If you've never run the Pen-y-Fan race you're missing a great race. It's not long but it's tough.
I've never run it before and too be honest didn't really expect that much from it. It's only 3.5 miles but has a ton of ascent - 2,000 feet. That's over 500 feet of ascent per mile - that's a lot. Now I've run it I can safely say it's one of my favourites. The organisation was great. Free cake afterwards too. Thumbs up.
I set off mid pack, well down from the head of the race, somewhere between 20th and 30th place. For those that don't know the race basically splits into the 'up' section - and funnily enough - the 'down' section. That's about it really. I chugged away on the runnable climb to the stile. My legs felt pants and I thought I was in for a really bad time. Then I chugged away a bit more until the climb heads into the 'it's legitimate to walk' phase.
I gained a few places on the walk but once I approached the ridge climb my legs started to feel much better and I started to run again - honest, it might not have been quick but I was really running. I managed about two thirds of the climb to Corn Du before I was walking again - legitimate. From the top of CD it's a quick blast off into the dip and up Pen-y-Fan. As per my recce of two weeks ago, I managed to run all the way to top again.
Then it's into the 'down' section - and in this case, down means down. Steep down. I lost one place to one seriously suicidal bloke but gained a few myself. By the time the descent eases things were pretty spread out and then it's just a few minutes of fast, very fast, running to the finish. All down hill - yeah.
I finished in 43:38 and 12th place. I'm pleased with that. My legs feel like someone has been hammering at them with a pickaxe but hopefully they will recover - and hopefully before tomorrow's race. I'll be running Fan-y-Big - chuckle, chuckle - regardless.
Pen-y-Fan Race Route;