Any race with Eryri in the title is never going to be easy but Aberystwyth Athletic Club members love a challenge. The recent Eryri race trails offer a 10k, half marathon and full marathon and Aber AC was represented in all three.

Chelsey Morris was the brave soul who took on the full marathon and completed the challenging course in a time of 8.01.57. Ivan Courtier, 3.02.35 and Ian Brandreth, 3.12.18, went for the half marathon with Hannah Dee, 1.23.20 and Rachel Lilley, 1.26.33 completing the 10k course.

The half marathon is exceptionally tough but in this part of Wales what else can you expect as Ivan Courtier explains: “This is a tough half marathon with over 1,192m of ascent, most of which is up Wales’ highest peak.

“The hills start almost immediately as you climb up through Llanberis and that is followed by another steep climb, and when you think you are close to the finish, the sting in the tail is the final climb up the infamous Zig Zag path and into the quarries.

“The views however on such a beautiful day were incredible and that helped make (some) of the pain to go away.”

Hannah Dee, Ivan Courtier, Rachel Lilley and Ian Brandreth at the Eryri races 2023
Hannah Dee, Ivan Courtier, Rachel Lilley and Ian Brandreth at the Eryri races (Submitted)

Moving slightly further afield and to even bigger mountains, the UTMB Verbier St Bernard X-Traverse is a 48.4 mile race with elevation of 5,300 metres run in the Swiss Alps.

Louise Barker and Dave Powell were the intrepid explorers who took on the challenge with Dave completing the gruelling course in 16 hours and 15 minutes and Louise crossing the finish line in a time of 19 hours and 42 minutes.

Louise Barker in the Alps 2023
Louise Barker in the Alps (Submitted)

According to Louise it was brutal but utterly beautiful: “You start off in an alpine environment, then cross into Italy for a short while before reaching the historical pass of Grand St Bernard, famous for its hospice and its rescue dogs.

Running through the Alps UTMB Verbier St Bernard X-Traverse 130723
Running through the Alps (Submitted)

“If I’m totally honest there were points when I really did want to give up and if the bus had been waiting at one of the last feed stations sparing me the final 1,200m climb in three miles, I would have been on it! But I managed to persevere and finish in one of the most beautiful races I have ever run.”

We have long established that there are question marks over many of Aber AC’s athletes’ sanity and this was proved once again last weekend as three esteemed members got up at 5.30am on a Sunday morning to run in a one mile race in Cardiff.

But this is not any old race – the Butetown mile race is one of only three places in the world to host a straight mile road race alongside Fifth Avenue, New York, and the Champs-Elysees, Paris.

Edd and Lina Land, and Tracey Breedon at the Bute town mile race
Edd and Lina Land, and Tracey Breedon at the Bute town mile race (Submitted)

They stage two races – one for elite runners where the mile has to be completed in under seven minutes and a fun run mile race where anyone can take part.

In the elite race Edd Land completed the course in a great time of 4.56, coming in 10th overall and first in his age category, Tracey Breedon finished in a time of 5.56, also coming first in her age category. Lina Land made it a trio of firsts, winning her age category in the fun run mile race in a time of 7.32.

According to Tracey, it was certainly a different running experience: “It’s very rare to take part in a race of such a short distance, and as such it can be difficult to know how to pace yourself. But this was a strong field of runners in a quirky race and it was great to be part of it.

“I do still question my wisdom though, driving from an event in London to Cardiff late Saturday night to run for six minutes – then driving two and half hours back home. But I’ll probably do same again next year!”