After visiting Newborough, Anglesey, a couple of months ago we’d been hoping our fitness ‘played ball’ for our summer visit to the island and, as we arrived once more at the main car park for Newborough Beach we couldn’t help but feel a little excited.
This was to be one of our challenges of the holiday, 1 lap (approx. 11k) of the 2011 Commonwealth and Mountain Running Championship Trail Run (the official run was 5 laps). You can click on the image to the left which is the sign near the start of the trail with all the information about the trail and the 2011 results. Needless to say, we would not be doing our lap in 37 minutes…
Following the way-markers, a white running man on a red background, we started our watches at about quarter to ten and set of at a fairly leisurely pace along the forest track, heading towards Llanddwyn Island. After about a kilometre we left the track and headed over the beach onto Llanddwyn where we ran to the lighthouse at the end and back to the forest exit point. I ran round Llanddwyn which added a bit of distance but as my stride length is longer than Wendy’s every so often I was leaving her behind then ’looping’ back. The Llanddwyn section was great, good footing with a few steps cutting through the coastal dunes and spectacular views in every direction.
As the temperature rose unfortunately we left the shade of the trees and after running up and down a few sandy dunes we ran up the left edge of Newborough Forest along a sandy track which was exhausting in the heat. We wished for shade and as we turned towards the east we got it as we entered the forest, Pine trees towering above us and gentle forest trails to run along, fantastic.
It looked great, with pines either side of the trail but the path was loose, the heat relentless and the gradient very, very steep. It seemed never ending and getting to the top felt like an accomplishment all on its own, I don’t think I’ll ever complain about the hills in Lancashire again.
The trail continued to meander through the forest in an easterly direction until it hit the road we arrived on and travelling South West (ish) and keeping to the side away from the increasing amount of traffic, we gave a last push and arrived well within our allocated time. Wendy ended up running just over 12.5km and I did about 16km, a good distance for both of us on a trail we’ll definitely do again. Facilities were great with toilets, an outdoor shower, ample car parking and a well marked trail, it couldn’t have been any better.
We’d packed sandwiches, crisps, cakes and drinks which were quickly demolished but the final ‘pudding’ was a chocolate and nut ice cream from the vendor in the shade of one of the Pine trees.
Never has ice cream tasted so good.