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Thread: Wales's oldest fell races

  1. #31
    Master Wheeze's Avatar
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    Interesting. I've been racing in South Wales since 1987 and never once heard of this one. I used to compile the WFRA calendar in the early 90's. As you say, I suspect it was kept purely local for the local lads and lasses to show off their prowess without intrusion from outsiders!
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  2. #32
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    Probably a few similar that were linked to local shows and never drrew the attention of fell runners. First fell race I did was at Llangurig show, that would have been around late 80s and just local ladds in it. Then there was the Rhayader carnival race from the clock tower to the top of Gwastedyn hill and back, that always attracted around 100 entries of mainly locals and kids. A few runners came on the scene later, like myself in early 90s. I was even in the prizes there with a top 3 and V40s - but a certain kid called Tim Davies came on the scene and spoilt everything for us mere mortals by knocking us oldies off the leader board!
    I expect there were more races like this through rural Wales in those days, but I doubt many survive now.
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  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by molehill View Post
    Probably a few similar that were linked to local shows and never drrew the attention of fell runners. First fell race I did was at Llangurig show, that would have been around late 80s and just local ladds in it. Then there was the Rhayader carnival race from the clock tower to the top of Gwastedyn hill and back, that always attracted around 100 entries of mainly locals and kids. A few runners came on the scene later, like myself in early 90s. I was even in the prizes there with a top 3 and V40s - but a certain kid called Tim Davies came on the scene and spoilt everything for us mere mortals by knocking us oldies off the leader board!
    I expect there were more races like this through rural Wales in those days, but I doubt many survive now.
    A bit of googling around the Llangurig show hasn't revealed anything about a hill race, so I imagine that stopped many years ago. The latest reference to the Rhayader carnival race (also mentioned earlier in this thread) that I have found is to a race in 2016 (on an archived version of the Rhayader AC website), and the race doesn't appear anywhere on the website for this year's carnival.

    On the subject of Llangurig: on my recent few days of cycling in Wales, I noticed that as far away as Dolgellau, signs on the A470 southward referred to Llangurig as the destination. The implication is that there is no more significant town on the A470 between Dolgellau and Llangurig: you or Llani Boy may wish to comment on this.
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  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by anthonykay View Post
    A bit of googling around the Llangurig show hasn't revealed anything about a hill race, so I imagine that stopped many years ago. The latest reference to the Rhayader carnival race (also mentioned earlier in this thread) that I have found is to a race in 2016 (on an archived version of the Rhayader AC website), and the race doesn't appear anywhere on the website for this year's carnival.

    On the subject of Llangurig: on my recent few days of cycling in Wales, I noticed that as far away as Dolgellau, signs on the A470 southward referred to Llangurig as the destination. The implication is that there is no more significant town on the A470 between Dolgellau and Llangurig: you or Llani Boy may wish to comment on this.
    I do wish to comment AK on what was a bit of a bugbear and thank you for the opportunity!

    Llanidloes is 8 times bigger than Llangurig and is a proper town rather than a small village but does not find itself on major road signs whilst Llangurig which is 6 miles away , as you have pointed out, is advertised from many miles away.

    The reason for this is that Llangurig is at the junction of two trunk roads, the A470 and the A44, whilst Llanidloes is not. Llanidloes no doubt loses out on passing trade, especially since the bypass was built but probably is better off overall as many ne'r do wells will just go flying past!
    Last edited by Llani Boy; 29-07-2021 at 10:38 PM.
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  5. #35
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    I'm sure the Llangurig show race didn't continue and think the show may even have moved to another farm, I never ran it again.
    Didn't know the carnival race had ended, that had certainly been started quite a few years before I ever ran it and was a regular fixture for many friends in the area.
    As LB says, Llangurig is just a small village but with a major road junction.

  6. #36
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    I have just been reading Fell Running in Wales by Simon Gwyn Roberts, and discovered that another race with a long history is Ras Beca: started in 1977, although it is only more recently that it has appeared on the FRA or WFRA calendar.

    The book is very much a personal account; not the result of in-depth research in the style of Steve Chilton, more a love letter to the sport and the places where it happens; also bringing out Simon Gwyn Roberts' love of Welsh culture and language, and his love-hate relationship with Welsh weather. I have really enjoyed reading it, and I will even forgive the author for his totally garbled account of the origins of the Llanbedr-Blaenafon race.

    One point that he makes (and which is also mentioned in the review in the latest Fellrunner magazine) is about terminology: "fell running" or "mountain running"? Back in the 1980's when I started running races in South Wales, I remember that people there were mostly referring to "mountain running". English-speaking Welsh people seem to refer to even quite small hills as "mountains" (and definitely not "fells"). The Scots stick resolutely to the term "hill running", and I suspect that the only reason the Welsh started using "fell running" is because "mountain running" has become associated with the international version of the sport which is more like road running on steep gradients.
    Last edited by anthonykay; 03-08-2021 at 04:04 PM.
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  7. #37
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    It's more likely because we had, then lost, then reinstated the Welsh Fell Running Association. Initially as a subcommittee of the FRA and later as a devolved committee. But in common parlance I think most people in Wales would call them mountains.

  8. #38
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