Limitless Trails in the Black Mountains. Will you conquer The Beast?
After 6 months of no events, numerous date changes and waiting for the Welsh Government to announce the next phase of the lockdown, we were delighted to welcome almost 140 runners to Perth-Y-Pia, Llanbedr on Saturday 12th June for the Beast of the Blacks 20 & 40 mile trail running challenge and the Black Mountains Marathon & 50 Mile Ultra.
The first surprise of the day for the unsuspecting competitors was the cheerful welcome into the registration tent for a kit check by Stu. Not to shy away, Stu stood out with his large ginger beard and red kilt… yes, we had a Scotsman loose aboot the event HQ.
To see so many competitors back together after such a long absence felt surreal and the community spirit was as strong as ever. Broad beaming smiles unable to hide the excitement of the competitors and the Limitless Trails crew.
“Individual course briefings were delivered by Ellen, Limitless Trails Founder and Race Director. There was a buzz of anticipation as the runners had a socially distanced mass start, eager to cross the start line as the bells rang. This energetic start was to be short lived as the competitors turned left and straight into the first climb of the day, a leg warming 500ft ascent in the first km.”
The weather was on our side and offered up fantastic views all across the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons. As the day progressed, the temperature kept rising and rising and rising some more, almost as much as the terrain. This was to take its toll on a number of runners with 14 DNF’s across the 4 races.
The 20 Mile Beast of the Blacks
The Beast of the Blacks 20 is a new challenge amongst some spectacular, harsh but stimulating trails with 4553 feet of elevation. Greeted with outstanding views that will follow you around this beautiful route whilst taking in forest trails, mountain tops, river crossings and ancient churches. Red kites will be your companions besides an abundance of wildlife.
Holly Rush came in 1st in the women’s race and 4th overall with a staggering time of 3 hours 34 minutes, followed by Pippa Ebel temp in 2nd and Coco Moore in 3rd..
Cyrille Mulsant came in first in the men’s race with an impressive time of 3hours 5 minutes, Richard Henderson in 2ndand Stuart Roy in 3rd.
The 40 Mile Beast of the Blacks
The 40 mile is 2 loops of the 20 mile course with a twist. For the second lap, you run the 20 mile course in reverse so whatever scenery you missed on the first lap, you can enjoy it on the second, especially with 9106ft of ascent. All those long descents where you felt invincible and got to stride out, time to power back up them.
Tom Carthey powered home in 4 hours 38 minutes to take the win with Duncan Oakes 2nd and Steve Batsford placing 3rd.
Jodie Gauld came in first for the women with Di Kemple 2nd.
Black Mountains Marathon
Starting off on the same route as the 50 mile ultra-runners, the marathon soon splits and heads towards Rhos Dirion reservoir where you get to enjoy a fantastic downhill into the forest. As the age old saying goes, what goes down must come back up. Two short climbs over 8km takes the runners onto the final descent back to the Event Centre and the finish line.
The women’s race was won by Ruth Tank in a time of 7hours 15 minutes. 2nd was Lydia Farzin-Nia with Charlotte Turner 3rd.
In the men’s race, James Turner took 1st place in a time of 5hours 37 minutes, 2nd was Sam Rowlands and with Alex Budgen in 3rd.
Black Mountains 50 Mile Ultra
“It is no secret that Limitless Trails Race Director Ellen Wood has a wicked streak and this course is testament to that. The course has 10 significant climbs with 11000 feet of elevation. This self-navigation route in temperatures that were to linger around 25 degrees centigrade at the hottest point were out to test even the most experienced runners.”
After a grueling, yet rewarding 10 hours 11 minutes, Jacob Hayes ran home in 1st place. Alastair Johns 2nd and Rhys Jenkins 3rd.
The women’s race was won by Natalie Taylor in 11hours 50 minutes, with Lizzie Faithful-Davies placing 2nd.
Waiting for the runners at the finish were bespoke medals, physio’s, hot & cold drinks along with delicious warm or cold food and the cheer of everyone at Race HQ.
The Trophies for 1st, 2nd & 3rd Male & Female are all Handcrafted wooden trophies, designed & hand-carved in Wales and are totally unique to Limitless.
To all of the competitors, the volunteers and the supporters, Limitless Trails wants to congratulate you thoroughly. Each race presented challenges to even the most experienced runner.
A massive thank you to the event photographers who took almost 1200 photographs to capture all the runners in their element. We look forward to seeing you in the future.
Race Report by Limitless Trails