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Another ‘electric’ Night Trail Wales rounds off 2019 at Run Coed y Brenin

The fifth edition of the Petzl Night Trail Wales on Saturday proved to be one of the best yet, as over 300  runners enjoyed the Coed y Brenin trails, under grey skies and some light rain. The enduro-style solo and team event was the final race offering in 2019 from the Run Coed y Brenin team, and rounds off another record-breaking year of trail running events.

As ever the atmosphere at the 3-hour race was electric, as the team and solo participants wound their way around the 3km loop.

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©Sport Pictures Cymru

The ‘runnable’ 3km lap was deliberately made “not too technical” by race organiser Matt Ward, with enough elevation to sort out the runners. Starting at 6pm meant that the race started in the dusk of an Autumn Saturday evening, and ended in full darkness.

Results were determined by those runners who completed the most number of laps in 3 hours, whether a 3-person team or solo competitor, and spectators were kept up to date with race commentary and leader board style updates for the leaders, as the visitor centres were transformed into an amphitheatre of colours, lights and music.

The racing up-front was quick from the start with first-off runner Ryan Bennett from team The Village People fastest out of the blocks recording 13:10 for lap 1, which was to prove fastest lap of the evening.

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Ryan Bennett, fastest team lap runner at Petzl Night Trail Wales 2019 ©Sport Pictures Cymru

However, the team race was to become a two-team race as Night Trail regulars TNH (Dyfed Whiteside-Thomas, Sam Orton and Shaun Davies) from the Eryri club were going head-to-head with Triawd y Buarth (Ian Edwards, Dilwyn Powell-Jones and John Davies). This was to prove one of the battles of the night as the Triawd were no more than a minute or so ahead until the third hour when they pulled away for a brilliant win and 13 laps in 3:06:33. TNH finished a fine second, also producing 13 laps in 3:10:02.  A trio of youngsters Only here for the beer! made up the podium with an excellent 12 laps.

In the women’s race Eryri Harriers’ teams Elidir and Tryfan also produced a big battle on the Coed y Brenin trails as Elliw Haf, Jody Cain and Rhian Thomas representing Elidir took on Jennifer Charlton, Marian Crowe and Nia Albiston. Both teams produced a sparkling 11 laps, with Elixir taking 3:02:10 versus Tryfan’s 3:08:02. Elliw Haf also took the fastest lap for a female on the evening with a cracking 14:49.

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Elliw Haf from Elidir, women’s team champions ©Sport Pictures Cymru

Mutless completed the women’s podium in third with 10 laps in 3:04:13

The Village People led by the stunning lap by Ryan Bennett won the mixed team race with an excellent 12 laps in 5th place overall in 3:07:05.

In the solo event there was an emphatic win from Wrexham man Mike Hazel as he completed a brilliant 12 laps in 3:12:49 and also took the honours for the fastest solo lap of the night (13:55) . After trying but failing in the last four Night Trail events local-man Mat Fenwick finally cracked the podium, picking up an excellent second-place with 11 laps in 3:11:09. The final podium spot went to Ieuan Belshaw who also completed 11 laps, in 3:13:36 just over 2 minutes behind Fenwick.

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Mike Hazel dominates the men’s solo race ©Sport Pictures Cymru

In the women’s race Welsh international Faye Johnson (Eryri Harriers) produced a brilliant performance to complete 10 laps in 3:00:51 to break the race record. Her first lap of 16:34 was also the fastest lap by a solo female on the night.

2018 women’s winner Clare Hanson took an excellent second place completing 9 laps in 3:00:11, with 2018 3rd-placer Carla Lauder repeating her feat of 12 months earlier, for a fine third place on the night, also managing 9 laps in 3:25:01.

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Faye Johnson leads the way in the women’s solo race ©Sport Pictures Cymru

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Faye Johnson (left) with Mike Hazel – Night Trail champions 2019 ©Sport Pictures Cymru

Full SOLO results can be viewed here, and TEAM results are here –  with race images by Sport Pictures Cymru here

Petzl Night Trail Wales event organiser Matt Ward concluded:

“The event has grown again in 2019 we have fine-tuned a few bits from last year, especially the transition area which worked really smoothly this year. We are at the limit now of 90 teams and 50 solos really and I expect that it will sell-out once again in 2020 if the feedback we have had is anything to go by.

“I’d like to thank all of our sponsors including Petzl, Purple Moose and Torq Fitness along with the Natural Resources Wales staff here at Coed y Brenin, who once again made the runners feel very welcome at this wonderful facility.”

The 2020 Petzl Night Trail Wales race will take place on Saturday 10th October, with entries going live on March the 1st, 2020.

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