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Ian Williams aka Fetch

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Race The Train

Listed by Davey Boy
, Tywyn LL36 UK
17 Entrants Club PB SB Pred Time WAVA
BigG North Yorks Moors AC 1:41:29 1:41:29 1:41:29 65.73
Boycie Unaffiliated 1:47:58 1:50:10 1:45:00 1:50:10 60.55
CD Scunthorpe & District AC 3:00:00 3:00:00 3:00:00 41.91
Davey Boy Unaffiliated 1:48:50 1:48:50 1:48:50 62.87
devonlol Southwest Roadrunners 2:33:35 2:54:16 2:54:16 41.57
disorganized Cherwell Runners & Joggers, Trail Running Association
EggFuYoung Unaffiliated 2:36:59 2:36:59 2:36:59 42.48
fellwrecker Unaffiliated 2:19:00 2:19:00 2:19:00 57.73
garfieldhouse Southwest Roadrunners 2:50:20 2:50:20 2:20:00 2:50:20 39.16
Greenman Grantham Running club 1:48:18 1:54:43 1:54:43 60.58
herbies gone bananas Unaffiliated 2:44:04 2:44:04 2:44:04 40.67
Lawriej Fell Runners Association
long whatton speedster Hermitage Harriers RC 1:45:00 1:45:00 1:48:00 1:45:00 64.01
martin K London Underground AC, Runnymede Runners 2:16:47 2:16:47 2:16:47 52.86
Mr Phil Porthcawl Runners 2:27:03 2:36:00 3:00:00 2:36:00 43.09
Rubberman Hermitage Harriers RC 2:02:20 2:09:47 2:20:00 2:09:47 52.34
Shadow 100 Marathon Club, Cybi Striders 2:16:09 2:32:47 2:32:47 53.12

This event is listed on these dates:

I will find it hard to give words than can fully describe this event. In short, the train took 1hr 48 and I took 1hr 50 so I failed. A full 2 days of torrential rain ensured that the 'very muddy' used in the description of the race did not really do justice to the conditions. It was simply ludicrous in places. Perhaps the best thing I can do is to rewrite the organizers description correcting it for the many factual inaccuracies:-
The race was started 22 years ago and this is the 23nd race. It was approximately 14.4 miles long. This is the classic start on the crest of the main railway line bridge adjacent to the Talyllyn Railway Station. Both the runners and the train are started by a geezer at the front who sounds a claxon and shouts 'go'. The course, which is on public roads for just over a mile, runs through the town centre, where several brave souls shout encouragement, before heading for Brynglas. At this point, the course turns right passsing a cemetry (which may be more than simple coincidence) to progress up a farm drive to cross the railway - if you can average 6m30 miles or faster to this point you will see the train go by at this stage and receive vociferous support from the many people on board. After the farm drive there is a mixture of incredibly muddy tracks and undulating and uneven fields, which are churned up by the runners treading the path before you. At Rhyd-yr-Onnen you leave the railway and run up a tarmac lane for 1/3 mile turning on to an unmetalled track running through a 1ft deep, 5 metre wide ford to reach the first refreshment point. From here, you return to run alongside the railway over fields, rough pasture and farm tracks to reach Brynglas. Here you will find the second refreshment point and, after climbing up a short, but steep stretch of farm road, you cross the railway to run the next section with the railway on your right. The first 1.5 miles of this section is over fields and rough pasture, again incredibly muddy and with torential rain making footing extremely difficult. After this you arrive at Dolgoch, where briefly you cross the car park, before ascending steeply across a field to run through trees, before dropping down a very tricky slope (particularly if you don't have rubber spikes) onto fields, again of a type and with footings similar to previously, arriving at refreshment point three. A short run down an unmade track turns back on to 2 well-cultivated pasture fields, before arriving at one that the farmer kindly ploughed 7 days before the race, meaning that every step you take, your foot will sink about 6inches into clotted mud before you finally arrive at the turn point at 7 miles. This then leads you onto the most ludicrous section of the course.
After a short run on the otherside of the ploughed field, the course leaves for uncultivated sloping hillside, crossing a stream, running under the railway before climbing a hill (literally as it is so steep you can not run up it), and then you will proceed to run for 1.2 miles along a sheep track that has been reduced to an slippery mud slide, approximately 1.5 foot-falls wide that climbs very steeply up the hillside (approximately 400 feet in 0.8 miles), before joining a tarmac road which ascends steeply for over a 1/3 mile, crossing the railway line. On reaching the brow of the hill, as you look towards the coast and Tywyn, it now levels off for a short way (approximately 50 metres) before leaving the road and plunging down a very narrow, extremely muddy path (take care). Running over very rough terrain, crossing a raging torrent, and possibly through shoulder high bracken <- no chance, bracken doesn't grow this high, the Railway and Dolgoch Station can be seen on your right. After descending a short incline the course turns abruptly right (if you had the time to appreciate it, or fancy a rest, Dolgoch Falls are just a few yards on the left as you turn), running beside the small river, which is the continuation of the falls, you then, just before the viaduct which carries the railway high above you, turn left over a narrow footbridge crossing the river to run back on the other side. This is actually the best moment to appreciate Dolgoch Falls, although you will need to have at least one eye on the steep and uneven steps that follow the approximately 50 metres of flat running. Climbing up these steps, approximately 75 spread over 500 metres, you will now cross very muddy terrain, including a 3 metre wide mud bath, which will certainly suck off any shoes that might have been loosened by anything that has occurred previously, through a small stream to join a very narrow path that follows the railway through trees, for what seems an eternity (and then some), before reaching open fields again. Crossing these you climb to the highest point on this section of the course, before descending steeply towards Brynglas. The next mile climbs steeply across the face of the hillside, the camber causing severe difficulty, both in maintaining balance and speed as your run through an opening in the dry stone wall into yet more well cultivated pasture. Following this the route climbs slightly, on an unmetalled road with bare rock in several places, before descending, running once again through the ford, which due to the continuing downpour will be deeper and wider than the previous crossing, before you turn back on to a normal lane. Descending on this small tarmacadamed lane for 1/3 mile, once again the course returns to run over farm land and farm tracks for over a mile. You are now running close to the railway with just a hedge separating you from the track. Once again you cross the railway, via a bridge at the 13 mile marker. Should the train also pass by at this point, as the marshall will put it to you 'Well run lads, very unlucky, better luck next year'. And you will face a gruelling run through farm buildings, down the farm road, to join the public road for about a mile and a half back to the finish field in Tywyn, where you will cross over the bridge by the train station and watch the passengers alight, as you fail in your mission by approximately 2 minutes.
This is a truely awesome experience and I have the utmost respect for anyone who can complete this course. As many people I spoke to afterwards said, it is harder than running a marathon. Not having run one yet, I sincerely hope they are correct, as I very nearly collapsed after the finish line and could not walk in a straight line for 20 minutes after the race, and I do not want to go one step further at Leicester!
Expertly marshalled, plenty of drinks stations - there is nothing negative that can be said about this race! I am already looking forward to this, and also to an event called 'Race the Horse' next year!
Davey Boy
Really tough but very good off road race (14.75 mile), first 7 mile is flat and mostly across fields, last 7 is tougher. The idea is to get back before the train (Approx 1:48). Maybe this year?? I hope so.......OH! NO missed the train by about a minute, conditions were unbelivable, well thats my exuse anyway, back to the drawing board then for next year.
The conditions were a total nightmare! I managed it but so much slower than I wanted- mainly due to the mud and the steep slopes half way around.
I was never going to beat the train in the mud and rain but severe nausea at about 8m didn't help - brought me to a complete stop. No full english breakfast for me next year and hopefully back to normal weather to put me in with a shot!
Hooray! I beat the train!! 38th position.

Awsome race. The conditions were extremely difficult thanks to the rain over the previous few days, but in some ways it just added to the fun - this was never supposed to be easy. The course is well marshalled with plenty of drinks stations. Having the crowd cheer you on from the train at some points gives it a special edge. Superb goody bag as well, with T-shirt medal and lots of food and drinks. Would do again, but only after I get round to buying some fell shoes.
Wheew - that was hard work.
Should be renamed 'Race the Rain'.

Lots of marshalls and drink stations, but treacherous conditions on the run back along the hill due to washed out path. Only fell on my arse once, and only skittled one other runner on a slippy descent. Will do next year.
Great race, hard work on a wet day but very rewarding.
long whatton speedster
Race the train was a race decided when the sun was shining and it was "months away".
Reality set in on as race day dawned to the 3rd successive day of rain, and the 9 pints of boddingtons the night before were telling me that this was not a good idea.
Race the Train or R.T.F.T. for short is a 14.8 mile course over rough terrain, which had been reduced to a swamp by the rain, 500 10k runners and half the sheep population of wales. I only had racing flats to run in, "disney on ice" was one description as I went sailing past my training partner unable to stop on one hill. It really was the closest thing to hell you could experience in a race. I loved every minute of it!, I grinned from ear to ear from about mile 4, feeling confident that I had a chance of doing it. Final 3 miles were fast, and felt amazing. I cannot put into words the euphoria as I came into the final field, seeing my superb running club supporting us all the way and crossing that line. Thats why I run, for that feeling. The train arrived 3 minutes later, we left the finish area 1 hour later, I was drunk 2 hours later and my medal is still round my neck...48 hours later. Do this race next year, its awesome!
First ever long race! Conditions awful...
number 563: can't find my time