Well, what does a massive bee, a human-sized traffic cone, an accordion playing dragon, a cutlass wielding pirate, and the top of town band all have in common? Well, it’s the Resurrection of the Preseli Beast races of course! And these were just some of the marshals out on the course!!!
So, where does one start to write about this one???? A long two-year wait due to some bug going around and it’s finally back. It seems a long time ago now since the last proper one, and in that time there’s been lots of ups, and lots of downs! To be truthful, I wasn’t really looking forward to organising another Beast! I’d got used to it not being there, and the trouble and thinking I go through. BUT, now it’s come and gone, I’m glad I/we did it.
Before I talk about any of the races, I have to say a huge thanks to my family and close friends. You have stuck by me through thick and thin.
Then there’s those who have helped pre-Beast. Sorting out marshals and helping marking various sections of the course. I really couldn’t have done it without you.
The arrival of Mr and Mrs Roberts who travel down each year from Lancaster, just to help out!
Just prior to the race starting, I loved seeing photos of some of the marshals who had dressed up on the What’s app page! The army of volunteers are just amazing, and they’re simply the Best. They give up their time and energy to help make the Beast what it is. A huge Thanks to you all.
I also can’t thank tech whizz kid Tim Plumb enough for helping with the entry page, timing system, registration tool, and results page. Cheers Tim. Everything was a lot easier this year.
Then there’s Sarah in her Beastly buggy. Racing up and down the village. Leading the runners out, and then the first runners back in! Gives us a great warning.
Then there’s all the people who made and brought the mountain of CAKE! There was so much choice, and it was well scrummy…..so the runners said! 😉
There’s the top of Town band(mainly Shelley). She must have arms of steel, as she was banging on them drums for the runners going, and on their return!!! 😉
Siop Sarah, for the printing, and bananas. 😉
Etts electrical for sponsoring the race numbers.
Owen Davies(OED) for engraving the ‘leftover’ oak floorboards we used as trophies. 😊
Princes Gate water, for the water at the end.
And the whole village of Maenclochog for embracing the Beast. 😉
So, the races. We had a record number of pre entered runners for all races, but for some reason, many of whom couldn’t make it to the start line. Saying that, 31 UltrabeasT, and 53 Preseli Beast runners toe’d the line. Just prior to the start we held a quick race briefing, which involved a minute’s silence for those not with us. One of these in my mind was stalwart volunteers, Rose Eynon. She would always be out the front of Siop Sarah banging her drum and smiling. So it was lovely seeing a photo of her sister Ida doing the same!
So, the starting gun went, and one runner in particular. No 445 was Peter Bray and was up at the top of the village in a flash and way ahead of the rest of the field within minutes. I soon heard that he had been quizzing what the current PB record was! Peter had smashed the Beast Bach record a few years ago, and it seemed he wanted another scalp under his belt. He did not disappoint. He caught many of the marshals out and was up on the usual times the first runners would usually arrive. My worry now had changed to ‘Is he going to meet the tail end of the Beast Bach runners????’ Well, Yes, he did! However, it couldn’t have slowed him up much as he was belting it back down through the village and even caught Sarah in her buggy and us out at the finish line!!! He smashed the old course record by some 8 minutes, to be the first ever (super)human to run under 3hrs! 2hrs, 56mins, 33 secs in fact. A new course record, which will take a lot of beating I think! This is also made more phenomenal as the course has changed a little this year, and is actually slightly longer! Way to go Peter. Look forward to seeing what you can do on the UltrabeasT now!!! 😛
It was a while before the second runner crossed the line, and it was local Ian Streeter who was second OM. 3rd OM was another local, Rhys Harries. 1st Female and 4th overall was local Kitty Robinson who finished in 4hrs 2mins 24s. This is Peter Bray’s sister, so the running gene obviously runs through the family! 😉 1st M40 was MDC runner Sam Ryall in 4hrs 08mins, whilst his team mate Simon Darke took M60 honours in a great time of 4hrs 24min. Local runner and regular Beaster Huw Davies was first M50. Local lass Pip Welton who was super nervous before starting, smashed her way round to finish in 4hrs 38mins to take the F50 trophy. The F40 win went to another local, Tash Sexton. We had a few Ultra runners change down to the PB route just prior to Foel Feddau, but this did not alter any of the results.
In the UltrabeasT, locals Sanna Duthie and Mike Monroe ran together for much of the route, but it was little powerhouse Sanna who took the overall win by some 4mins over MIke in a time of 5hrs 44mins! Sanna smashed the previous female record by some 11mins! Amazing, especially as there were no markers at all out that Ultra loop! 😉 Dan Jewell was 2nd male, whose parents live in the village. 😉 Another outstanding performance was by Aber AC runner, Dave ‘The Terminator’ Powell who was 1st M60 and 4th overall in 6hrs 4mins!!! Dave has been coming to the Beast for many a year, and always puts on a strong performance. 1st M40 and 5th overall was local Richard Simpson in 6hrs 17mins. Whilst another Aber AC runner Balaz Pinter took the M50 trophy in a time of 6hrs 30mins. It was yet another Aber AC runner in the form of Louise Barker who took home the F40 trophy in 6hrs 54mins. We didn’t have any F50 or F60 ladies compete this year.
Local Maenclochog boy Kevin Davies ran his first UltrabeasT this year. Kevin was one of my volunteers for a few years. He was inspired to don some daps and get out running. He took part in the BB, before moving up to the PB successfully. As he said, he’s not getting any younger, so wanted to have a bash at the UB before he gets too old. It’s stories like this that made me do the Beast, and I was so happy to see him finish within the cut off time. Da iawn Kev. I bet that beer tasted sweet afterwards. 😉
And so the Beast Bach. Some 153 runners toe’d the line for this one. There were definitely some of regular faces in this one, and some of the speedy ones were back again. Regular speedster Mark Horsman beat the rest of the field home in 1hr 24min, and was also 1st M40! He was so happy to finally win the BB outright after trying so hard the last few years and coming in the top 5 on numerous times. Hot on his heels was newby Steffan Davies from Carmarthen Harriers. One to look out for I think. Local Steve Williams was 1st M50, just ahead of his rival M50 Alec Williams. Mercia runner Glen Davies took 1st M60 spot, in 19th position overall!
In the female category, Sarn Helen runner Dee Jolly took top honours again being 1st OF in 1hr 38mins and 19th overall, whilst her team mate Lou Summers took 1st F50 in 1hr 50min. She was closely followed by F40 winner Clare Harris in 1hr 51min Lon Morgan took home the F60 trophy.
Having everything on the village green seemed to go really nicely for everyone, and it was really nice for the volunteers and runners alike to sit and watch runners coming in. It may have been too convenient to the Globe Inn as some were re-hydrating pretty well in no time at all!!!
After the runners had finished they were treated to scrummy cawl made by Caffi’r sgwar. Thank you.
Also outside the Globe later on was the mobile Pretty Platters, who made delicious hot food. Nice.
It was so lovely seeing some old, and new faces at the Beast this year. Thanks for coming, and for some of your kind comments that you’ve taken F50 winner he time to write.
Lastly, this write-up wouldn’t be complete without mentioning a close friend of ours who passed away just a few days after the Beast.
Dear Wynn Cliff was a huge part of the Beast, and in fact it was her and her late husband Steve who were inspirational in getting the Beast underway in the first place! They organised the Anniversary Waltz, and the Teenager with Altitude in the Lake District. I remember Steve coming down the night before our first race, and getting straight into sorting the spreadsheets out as I’d not done it right! Wynn was the calm one who made sure all were fed and watered, and knew how to sort out registration. I first met Wynn a few years previous to that, in a very remote car park at the bottom of the Roman Steps at around 4am! We were there to support a certain Rob Woodhall on his Meirionydd round. She calmly got out of the car and said you must be Caz. She proceeded to get out all manner of cooking equipment and got a brew on and cooked some porridge! She later catered on road support on my Paddy Buckley, Bob Graham, and Meirionydd rounds. 😉 She, and Steve, became dear friends to both Rachel and myself. You will be sorely missed Wynnie pegs.
If these last couple of years have reinforced anything, it’s to cherish each other. So, the Beast has been finally resurrected. Runners came, they ran, they were cheered, then they returned. A huge thanks to you all for everything, marshals, supporters, and runners alike.
So the Beast isn’t just a race anymore, it’s started to become a bit of an institution to attend by many of the regulars. I was however very sad to hear before race day that the man usually dressed in a pink tutu couldn’t come this year. He’d come down with the dreaded Cov just prior to the day, and so he missed the only Beast to date. Little Dave attended the first ever Beast in 2013 and each year afterwards. You were very much missed Big man.
Caz the Hat.
Ps- Don’t forget, that I also organise other races too! 😉
Next one is the Preseli DipDab on Sat June 25th at 10am. A 6, 10, or 17mile(approx) orienteering type event. The Long is a counter in the South Wales fell running champs series!
Carn Ingli Killer- A 3.5mile (park)run! Tuesday 19th July at 7pm.
Cerrig Glas- A 7mile run on Sunday 7th August.
All the above details can be found on https://preselibeast.com/races/