A huge well done to Pensby’s own Nigel Crompton for putting on another brilliant Excalibur event. We know that Nigel would also extend a big thank you to a whole host of people of volunteered their time for the day as well. It was a fantastic success with great numbers taking part in the 10K, half marathon and full marathon events, and the stream of positive comments crossing the Excalibur Facebook page is a real testament to just how much everyone enjoyed themselves, and to all the hard work Nigel and his team put in. Thank you to everyone who offered such warm support on the way around as well.
A pre race confab or past and present Pensbys
As Nigel had promised, it was a glorious summer’s day. In fact, at times a little too glorious, I think a lot of people would agree! Those of us taking part in the marathon kicked things off at 9am and already by that time it was warm enough to be vest only weather if you were confident your shoulders were well enough lathered in sun cream. This was my third running of the full marathon and I went in a little more prepared this time around for just how brutal the race is.
Eddie descending before the climb up toward Moel Arthur carpark in the half marathon
There are a couple of things about the Excalibur that make it a particularly hard race I think – the 5500 ft of climb aside! The first is just how runnable it is. The majority of the route is very much runnable terrain and some if it can be taken at quite a lick. However, the climb and undulation are relentless and that combination of elevation and speed is a real test of the legs. This for me is one of the things that makes it such a unique test. The second thing is that it’s really a race of two halves. To me the first half flies by (as is often the case in marathons), and it’s easy to assume that once you’ve rounded that furthest north hill and you’re back on the nice wide footpaths again, that it’s going to be plain sailing (the sharp climb from Moel Arthur car park aside). However, there’s something that chips away at your will power every time you round a corner to come across another section of up. Or find yourself dropping down a hillside, knowing that that tiny bump on Moel Famau, the highest thing in the vicinity, is your destination and you’re going to be making that descent back up in climb and then some. And that little bump, that gradually becomes discernible as Jubilee Tower, never seems to get any closer…. Oh and now through in the addition of just a tiny bit more up and down right at the very end, just as your calves have turned to jelly and your quads are screaming….nothing quite like it!
Carole and Lucy steaming through mile 8 of the half marathon
Other people will have to speak to the intensity of the half marathon and 10K but it’s clear from the profile that both are leg busting events. The reduction in distance and in climb do not share a linear relationship, so these are not races to be taken lightly by any stretch of the imagination.
Ben and Kev descending….
And making that inevitable ascent.
Anyway, enough of my ramblings and on with the important stuff! Pensby runners were competing over all three distances, and with some success. John Hunt was second in the marathon distance. Rob Grantham won the half marathon, with Lucy Partridge first lady and Eddie Roche 5th overall. Ursula Moore was second lady in the half marathon and Gary Parker won the 10K. Pensby Runners also picked up a number of age category prizes and most importantly we were very well represented across all three races – something that is becoming a bit of a yearly tradition for the club. It was also really good to see a number of ex-Pensby runners, who have moved on to lesser things, but we still love them anyway!
Great running everyone, and roll on 2019!