Race the Train

By Tim Inchley

Earlier this year I decided I needed another challenge to keep my running focus, but wanted something different from the local road races. Thinking back to days and people gone by I always remember one of our former members and running legend Paul Dimmock, who is sadly no longer with us, talk of a race where you had to run a considerable distance cross-country against a train. “Surely it’s impossible to beat the train?” I would say, but no, with a bit of hard work and some decent training it could be done, so this was the race for me.

So off I went to the furthest reaches of Wales (Tywyn to be exact) with the family in tow to embark on this mission to beat the train. The weather was beautiful with perfect running conditions, the town was buzzing with atmosphere and there were runners everywhere. Apparently this was a big deal to the local community, judging by the fair in the middle of town and the massive beer tent!

The race started at 2:05pm precisely, on the whistle of the train. Everyone charged off down the street heading for the countryside. I tried to keep my sensible head on and not get too carried away as there were 14 miles of unknown terrain ahead. I had been told by some seasoned veterans of the race that the first seven miles were a lot easier than the second seven, so the idea was to go out hard and hang on!

Well, I won’t bore you with a mile by mile description, but the advice was correct. The second half of the race saw us encounter hills you couldn’t run up, 45 degree slopes to run across, narrow sheep tracks to follow, ditches, water and mud! Not the ideal baptism for my shiny new trainers! Heaven only knows what it would be like if the weather was bad. Nevertheless, I survived to tell the tale, beat the train and to be honest really enjoyed the event. It’s very difficult to take in the scenery when you’re working hard, but I did try and what I saw was fantastic. I also gave a few thoughts to the much loved and missed Mr Dimmock who planted the seed in my head many years ago.

It was well worth the effort to get there and we had a great weekend. I would highly recommend this race to anyone who fancies something a little bit different. In fact if there is enough interest it would be a great club weekend away. All the runners could run and the others could ride the train, then meet in the beer tent after and maybe have fish and chips by the sea. I’ll be back next year and perhaps some of you may join me?

All the details about the event can be found at www.racethetrain.com and they are already taking entries for 2016!