Ras yr Aran

Glorious sunshine prevailed to greet the 200 athletes who travelled to Llanuwchllyn last Saturday afternoon to take part in the Aran Lamb sponsored Ras Yr Aran, with the event having been chosen to host the Welsh leg of the 4 race 2011 British Fell Running Championships. With the race having been given Championship status, the calibre of the competition was excellent, a fact proven by a number of age category records being broken on the day as well as the overall race record within both the male and female categories.

Our own Tom Jones reaching the summit of Aran Fawddwy at Ras Yr Aran. Ymdrech gwych Tom!

Facing the competitors who lined up at the start in Llanuwchllyn was a 10 mile challenge to the peak of Aran Fawddwy and back to Llanuwchllyn, a course which included an overall 3,100 feet of climbing.

With competitors having travelled from all four home nations to take part in the event, the pace set in the early stages of the race was punishing with Morgan Donnelly of Borrowdale building up an early lead, a lead he was not going to relinquish, as he clung on to victory in a course record time of 1hr 22.55mins, slicing a total of 31 seconds off the previous course record. A similar pattern emerged in the ladies race as Philippa Madams of Keswick led from the off and eventually claimed victory in the female category in a time of 1hr 39.08mins, beating the previous female course record by a staggering 2 minutes and 6 seconds.

The race also attracted a strong core of locally affiliated competitors. The 11 locally affiliated athletes in action were led home by Ifan Richards of Brithdir, the Meirionnydd R.C. athlete claiming an overall 19th spot in the final results in a time of 1hr 29.53mins. A further trio of Meirionnydd athletes followed in the guise of Mark Atherton of Llan Ffestiniog, home in a time of 1hr 44.27mins, with the Dolgellau-based duo of Adam Preston and Kevin Jones following in respective times of 1hr 47.04mins & 1hr 50.29mins. The sole Bro Dysynni athlete in action was Tom Jones of Aberdyfi, home in an impressive 1hr 56.52mins and he, in turn, was followed by a further six athletes affiliated to Meirionnydd RC. These were led home by Dylan Evans of Bryncrug in a time of 2hrs 01.50mins with Dave Whittey of Llanelltyd following in 2hrs 05.04mins. The Dolgellau-based trio of Arfon Hughes, Nich Bradley & Juliet Edwards then followed in respective times of 2hrs 09.41mins, 2hrs 10.19mins & 2hrs 11.09mins with Kevin Evans of Brithdir completing the locally affiliated turnout, crossing the line in a time of 2hrs 23.15mins.


Morgan Donnelly setting a new course record at Ras Yr Aran       Arfon Hughes of Dolgellau in action at Ras Yr Aran last Saturday afternoon

Also being run last Saturday afternoon was Ras Foel Y Gocyn which formed part of the festivities of Bryncrug Carnival Day. Leading home the field in the 4 mile hill race was Dewi Roberts of Blaenau Ffestiniog, the Bro Dysynni athlete victorious in a time of 30.46mins. Runners-up spot was claimed by Ricky Francis of Talyllyn, the Meirionnydd RC athlete home in a time of 34.49mins. There were also notable performances in the junior ranks, with Tom Farrell of Bryncrug claiming victory within the junior male category in a time of 36.59mins with Dafydd Bryan of Abergynolwyn claiming victory in the under-12 category in 53.03mins. A close finish saw Brenda Jones of Llanelltyd victorious in the ladies race, the Bro Dysynni athlete home in a time of 53.05mins, one second ahead of club colleague, Marit Evans of Dolgellau who followed in 53.06mins.