Marathon Ordeals in Mountains; WALES EXTREME WEATHER TESTS RACERS TO LIMIT

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), October 27, 2008 | Go to article overview

Marathon Ordeals in Mountains; WALES EXTREME WEATHER TESTS RACERS TO LIMIT


Byline: By KELLY FENNA

ATHLETES from North Wales caught up in the horrendous weather conditions during the abandoned Lake Districtmarathon spoke yesterday of their hair-raising experience.

They were among 2,500 people taking part in the two-day Original Mountain Marathon in Cumbria before itwas called off on Saturday after being hit by someof theworst weather in its 41-year history.

The athleteswere forced to camp overnight in tents, barns and hastily arranged official shelters after the region experienced nearly a month's rainfall in 24 hours.

A helicopter from RAF Valley in Anglesey assisted police andmountain teams to trace more than 1,700 racers in the marathon who were unaccounted for overnight near Keswick, Cumbria.

Meanwhile, the howling wind and driving rain made the 26th Snowdonia Marathon on Saturday a particularly gruelling experience for competitors.

The weather was so bad that about 600 of the original 1,700 entrants did not evenmake it to the start line at Nant Peris.

Yesterday, active climbers Ellie Salisbury and Adrian Moir from Penmaenmawr returned home from the Lake District after their ordeal.

They told how water-logged routes forced them to bed down at a reception centre at Cockermouth.

Ellie, a diabetic local vetwho has taken part in 55 similar events, said submerged roads meant they had to be driven off the mountain in a Land Rover.

"For the more inexperienced climber, this incident would have been a real eye-opener," she said.

Adrian, 47, a director of a computer firmadded: "Theweatherwas quite severe, as itwas forecast tobe.

The winds were very strong and at times we had to crouch down in order to keep ourselves on our feet.

"Theweather did hinder our progress but I have taken part inmarathons where I have known conditions to be worse.

"We are highly experienced and were able tocope - atnopointwere our lives in danger."

Bangor University lecturer Dei Huws and his brother Neil, a member of a mountain rescue team in the Hay-on-Wye area, set off on a shortened course at 10am on Saturday, and the rain immediately lashed down. …

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