Pen-Y-fan 12 Hour

With a big 24 hour challenge creeping ever closer I needed to get some serious time on the mountains to see what my body and mind could take. Taking on Pen-Y-Fan for 12 hours seemed like a good choice for many reasons.

It’s close to home and I’d be able to put myself through a large distance and a high accent gain; perfect training for the upcoming event.

I started at 6am on the 27th April setting myself on doing at least 8 summits. Reason being is Matthew Pritchard had taken on the same challenge just weeks before and managed to do 7 summits, he is an endurance legend, so I set my sights on trying to match his result, that way I’d have an idea where I stand in fitness.

First summit and I was off like a rocket reaching the top in 29 minutes, a good time considering the weather was horrendous with snowy blizzard like conditions and wind gusts that literally took you off your feet. I did get blown down the side of the mountain on my first ascent the wind was that strong.

Finishing the first ascent/descent in 50 minutes I was happy with the result and that set the bar for the rest of the day.

Second and third summit also played out well with times under 60 minutes. The ever changing weather kept the morning interesting with the wind at one point so strong that the snow felt like stones hitting your face. The best piece of kit for the day were the ski goggles and snood.

On the fourth run, I was joined by my mate Sion and even he was shocked by the strength of the wind, but was totally buzzing by the experience. It was nice to have the support and someone to break up the day as doing the same thing over and over can get rather monotonous.

Considering the weather, the day was actually going well and I was making good time, I managed to complete a fifth run before 12pm. With this in mind and my body still feeling good I set myself the target of 10 times before 6pm.

After a short break to refuel and a chat with Central Beacons Mountain Rescue I set off to complete the goal.

When I look back now it all seems like a dream, the day as a whole went so quick and the weather changed from a blizzard morning to a blue sky afternoon that it kept each run of the mountain different; even all the lovely people I spoke to while going up and down all day kept it fresh and fun.

Slamming through the summits, I got to run nine when I started to feel the fatigue, I thought this would be my last because my energy was now dwindling.

As I made it back to the bottom of the mountain and looked at the time I realised I still had 1 hour 20 left before 6pm, I ran to the car grabbed a bottle of Lucozade and pushed my ass back up the mountain to get the tenth summit.

Running down for the last time, the sense of relief and enjoyment was immense, I was greeted by my wife and in laws who cheered me to the finish.

This was a great practice run which showed me that you need to break a big plan into little pieces and focus on the moment in time, you be surprised what your body allows you to do when you focus your mind in the moment.

A big thanks to Sion, Lee and the mountain rescue team for there support on the day. 

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