News Report 24th March 2008


Gale force winds and icy conditions greeted the competitors who braved the elements in order to take part in the 5th annual running of the 'Organic Aran Lamb' sponsored Ras Yr Aran Fell Race which was held last Saturday afternoon in Llanuwchllyn. Indeed, such was the severity of the conditions, the race organisers were left with no option but to shorten the original 10 mile course to a shorter, 7 mile event due to the adverse conditions on higher grounds.


Undeterred by the conditions, the race attracted a record entry of 115 competitors to an event which steadily increases in popularity from year-to-year. Winning the race in 2008, at his first attempt over the course was Welsh International fell runner, Tim Davies (Mercia Fell Runners), who completed the 7 mile event in a time of 58.16mins, one of only three competitors to come home in under the hour mark. The first of the local competitors to finish was seasoned campaigner, Steve Gilliland (Bro Dysynni A.C.), in a time of 1hr 03.46mins which was good enough to claim a 6th place finish overall for the Tywyn-based athlete.


The first lady finisher followed, as Helen Fines (Calder Valley Fell Runners) made the journey down to North Wales from her Halifax base worthwhile, as a time of 1hr 06.22mins ensured victory in the female category by a clear 7 minutes.


Dave Whittey of Llanelltyd was the first Meirionydd Running Club athlete home, in a time of 1hr 19.40mins with club-colleague, Tony Hodgson of Porthmadog, continuing his comeback after a lengthy injury lay-off, following home in 1hr 23.20mins. Richard Griffiths (Bro Dysynni A.C.) of Tywyn turned in an impressive performance as he came home in 1hr 26.35mins, on this occasion gaining the upper-hand over Nich Bradley of Dolgellau, as the Meirionnydd Running Club athlete came home in 1hr 31.22mins. Four other Meirionnydd Running Club athletes completed the local turn-out as John Smith of Dolgellau finished in 1hr 32.23mins, Kevin Evans of Brithdir in 1hr 34.28mins, Juliet Edwards of Dolgellau in 1hr 35.00mins with club-stalwart, Victor Gretton, completing an impressive Meirionnydd club turn-out as he finished in 1hr 46.28mins.


The race was also the culmination of the 2008 Meirionnydd Winter Race Series, with earlier fell races having been held at Rhobell Fawr and Tarren Hendre. A cumulative total achieved over the three race series saw Steve Gilliland having the added bonus of winning the 'Male Section' of the series with the 'Female Section' winner being Sarah Ridgway (Eryri Harriers). Their efforts over the 3 race series were recognised by the event sponsors, 'Organic Aran Lamb' who presented them both with a succulent half of lamb.


Affiliated to the main race in Llanuwchllyn was the shorter 2-mile Ras Y Garth, aimed at the next generation of fell runners. The race attracted an enthusiastic response with two 14 year-olds claiming victory in their respective categories as Owain James (Eryri Harriers) led home the boys section in 15.42mins with Lisa Peters (Menai T. & F.) leading home the girls in a time of 16.32mins.


As ever, the race organisers offered their sincere thanks to those who continue to assist in making the event an ongoing success, most notably the main race sponsors, Organic Aran Lamb and the Eagles Inn, Llanuwchllyn, as well as to the land owners over whose land the race is run and also to the many individuals and organisations (too numerous to mention) who give of their time so willingly to help out on the day.