Report by Don Hale

NORTH WALES Road Runners Ben and Sarah Hudson took to the hills last Saturday for a rather unusual day-out in the Yorkshire Dales, by competing in the extremely tough 50-mile Pennine Barrier ultra-marathon race, which attracted over 600-top runners.

Described by the organisers GB Ultras, as a fantastic event, despite including some 2,593m of ascent, and fusing together some of the finest trails in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, this was most certainly a race for the most hardy and experienced athletes.

Ben and Sarah put in a tremendous performance, and ran together throughout the day, with Ben eventually becoming the 276th male athlete from 460 finishers, and Sarah the 72nd female athlete from 141 finishers.

The race started at the beautiful village of Malham with trails taking in Malham Cove, the Dry Valley of Watlowes, Malham Tarn, Fountains Fell, Janet’s Foss, and the wonderful Yorkshire 3 peaks of Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside, and Ingleborough.

It followed a stunning, but highly challenging route, backed by excellent support from the GB Ultra’s team, to ensure all runners had a race to remember!

After the race, an exhausted but delighted Sarah confirmed: “That was epic! The Pennine Barrier 50-miler – although I actually ran 52.12 miles - after a minor navigational error (which involved running a mile downhill in the wrong direction, and then having to climb back up).

“It was super-tough, and with some rather challenging weather conditions, so now we will have to go back, and do the mountains again, so that we can actually see what they look like!

“I managed to stack it running down Whernside and have the cuts and bruises to show for it, but we survived and had the most amazing experience. Thank you to all the amazing volunteers/organisers for being out all day and staying so positive in those conditions. You guys rock! I finished in 14hrs and 54 mins!

“Tough terrain and conditions, but an amazing event! So pleased to finish under 15-hours and before it went dark! Mountain ultras are brutal! Got lost/fell over/awful weather but we survived!”

Other results:

*Birmingham: Will Williams was one of several local club athletes selected to represent Welsh Masters at the Birmingham International 10k race on Sunday. Will admitted that it was a hilly course and quite warm, but he seemed pleased with his chip time of 37.02.

After the race he said: “What an amazing day, and again it’s such a huge privilege to represent my country. I do wish that I could perform to my best though still one min plus off my 10k PB.

“Never-the-less, I loved every second of it. Huge thanks to Bernie Jones for making all of this happen! The course was long though, but finished in 102nd place overall, and I was 14th in my age and masters cat.”