News Report 23rd October 2006
Records tumbled at last Saturdays Rhinog Horseshoe fell race in Llanbedr as both the male and female course records were broken in an event which attracted its best ever entry.
Having had 27 finishers in 2004, followed by 48 in 2005, the event organisers were delighted with the turnout which resulted in 63 finishers in the 2006 race.
The 15.5 mile race which included an awesome 5,200 feet of climbing took in the peaks of Rhinog Fawr, Rhinog Fach, Y Llethr and Moelfre before finishing in the village of Llanbedr. Such is the reputation the race has built in fell running circles that Saturdays event formed part of the 6 race Welsh Fell Running Championships as well as one of the 9 races in the North Wales Championship series. As befits a championship event, the calibre of competition proved to be extremely high.
Running the race for the first time was Lloyd Taggart of the Dark Peak club in South Yorkshire. Nationally recognised as one of the top fell runners in the UK, he built up a steady lead to eventually finish the race victorious, and in doing so claiming the 'Sterling Exhaust Shield', in a course record time of 2hrs 50.42mins. A familiar face followed as Steve Gilliland of Bro Dysynni followed up his 5th place in 2005 to claim runners up spot as well as victory in the male over-40 category in 3hrs 00.18mins in the 2006 race.
Having won the ladies race in 2004, Jackie Lee of Eryri Harriers returned to claim victory and the 'Hafod Wen Shield' this year, and in doing so she beat her own female course record by an astonishing 17 minutes as she finished in 3hrs 02.18mins whilst also claimed an amazing 4th place finish in the overall race.
A quartet of Meirionnydd Running Club athletes also took on the tough challenge. Leading home the quartet was Adam Haynes who, despite taking a suspect route choice on the ascent of Arenig Fawr, still finished in 3hrs 20.48mins to finish in 12th position. Tony Hodgson of Llanelltyd knocked over 10 minutes off his 2005 time as he finished in 3hrs 34.43mins whilst both Kevin Evans and Nich Bradley of Dolgellau can be well pleased with their inaugural attempt at the race as they finished in respective times of 4hrs 16.47mins and 4hrs 26.39mins.
As ever, the race organisers were extremely grateful to all who helped out on the day, including the RAYNET team who ensured race communication was excellent as ever, and also to the land owners over whose land the race was run for their ongoing support.