Racing the Goldrush 8.5m Trail
run.coedybrenin was the host for the The Goldrush Trail 2016 in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Mawddach and we’d been looking forward to it for months as the route is a marked trail through some of the best parts of Coed Y Brenin, a route we are quiet familiar with although neither myself or Wendy had ever raced it. We’d been to Coed Y Brenin a few weeks earlier for the ‘Day With Anna Frost’ and the following days 10k social run and were looking forward to meeting up with our friends from Snowdonia for a good run.
The race included ‘The Goldrush Canicross’ where participants ran with their dogs using special harnesses which allow the dogs to assist the runners. This race was to start in a slightly more open area 30 minutes after we started to make sure the field of runners was spread out and to minimise instances where the two concurrent races would interfere with each other.
After a beautiful drive through Snowdonia National Park we arrived at 11am, a couple of hours before the race giving us time to have a light snack before collecting our numbers and commemorative mugs from registration. We then had a bit of time to kill so visited beicsbrenin to check out the mountain bike gear and run.coedybrenin to check out running gear and have a chat with a Chris who was manning the shop and Suzanne who was trying to convince us she wasn’t going to try and break any records running the route today…
We made one last trip back to the car to dump extra layers as it looked like the weather was going to be kind then it was time to gather in front of the visitor centre for the race briefing from Matt. Nothing out of the ordinary except a few pointers regarding the narrow start and potentially being over taken by a runner with a dog.
A quick shuffle to the start, a good luck kiss from Wendy and we were off.
The Goldrush Trail route has a little bit of everything from technical ascents and descents to long slow uphill drags and fast sweeping downhills through the ancient woodlands and I loved every heart busting minute of it.
Undoubtedly the best part is the Karrimor Decent, a mile of so of fast flowing single track though the woods. A few weeks ago this section was so water logged that some areas were almost I un-runnable, not today, it was perfect and I’m sure everyone coming down here must have been grinning like an idiot, I know I was.
I secretly had a few objectives to the race and as I hit the track alongside the River Eden and started the leg sapping climb to the finish I mentally ticked them off;
- Push hard but don’t get injured – all good so far, definitely knackered, thankfully only a mile to go.
- Come in under 1hr 30mins – looks good, maybe 1:20!
- Don’t get overtaken by a dog – is that panting I can hear behind me?
As I ran through the finish the time was 1:18:05 (chip time 1:17:56) and I felt great. After a quick stretch, an orange, half a banana and a drink I caught up with Suzanne who’d broken the women’s course record in something like 1:06… not pushing indeed!
I walked back down the trail and sat where I could watch the rest of the runners and the Canicross teams approach the finish. After a few dogs raced past, some looking like they could do it all over again although I think there owners may have disagreed, it wasn’t long before Wendy came running up the hill, coming in under her target of 2:00 to 2:30 with a finish time of 1:59:42.
We took another trip up to the car (why is everything up after a hard trail race?) to put on some warm clothes then made out way back to the café for a well earned slice of cake and a warm mug of coffee.
Seeing Matt, the race organiser and owner of run.coedybrenin and Ieuan, the race sweeper, on the way back to the car we all agreed the day had been great for both man and dog. Even the weather was kind to us and the rain stayed away.
With beautiful marked trails between 3 and 13 miles, Coed Y Brenin is a trail runners playground and I thoroughly recommend a visit.
We’ll be back in a couple of months to run Trail Marathon Wales and I can’t wait.