Record numbers get a night fever a Coed y Brenin
36 hours of Storm Callum did nothing to deter the Run Coed y Brenin organising team as the fourth edition of the Petzl Night Trail Wales went ahead on Saturday in temperatures of almost 20C – leaving some runners in a heavy sweat as they dressed in jackets and tights for this typically chilly autumn night race!
With music and lighting, the race proved to be one of the best yet, as a record number of 350 trail runners enjoyed the technical and tough Coed y Brenin circuit. As ever the atmosphere for this 3-hour race was electric, as the team and solo participants wound their way around the 3km loop.
©Sport Pictures Cymru
The quest to complete as many laps as possible in 3 hours delighted the runners and spectators alike as the visitor centres at Coed y Brenin were transformed into an amphitheatre of colours, lights and music.
©Sport Pictures Cymru
The racing up-front was fast from the start with first-off runner Geraint Jones leading his Hebog Three G’s team to a brilliant win, as along with Gonks Hughes and Gavin Buckley they completed 12 laps. Ger’s time of 13 mins 28 seconds was also the fastest time by any runner on the night for one lap.
The overall team podium at the Petzl Night Trail Wales 2018 ©Sport Pictures Cymru
One of the performances of the night once again came in the mixed race as the junior squad from the academi Coed y Brenin (Lleucu Lane, Euros Evans and Isaac Ayres ) won the category and finished a brilliant 2nd overall, completing 11 laps and just over three minutes back on Hebog. Another mixed squad, Chaffing the Dream, finished third.
academi Coed y Brenin, mixed team champions again in 2018 ©Sport Pictures Cymru
In the women’s race Eryri Harriers’ crack team from the TNF Eilio comprising Jennifer Charlton, Elliw Haf and Michelle Fildes ran away with the honours, completing an excellent 11 laps, with Elliw also taking the fastest lap by a female in the team event (14:57).
TNH Eilio, women’s team champions ©Sport Pictures Cymru
The ‘runnable’ 3km lap was deliberately made “not too technical” by race organiser Matt Ward, with enough elevation to sort out the runners. Starting at 6pm meant that the race started in the dusk of an Autumn Saturday evening, and ended in full darkness.
Results were determined by those runners who completed the most number of laps in 3 hours, whether a 3-person team or solo competitor, and spectators were kept up to date with race commentary and leader board style updates for the leaders.
In the solo event there was a great performance from Eryri Harrier and Welsh international Gwyn Owen. After his runner-up performance at this summer’s Salomon Trail Marathon Wales, Owen was a back once again to test his mettle on the Coed y Brenin trails. Locked in a battle with 2017 Night Trail Wales winner Mike Pfeiffer (Likeys) the North Wales man stole a lead with 2 hours gone and romped to the win, completing 11 laps to win by 7 minutes from Pffiefer, who could be contented with the fastest solo lap of the night (14:04).
Local man Tristan Evans ran a great race in third, also completing 11 laps, some 10 minutes back on Owen.
A focussed Solo winner Gwyn Owen looks in control at Night Trail Wales ©Sport Pictures Cymru
In the women’s race Clare Cox took a very comfortable win, running a brilliantly controlled effort to complete 9 laps and finish a full 23 minutes clear of Coed y Brenin regular Carla Lauder, who had never finished on the podium at any trail race – a real break-through for the Hebog runner.
Cox later stated on social media that she was looking forward to returning to the 2019 event, stating:
“What a race! I lead from the start, which I wasn’t aware of until the end and managed to get fastest lap. Yes, I maybe am mad for running up Rodney’s Pillar every Friday but the training certainly pays off. I had a great time and the support from the marshals was fantastic as always. Coed y Brenin remains my favourite place to run. I’ll be back next year for sure!”
Lauren Hill ran a an excellent 8 laps to finish in third.
Clare Cox running strongly on the Animal Trail climb ©Sport Pictures Cymru
Gwyn Owen (left) with Clare Cox – Night Trail champions 2018 ©Sport Pictures Cymru
Petzl Night Trail Wales event organiser Matt Ward concluded:
“The event has grown again in 2018 we have fine-tuned a few bits from last year, especially the transition area which worked really smoothly this year. We are at the limit now of 100 teams and 60 solos really and I expect that it will sell-out once again in 2019 if the feedback we have had is anything to go by.
“The standard has also risen in terms of racing this year with some top quality runners taking part in the team and solo events.
©Sport Pictures Cymru
“I’d like to thank all of our sponsors, especially Petzl and Purple Moose, and the Natural Resources Wales staff here at Coed y Brenin, who once again made the runners feel very welcome at this wonderful facility.”
The 2019 Petzl Night Trail Wales event date is Saturday 12th October, with entries going live on March the 1st, 2019.
Wet conditions do little to dampen the spirits as almost 1000 trail runners across across a weekend of racing at Coed y Brenin for the 2018 Salomon Trail Marathon…