cake too! Diolch both.

And lastly, but certainly not least, (mainly as they were sweeping at the back anyway), Sam and Rich. For those who don’t know, the ‘sweeper’ is a runner who follows the back of the running pack and ensures that we know all the runners have come in off the course.They also doing a sterling job of collecting all the markers and signs! They had entered into the Beast a while ago, and because they have entered into a 100miler in June, they’d decided to run a back-to-back Beast! They had planned on running a Beast on the Friday, and on race day! On Friday they’d also agreed to mark the Newport sections of the route, with Mr Tim Plumb, and I’d agreed to meet them at Sychpant, and Newport to give them some sustenance, and the markers. Whilst at Newport Sam said that he might sweep for me on Beast day, but I’d turned round and said that I already had a sweeper. However, just after they’d left, I had a message to say that my original sweeper wasn’t well enough to sweep. No worries I thought, Sam and Rich have just volunteered themselves!!! So when they finally  finished back in the shire, I asked them, and they kindly agreed. 😉 Thanks both.  

And now for the actual races. Not a lot to say really!!! Joking. Firstly, weren’t we lucky with the weather???? A really wet winter was starting to worry me somewhat. What if the wet weather was going to last until Beasty day???? I’d asked all my volunteers to keep their fingers and toes crossed for the week before and on the day, and so it did! It makes a huge difference to the event, and the Green looked like a small carnival!

Ok, back on to the race. Thank you to the WFRA Welsh and South Wales Race Championships selectors for nominating the Preseli Beast into their champs counters. It made for a very fast and interesting race. The 24miler went off just after 10am, where everyone kindly held a few moments of silence with me for much missed friend and fellow runner Mark Beasley ( Beaso), and local farmer Dilwyn Vaughan (Beast route runs through their farm) who had passed away recently. It was a touching moment just before both races started. Thank you. xx

Daniel Donnelly left the crowd right from the start, and was pulling away by the time he’d reached the top of the village. I hadn’t really clocked his name on the entry list, so it was anyone’s race I thought. He finished in 3hrs 37mins. Another surprise and shocker of an entry was realising until near to the end that UK Skyrunner, Holly Page, had entered and was running! Quite a lot of the team had no idea of who she was, but I’ve read about many of her successes in the UK as well as overseas! She’d been running a sensible race until Newport where she was 6th overall, and then started using the men in front of her who had sprinted off to pull back through the field as the race went on. When I heard she was second overall at the bottom of the WoD, I was blown away that she was even here!!! She flew up the WoD, and back to the finish to keep hold of second overall in 3:53:22. I believe that’s the highest ranked female finisher in the Beast ever! Awesome! 😉 I quizzed her afterwards on what she thought of the race/event, and she said it was utterly awesome. 😉 Overall winner Daniel was pretty stoked about the race/ route/event too, and was really chuffed with his win. Alistair Burleigh had a great run and took MV40 win and third overall in 4:01:59, whilst 1st local home was Nblr Ollie Minton, 6th overall in 4:12:14. Jez Brown(who has came 2nd overall previously) also ran a fantastic race to take the MV50 trophy and 7th overall in 4:12:59.

Mynydd Du lass Rhian Probert is having a good season and took 1st FV50 and 16th overall in 4:30:15, whilst John Langton was just behind her taking the MV60 trophy in 4:34:51. Claire Prosser took the FV40 trophy in 4:54:00 and 28th overall. Local ‘Clochog lad James Greenhalgh ran a great race to be 2nd MV50 in a time of 4:43:34. Not bad considering he’s had a new hip! Aber AC runner Karen Kenish took home the FV60 trophy in a 5:54:33, and was 74th overall.

I know I should never name favourite people, but I just have to mention the ‘Big guy’, Little Dave. There’s only one Beast he’s missed, and always puts in his all. The weekend before the Beast he’d run the GL3D’s(3 days of running in the Lakes!) ‘Adventure’ class, and was one of only two runners who had managed to get around to visiting ‘all’ the checkpoints out on the course!!! He ran the Beast nursing a poorly ankle, and still finished a very credible 27th overall in 4:53:58!!! Boom!

Ok, now for the Beast Bach. This was hotly contested between local lad Ed Clements and Jacob Tasker, with Ogmore Phoenix runner Jacob taking the win in 1:27:23. Very good going considering they also had the WoD to do! Ed finished in 1:29:35. The remarkable Cardigan RC runner David Warren ran a stormer of a race in 1:42:35 to finish 4th overall…..and take the MV60 trophy!!! Boom! Well done young man. Current King of the WoD strava segment is Ed Morris, who finished 5th. Pembs harriers Roscoe Howell won the MV40 trophy in 1:47:02 and was 6th overall. Brynberian lad Chris Welton was 14th and took the MV50 trophy in 2:01:10, whilst Rowan Saxton was right behind him and took the u23 win in 2:01:31. First female overall in 17th position was Catrin Donnelly in 2:02:40. Local lass Lottie Chant ran a great race to come 25th and take the FV40 title in 2:08:33, whilst Sarn Helen runner Delyth Crimes was 38th in 2:17:59 to take the FV50 win. The remarkable Neil Owen was 45th in a time of 2:22:14, and took home the MV70 trophy! The legendary Wasdale wombler Lindsay Buck had made a special trip to the Preselis and scurried away away with the FV60 trophy in 2:25:28 and 52nd overall. She was closely followed by 2nd FV60 Flora Gunner in 2:26:52 and 57th. Another notable person I have to mention, is MV60 legend, Lenny the lion. He’d had a massive heart attack a few weeks ago, had 4 stents fitted, and here he was running the Beast Bach in 2:27:48!!! Eryri Harrier Maggie Oliver ran a great race considering she’s in her 70s, and was 213th in 3:33:17. Out of the 255 starters, 244 finished the race correctly! Unfortunately some runners again did not carry the mandatory kit, even though there was a kit check at the start. So some of those who did run and finished were DQ’d!. If you want to complain, then please contact the WFRA, as it is under their rules and guidance that this race is insured under. Some of you may probably run in the hills with no kit, but please consider what would happen to you should you injure yourself severely that you’re unable to move for several hours!!!! This was mentioned several times on my website, emails, and kit check!

Ok, what’s more to say, apart from a huge thank you to each and every one of you. For taking the time to enter, travel, and make this event what it is. Diolch.

Some fun facts. There was probably more cake made and consumed here than at most cake fayres! I’m pretty confident in saying that there were more fancy dressed marshals here than on any other fell races. Where else would you find a lobster, and the Carn Ingli pirate to name a few.

Where else would you find 34 quirky fun signs out on the course of a fell race?

Where else would you get to hug three others on a start line?

There were 67 marshals on the whats app group, and not everyone was on there!

It was the most finishers to date.

Is the WoD the biggest climb in the Preselis? No, but it’s probably the hardest… most of you have found out! Lol Will be in again???

Furthest travelled? The Dutch contingent from Holland I believe! Thank you.

So that’s about it. As for the rest of the year??? Next up is the DipDab on Sat 22nd June. This is a 4hr orienteering type event, where you have up to 4hrs to try and collect as many points as possible by using the map that you get given on the start line.

Then there’s the Carn Ingli Killer on Thursday 18th July. A 5k run in the(Pembs National) park. Not your average ‘park’ run! Enter on the night for 3 whole pounds!

Ras Y Cerrig Glas is on Sun 4th Aug. A 7miler on a beautiful course. Includes a 0.5, and 1mile route for kids.

The legendary historic Ras Beca race in Sat 17th Aug, again with kids races.

And then finally to the Brussel Buster. This is a fun 2hr score orienteering event at night usually held between Christmas and the New year. Date to be confirmed. These races can be found under races on the Preseli Beast website. Just don’t expect it to be the same as the Beast!

I will add a link here soon for a print out of results.

Should have mentioned it before now, but PLEASE CHECK YOUR BODY FOR TICKS!!!

Diolch o dalpen/Thanks in heaps, and huge hugs to you all. xx 

Ps- Thanks for taking the time to write such lovely comments on social media, and in the Beastly book. 😉😉😉 xx

Pps- If I’ve missed you out from this write up, then I’m really sorry! xx

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