MDC News Summer 1999

MDC News Summer 1999

the MDC entry in the most boring magazine cover of the year award but we’re just a bit rushed at the moment and I

know your summer wouldn’t be complete without your bumper-fun-packed holiday special

Old Greybeard’s almost-the-total eclipse bit at the front

‘Summer time, and the living is easy.. – a fine song but whoever wrote it obviously

wasn’t a fell runner. With Fan Fawr, Cribyn, the Transfan and Waun Fach races in quick

succession, and with Alwyn Nixon’s South Wales Traverse thrown in for a bit of variety

the Brecon Beacons are receiving something of a hammering from the studded shoe

merchants. This flurTy of mid-season activity also means that time for writing the

solsticial bfp has been seriously limited. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!

So, what’s new? There have been few developments on the AAW political front

recently, except to note that numbers competing in the Welsh Championships have been

seriously reduced this year, apparently as a result of the registration requirement as the

races selected have all been classics of their kind. For example, the Cribyn race – which

has to be the definitive short ‘A’ race – attracted only 16 eligible runners although a

respectable 43 took part altogether, and of those 16 six (including one AAW official) did

not complete the ‘eligibility’ questions on the entry form. However, I’ve bored

everybody witless on this subject before whilst wearing my statistician’s hat so that’s

enough for now.


What a superb day! 18 runners accepted the famous challenge this year (almost as many

as took part the last time it was an official race) and everyone completed either the full

21 miles/8250 feet of climb or the parts of it that they thought more appropriate to their

abilities! A misty start saw lots of compass work from Carreg yr Ogof to the main ridge

of the Fans, but by the time the leaders were on the climb of Fan Gihirych the sun came

out and to be honest it was a bit too warm. Aled Rees (unattached) was first man home in

4 hours 3Sish, with our own Douglas Adlam holding off Puffing Billy Darby for second.

Of course, it’s not a race so nobody was really noting positions (yeah!) but by a

unanimous decision of the supporters the awesome and magnificent etc. Transfan

Trophy was presented to Brian Martin for a very well-paced run as first SuperVet in

about 5 hours 40. He also wins the dubious honour of having to organise Transfan

2000- which has an impressive ring to it, I think. Don’t ask what happened to OGB,

who tried to hang on to the Steam Bunnies (Toffer & Wheeze) but needed a long sit

down at Storey Arms before struggling up the big hill to finish in a personal worst 6:09.

Thanks to Pete Maggs for organising the barbecue and presenting the prize. Following

an industrial poisoning accident Pete’s off his running at the moment but will hopefully

soon be restored to his usual fine form. Also thanks to Kay, Jenny and Jess for handing

out the drinks at the road crossings- we couldn’t do it without you! Tom Gibbs would

have run but he fell off his bike the day before and broke his collarbone. Some people

will use any excuse…

The Transfan fairy (not the same one as John was chatting to under the tree!) got to work

to produce some fine limited-edition T-shirts. Sorry, but you had to be there to get one!

Bob Smith Traverse

This semi-epic for those who fancy a good day out without running in the dark seems to

have captured the imagination of a few people. For those who missed our previous

accounts, it’s a traverse of the 800 metre summits of South Wales (there are six of them)

from Llynyfan to the Grwyne Valley. The excitement lies in being able to use a bicycle

where it is legal to do so and in there being quite a variety of route choice. Following the

Eponymous Bob Smith’s inaugural crossing in 7 hours 20 (still the Supervets record) Old

greybeard and Roy Ruddle nipped round in 6:14 on OGB’s 45 birthday- though I think

Koy could have taken big chunks off this. The challenge has been taken up since by Keri

Price and Tom Gibbs, who both have considerable experience of this sort of lunacy, and

they shaved another hour off the record by clocking 5:09 (I think). Hopefully an article

on is will appear eventually (big hint to Tom). Once the serious triathletes get hold of

this I think there could be some impressive times set. As yet there’s no girly record: any

takers, ladies?

Tuesday runs

Attendances have ranged from 14-and-a-dog to 2, but we’re ploughing on regardless and

have already had a couple of unforeseen long evenings out including a battle with head-

high bracken in the old landslide at the back of Cwmyoy last week. The landlord of the

ADDey Bar in Llanthony is if anything even grumpier than the last time we were there.

There is one change to the list as previously circulated: instead of going to the Gwyn

Arms on 24th August we have been invited to the Presidential Palace in Llanhennock

otherwise known as Fred’s place. Note that he has moved house and is now about 200

yards further up the hill at Painswick Mead, Llanhennock. He would appreciate a call on

01633 423664 if you’re going. Usual start time of 6.30.

Rumour has it…

.. that John Sweeting was so far gone at the end of his pacing stint on Alwyn’s traverse

that he collapsed under a tree and started talking to the fairies. Apparently they made a

lot more sense than certain members of the AAW Endurance Committee!

. that Doc Buffet has been racing in Greenland and that he has details of a race in

Antarctica. Don’t all rush.

… that John Puffing Billy’ Darby wasn’t satisfied with carrying the drinks for Alwyn

for 25 miles and is thinking of having a crack at the South Wales Traverse on 21st

August. I’m sure offers of assistance would be appreciated…

… that the Winter League may go international this year as Forest of Dean have

volunteered to put on a race. So sling the banjo in the back of the pickup, pack the

moonshine and off we go. Yee-haa!!!…


.. to Ann Nixon on another international appearance in the European Championships at

the grand age of…

.. to Big Clive Horsfield on completing the Scotish Munros at an even more advanced


.. and to Keri and Tom (and Nick and Helene) for a fine second place in the Western

Isles Challenge. One day we might get an article!

Speaking of which, if this edition is a bit thin it’s because of a distinct shortage of

articles. Remember our motto: you no Write, we no print. I’m off to stare at the sun in

Cornwall, where the Cornish reckon that if the eclipse is a success they’1l do it again

next year.. Byeeee!

Old Greybeard

Pen Cerrig-calch 1999

The umpte-ninth running of Pen Cerrig-calch saw us return to our normal blessed weather

after the traumas of last year. It is a relief to post a report at the start stating “summit

temperature 55f, Visibility- for ever, going – good, kit requirements/checks none, run in the


nude if you like”. The sun was out, the larks were up, the views were wonderful, God was in

his heaven and who cares who wins?

Well, quite a few, really. Mark Palmer and Geran Hughes matched each other stride for

stride to the summit, but Mark’s descending ability made the difference. He might have

beaten Tim Davies’s 1997 record (26:35) but he turned his ankle badly a few hundred yards

from the finish and limped in slowly (still taking two minutes out of his rival in a one-and-a-

half mile two thousand foot descent!). A little further down the field, Ann Nixon needed a

hard finishing sprint to keep her nose in front of young Owain Jones (improving by the

minute) and Nathan Reeks running only his second race. Even the almost perfect

conditions and the close competition couldn’t quite get Ann within a minute of her own course

record. (A minute after Owain crossed the line, the summit marshal checked in to report that

his dad had just reached the summit! Life can be so cruel). A suspicion of casualness crept

in further down the field as some people seemed to be saving themselves for the tough 14

mile Llanberdr-Blaenavon on the morrow; one closely drawn group pausing just berore the

line in a parade of “After you”-“No, after you” etc.

All in all, a truly brill afternoon out, everybody got an Easter egg, and all went home nappy.

Tons of thanks to K Lucas for marking and marshalling, Fred Parry for taking over the finish,

Cliff Jones for lending us his fields, fam, loos etc, and to lan and Mary at the Red Lion for

supplying the fell-runners friends; good beer and a convivial hostelry. Long may fell racing

be like this. And the results are..

Many of you will by now have heard of the tragic death in a car accident of Bret

Orringe, son of our Secretary Adrian and Pat. There was a large athletic contingent at the

funeral, and Adrian has asked if we can publish the following letter. He doesn’t mention

it in his letter, but a collection is being taken for ‘Megadrive’, which is a Gwent-based

charity promoting safer motoring for young drivers, who apparently have the

proportionally highest accident rate. Anyone wishing to make a donation should send it

to Megadrive’, Police Headquarters, Croesyceiliog, Cwmbran, Gwent.

6 Edinburgh Close




7th April 1999

To all MDC members,

First let me apologise for the formality of a typed letter but we have numerous

people that we want to write to. Pat and I would like to thank you for the kindness

and sympathy you extended to us during our recent bereavement.

Some of you will remember Bret from a few years ago as he helped me mark

the course and marshal Langorse Loop. Bret has also taken part in two Karrimors

with myself, as well as some of the local races. Brets interest in running had

diminished over the past year or two but he always remained interested when I

recalled my fell running exploits. Bret had begun training again recently as it was his

intention to get fit by the spring with a view to returning to the hills in summer. Bret

particularly liked the friendliness of the club and remembered individuals who had

taken the time to speak with him.

Once again thank you for the cards and words of support. It was particularly

comforting to see so many of you at Brets’ funeral.

Yours sincerely,

Pat and Adrian Orringe