For those of you who are not familiar with this particular form of torture, the Rhayader 20 is a 20 mile road race which takes place in darkest Wales - more precisely, the very hilly bit of darkest mid-Wales. For some reason best know to those who organise it, it is held in the middle of March - great for pre-London marathon preparation, rubbish for the weather... normally... however, this year was memorable if only for the fact that the sun shone, there was only a bit of wind and it didn't rain!
To say this run is hilly would be to understate it, massively - it is not just hilly, it is really very hilly indeed. They did change the course a bit this year which didn't actually help, it just meant the first very big hill went on from 2 miles to 5 miles rather sneaking up on you at around 3 miles. Still, on the plus side, once you got near the snow line (and just before oxygen is required) you do get some lovely views, and as an added bonus you get to go down again - steeply - not good for those with dodgy knees.
Once you're in the bottom of the Elan valley the course trundles up and down for most of the rest of the way (oh, for some flat...) then just when you think it can't go on for much longer (and this road really does go straight back to the town centre doesn't it), they send you off down into Elan village. Hah, I thought (naively), I wonder if this means we miss that nasty climb just before you get to the outskirts of Rhayader? Sadly not, all they do is sneakily send you all round some really very pretty country lanes to emerge.... at the bottom of the nasty hill just before you get to the outskirts of Rhayader. Thanks for that.
In conclusion though, it is a great race, well organised and reasonable (£12 affiliated and you get a tee shirt and free shower in the sports centre). Fantastic training for a spring marathon, and a good gauge of where you're at if you're doing a summer IM.
Winning time? 2:02 - how do they do that? My time by my watch as they appear to have missed me off the results - PB 2:58... Would I do it yet again? I quite possibly might.... Elly.