Sunday, November 16, 2014

Double Fail..

That is, I didn't do the double in the end...

The day started at Usk with the Leisure Centre League Cross Country. It was, quite literally, running around a couple of muddy fields a few times - despite that, I quite enjoyed it! - Going to have to nip that in the bud sharpish...

Then, as soon as I finished I hopped in the car and drove to a layby off the A4067 for the Gyhirych Grind - ooh, matron. Turns out I didn't do the double after all. Instead, Andy B, a marshal down, I stepped into the frame, donned my marshal star and headed up to Fan Fraith.

It was proper good weather for it. The mist was down to 450m altitude. Wasn't so perfect for a marshal to find one of the most featureless summits in the world though. Despite being a short it would've been really fun to race it - but not for me today. My legs were dead on the climb so I'm quite glad I volunteered instead.

Half way up the climb to Fan Gyhirych, I began to think I might've left it too late to head to my marshalling point! With the race starting at 14:00 I eventually reached check-point one, FG trig-point, at 14:05. I knew I didn't have any faffing time in finding the indistinct summit of Fan Fraith.

As I headed across the ground between the track and the summit I made a change of route to ensure I hit the summit in one, I headed north for about 200-250m before resuming the bearing to hit the northern end of the summit 'plateau' and then followed it south and into the summit - and the five small pebbles that mark the spot... With visibility down to 50m I felt that was the safest way to guarantee I found it in one. Would've been pretty embarrassing for the summit marshal not to find the summit!

After counting 8 of the 11 runners through in under thirty minutes I began to worry a little by 45 minutes and then decided to abort at 55 minutes, with the assumption that anyone still out there was no longer going to attempt to continue the race and just head back instead. Not to mention I was beginning to get cold, stood in the middle of nowhere, in the drizzle for close to 45 minutes.

I soon warmed up and got back down without any issues and everyone was back down and safe. It's a shame only eleven turned up but I think people get put off when there's a requirement to use a map and compass - not just carry it for effect. For me that's what proper fell running is all about - using the compass not carrying it for effect - so I hope Andy holds the race again and I hope a few more people learn to use their compass and feel confident enough to use it. For certain you needed to know how to use it today... Good race.

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