An ultra special birthday treat for Lynwen Huxtable

Thursday 23rd June 2022 6:39 am
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Lynwen Huxtable at the Llangollen 50km Ultramarathon 2022
Lynwen Huxtable at the Llangollen 50km Ultramarathon (Aber AC )

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Your birthday is an opportunity to relax, have a meal with friends and enjoy a drink or two. But not for Aberystwyth Athletic Club’s Lynwen Huxtable, as her 54th birthday was spent taking part in her biggest running challenge to date – the Llangollen 50 km Ultramarathon.

On a dry, but breezy June day, Lynwen took on the spectacular and challenging north Wales race. An early morning start took the runners out on a linear route linking up the Dee Valley Way towards Corwen, crossing the river at the halfway point, before joining the North Berwyn Way for the route back towards Llangollen.

The steep ascents reached a high point on the Berwyn hilltop of Moel Fferna with breathtaking views over the valley, albeit in a biting cold wind. After a gruelling, hilly course over marshland, winding woodland trails, ankle deep bogs and scrambles through heather laden fells, the last downhill was a welcome sight, but a slow process due to loose rocks, stones and scree.

After crossing the bridge in a bustling Llangollen, Lynwen was pleased to see the eagerly anticipated finish line at Llangollen Leisure Centre,

She said: “This was a huge challenge for me – I decided last year that I wanted to try an ultra race and this seemed to fit the bill perfectly. Your attitude needs to be very different to a normal road race – you can’t worry about your time – you just have to concentrate on not falling over and ensuring you’re going in the right direction. I must say I had to learn very quickly how to use a compass, but I still got lost.

She added: “I have to thank the other members at Aberystwyth AC who have helped, coached and supported me over the past few months – all the hard work was definitely worthwhile in the end – and I can say now it’s over that I thoroughly enjoyed it.

“Thank also to those who sponsored me and helped raise over £700 for the DPJ foundation, a Welsh charity that supports those in rural communities and in agriculture with mental health problems. The money will be greatly appreciated.”

There was a further birthday treat for Lynwen as the good news came through that she had been selected to run for Wales in the Home Nations Welsh Athletics Masters championship in Tenby on 3 July where she will join fellow Aber AC runner Paul Williams who has been selected to run the 10k for Wales.

Aber AC athletes obviously don’t like to take things easy as three other runners took part in the Man v Horse race in Llandovery, a 20.5 mile course that pits two legs against four. Since the race started in 1980 a human had only won twice but there was to be a third time this year as Cumbrian runner Ricky Lightfoot took the honours in a time of 2:22:23.

Aber AC’s Dave Powell finished in 88th position overall out of 608 runners and was second in his age category (V60), Louise Barker finished in a time of 3.32.48 with Ceris Williams completing the course in 4.17.35.

Louise was delighted to be part of a historic day: “This is a wonderful event as there is so much anticipation every year as to who will come out on top. In over 40 years a human has only won three times and it was great to be part of it when it happened. The course itself is a mix of terrain - tarmac, forest trails and open moorland and is quite a challenge but the camaraderie is lovely, and it is wonderful to be part of such a unique event.”

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