Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Counting contours, Ras Y Gader 2011

Top right is Penygader, our turn around point

As you may have guessed from the number of posts about Gader Idris(Cader Idris), this is one of my favourite places and races.

The race is a strait forward  out and back course of 10.5 miles(16.9 km) and 3000 ft(0.9km) of ascent. Here is the race map . Starting at sea level, from the town of Dolgellau, well marked and marshalled (no navigation required), just a trot up to the trig point and back down again. Simples.
Dolgllau, the start and finish line

Simple yes, easy no, not for me anyway. The amount of ascent and descent  is much higher than any of my local runs or anything in the Peak, also much of the course is pitched stone and rock  .

from the start its a sharp tarmac climb out of Dolgellau to the only level part of the race. A mile or so of easy running, which goes through shaded woodland, around Llyn Gwernan and then across the boggy meadow. Even after seeing the runners in front struggle with the marshy section, we all did a little comedy dance.

comedy moment in the boggy meadow 

Onwards and upwards

#63  navigationally challenged,  backmarker,  MV 40+ and  numpty. Stephen Burt.
In spite of having "special needs", Stephen manages to enjoy a happy and active life

Moody mountain

From the Car park at Ty-nant  it is all up hill. 750metres upwards in 3km, give or take a bit. I don't use GPS or have any digital mapping for this area,  so all measurements are thanks to Ordnance Survey map OL23 and a piece of string.

Enough of facts and figures, that's not what fell running is all about. Much as I enjoy looking at maps and pondering routes. Its sections like this that float my boat. the steep climb and the 'brain out, brakes off' dash back down. I am not fast or fearless enough to be a great descender but I love it. Going with gravity not against it, a bit like falling without hitting the ground. 

Yep! going up has its own rewards but downhill is where the fun is at.

One up one down

One of the faster runners enjoying the descent off Penygader.

After the drop off the mountain, it was jelly legs and mardy bums all the way back to Dolgellau.

Other  highlights;

It was  good to see  fellow blogger, John, aka Lightning of http://mytrainingandracing.blogspot.com/ and also to meet Mrs Lightning.
All the very best for your plans for this year.

All runners received a commemorative mug.

It didn't rain.

A lovely cuppa tea and a scone.

Back to facts and figures;

This was the 21st Ras Y Gader . Happy coming of age!

Lloyd Taggart won, with a time of 1hr 21min 27sec. Only 9 seconds short of the record.

I finished 4 minutes slower than last year. Taking 2hr 16minutes (oh dear! Again, I really must try harder).

More Gader results and links to race photos from the excellent Mud Sweat And Tears site.

Many thanks to all who made the 2011 Ras Y Gader possible. See you again next year.


  1. Hi Steve.
    It seems a tough race!
    I do not know which was harder, if higher, with that accumulated slope of nearly 1 kilometer, or the descent! crushing knees!
    Uffffffff I could not make this race.
    A kiss

  2. Oh, sounds like a cool race and as usual love the photos! 3000 ft of elevation in 10 miles, quite a kick in the pants. Even though you weren't stoked about your time, great job to you I say.

    HA, glad I'm not the only special needs, navigationally challenged!

    The boggy portions of the race look like quite the element we are missing out on in Colorado.

    This is going to sound silly, but what is a mardy bum?

  3. This is the kind of races I like more, not too long, simple up and down and beautiful landscapes... Congratulations for your race and your report!, The comedy moment photo is funny!

  4. Looks absolutely stunning.

    One for the walking boots, I think, for me.

  5. Well done number 63. I hope they let you out again soon.
    Nice to see you again Steve. Alex says hi.

  6. Toni; Surprisingly, my knees seem ok, its the rest of me that is falling apart.

    Jessie; Its one of my favourites. That area (Southern Snowdonia)is beautiful.

    Mardy is a local word for sulking or throwing teddy out of the pram(stroller). Mardy bum, is the person who has thrown the said teddy bear from pram.

    Magbueno; Me too. Its a classic fell race. I also enjoy Mountain Marathons(2 day navigation races). A much steadier pace but just as much fun.

    RW; Its well worth a visit. Loads of different routes around Cadair Idris to try.

    Lightning;Ha Ha! I hope they let me out soon, I need some Nav practice for the Rab.
    Hi To Alex.

  7. i can see why you need to be 'special' to run 3000ft up in 10miles steve!

  8. UC; Its nice when it stops. Speaking of 'special' isnt it 10miles x5 for you next month?

  9. brilliant photos and captions!! those straight up and down races are the toughest-nice one. deffo on my list for next year.

  10. Tks Kate. Its a good un. See you there

  11. Tks Martin. The weather was just right. Lovely views this time.

    Hope you had a good break.


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