LDWA Valleys 100 Start

On Saturday 24th May, 500 walkers and runners gathered in Pontypool for the LDWA Valleys 100, among them 4 Ludlow Runners – myself, Paul Elliott, Phil Clarke and Bradley Gurney.

The organisers wanted to take us to parts of South Wales that were rarely seen by visiting walkers, in the hills and valleys south of the Brecon Beacons. The circular route took us up on to moor and mountain, back down into deep industrial valleys through Pontypridd Abercynon and Tredegar with their coal mining heritage, with plenty of forestry and farmland too, and a canal section near the end.

The forecast was for rain and more rain.Unfortunately the wet weather ruined any chance of the promised sweeping views, and the going was heavy, with bog and low cloud up on the moor, and torrential streams pouring down the hill footpaths. This took its toll with nearly half of the starters retiring (and a handful disqualified for not carrying the correct kit at an inpromptu kitcheck out in the forest 35 miles in), though the rain eased off for a few hours during the night before resuming on Sunday morning.

In true LDWA tradition, we had excellent support at the checkpoints, with plenty of good food and encouragement. Times were naturally slow, and I was pleased to get round in 29 hours 19 mins, 4th runner back and 7th overall. I had been lucky to hook up at night with Andy Taylor, a runner from Surrey who had reccied the night section, he was good company and we kept each other going well when flagging. Some navigational errors near the end took the gloss off (my fault!) and we had a killer climb to a folly tower just before the end, but overall really pleased to survive the course.

Congratulations to Brad who completed his first 100 miler, especially on such a tough event. The Valleys 100 is already being talked of as one of the hardest the LDWA have hosted, with 15000 feet of ascent and certainly one of the wettest on record. Another great adventure to live in the memory.

Iain Prentice

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