The Moel Eilio fell race, run from Llanberis was the second of the Summer Fell League for Pensby Runners.
Moel Eilio is definitely my favourite fell race, and happily I was already just down the road from Llanberis for work. In total seven Pensby Runners took part in Saturdays rather humid outing into the foothills of Snowdon, and I think we gave rather a good showing (especially Lucy!).
What makes Eilio such a great race in my book is just how runnable it is. There was some questioning of this ‘runnability’ by some fellow Pensbys at the start of the race (see attached photo of detailed scanning of the profile), but having watched Lucy run all the way up the side of Eilio (I think I counted about 20 paces where she walked), I can confirm it’s definitely a runnable route (I was walking most of that time). The race starts with a section of trail that undulates, but largely gains height as you head up to the foot of the eponymous mountain. The ascent to the summit is something of a slog, but you gain height fast and if you’re willing and able, it’s definitely runnable. Then the real fun starts. The route drops sharply – and this is where I finally caught Lucy – into switchback mode, as you plough down one hillside, then up onto Foel Gron, then down once again, and up Foel Goch. I think at this stage Lucy was back behind me, and I could see Dave in the not so distance. The next descent is one of those tricky traverses where you angle down at 45 degrees across the hills, meeting a gateway to the clear valley path, but instead heading back up at a mirror angle to ascend the final peak of Moel Cynghorion. This one always brings me out in sweats, as it’s the last of the Peris horseshoe (coming up in this year’s league I see), and the descent from the top back down to the valley is brutally steep, and although grassy, unforgiving on tired knees. I was pleased with my descending all things considered, and found a good line down this time, but just as I was feeling proud of myself for apparently leading a little trail of runners behind me on my clever new ‘line’, I fell flat on my face in the bog! After jumping the stream, it’s a sole-of-feet singeing pound back down the roadway into Llanberis. I always think this is the most dangerous part of the race – a high risk of catching a stud and tripping on very hard ground, and a couple of runners crossing the line gushing blood from hands and elbows were testimony to this theory!
Our crew did very well indeed, with particular mention for Lucy who, according to the results on FB was third lady overall! Great to have seven Pensbys crossing the line, and enjoying ice cream in the village afterwards. A huge thanks to the race organisers and all the marshals.
The official team photo, and the team surveying the profile of the route and trying to spot the biggest mountain they could run up!