Tuesday, 9 June 2015

New course records on the 10th anniversary race!

Longtown, Herefordshire.  Saturday 6th June 2015 - The 10th Darrens Dash Hill Race

Race day dawned with a mixture of sunshine, cloud and a couple of light showers.  The showers passed through and left a glorious running day behind. A move to a Saturday and away from Father’s Day seems to have been popular - runner numbers were the highest ever at 121.  We were very pleased to welcome travelling runners from Ilkeston and Northamptonshire as well as strong contingents from local clubs on both sides of the border.

After a warm up lap of the event field a new route took runners steeply up through Cayo Farm and to the Rhiw before entering Wales and being rewarded with magnificent views of Llanthony Abbey, Pen y Gadair Fawr and the Vale of Ewyas.  There wasn’t much time for enjoying the views however as the 552m trig point on Hatterrall Ridge was soon reached and then it was all downhill, reversing the ascent route from the Rhiw.  Chris Jones of Mynyddwyr De Cymru led strongly from the start and flew down the descent slopes to set a new course record of 40:31, followed shortly afterwards by Paul Murrin of Chepstow Harriers and Andrew Stephens of Monross Trailblazers.  In the Women’s Race Gintare Gaigal of Wye Valley Runners won in 50:11 holding off the challenge of Nikki Morgan of Chepstow Harriers and Clare Dallimore of MDC. Simon Downs and his dog Figaro were the first finishers in the Cani Cross event in a time of 67.03.  Congratulations to Ed Dickson of MDC who was awarded the ‘first local’ trophy in 50:54 having cunningly moved into the area since the last race.  MDC were on great form and narrowly beat Wye Valley Runners to the inaugural mixed team competition.

Other results:


1st MV40              Chris Harrhy, Mynydd Du

1st MV50              Tim Taylor, Hereford Couriers

1st MV60              Neil Grant, Chepstow Harriers


1st FV40                 Sue Shergold, FODAC

1st FV50                 Nikki Childs, Wye Valley Runners

1st FV60                 Joyce Dodd, Chepstow Harriers

NB. Competitors were only awarded trophies for their highest achievement to spread them round!

Full results available on:

80 children took place in the children’s races and showed their potential for the future.  Great tea and cakes were provided to all runners and there was a goof haul of prizes in the raffle

Grateful thanks to the main event sponsors:

Celtic Vale – who provided the race water and sponsored the event t-shirts

Arlene and Richard Clare – who sponsored the race trophies and children’s medals

Ty Bryn Cider – also used as race prizes.

The event could not go ahead without the permission and good will of the following landowners: Eric and Jean Price, Rob and Julie Bevan, Richard Prosser, Natural England, Natural Resources Wales and the Brecon Beacons National Park.  A final but sincere thank you to Longtown Mountain Rescue Team who provide the mountain safety cover for the event.

Many tough runners decided to combine the race with the following day’s Magic Roundabout in the Begwyns and camped at Tan House Farm conveniently close to the Crown Inn for refuelling purposes. 

Why not join us on Saturday 11th June 2016 for next year’s race?

Mike Fawcett

Race organiser

Monday, 1 June 2015

5 days to go - Enter now to claim your race t-shirt

More than 70 pre-entries received so far - the highest ever at this stage, so it should be a race to remember for the 10th anniversary!

Remember there are only special event t-shirts for the first 100 entrants so enter now to avoid disappointment:  www.entrycentral.com/darrensdash

Entry on the day will be available as well as free tea and cakes and Celtic Vale Water for every runner.  Bouncy Castle and children's races too to keep the kids happy!

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Darrens Dash 2015 - 3 weeks to go - Saturday 6th June 2015

I hope you are aware of the Darrens Dash Hill race that celebrates its 10th Anniversary this year.  The race takes place in 3 week's time and has moved a week earlier in the calendar to a Saturday.

It is a challenging hill run of approximately 6 miles based in Longtown, Herefordshire that takes in some stunning scenery in the eastern part of the Brecon Beacons National Park.  This year's route crosses into Wales for the first time with a 'summit loop' and views to Llanthony and Pen y Gadair Fawr.
As well as the usual category prizes there is a local runners category, a Canicross category and for the first time a team category.  Each mixed team will comprise 4 runners, a minimum of 1 member per team must be female.  At present we have 4 teams entered but would love to see some more especially as several clubs just need an additional runner to make a qualifying team.
As an additional incentive the first 100 runners to enter will receive a special 10th anniversary t-shirt and all runners will receive a bottle of Celtic Vale water and free tea and cake.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Darrens Dash 2014 - Sunday 15th June 2014

Less than 6 weeks to go before this tough border running challenge that sets off from the Herefordshire village of Longtown and then runs up to and along the border with Wales. 1,500ft of ascent, stream crossings, runners with dogs and an uphill finish all combine to make this the toughest challenge in Herefordshire.

There is gain as well as pain though!  Wonderful scenery, stunning views (cloud permitting) and fantastic tea and cake and the knowledge that your efforts have helped raise funds for the local school, pre-school and Mountain Rescue Team.

Runners with dogs are welcome as are families - childrens fun run, bouncy castle all available.

To find out more and download an entry form visit the Wye Valley Runners website.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Darrens Dash 2013 results

John Pullen strikes again

The day dawned bright and breezy, but my mid-morning the clouds were building and light rain started an hour before the race began. This did not deter the record field of 85 (including 8 Cani-X runners and their dogs) or the 58 children taking part in the children's races.

A revised course this year used a different start section. A crossing of the Olchon Brook ford avoided early congestion at a stile. (Canix-X runners had a delayed start and an amended course to open country where they rejoined the main route). From the brook steep climbing though fields led to open country and the relentless climb to the top of the Darrens crags. Longtown Mountain Rescue Team marshals awaited the hardy runners as they charged towards the Offa's Dyke ridge - the borderline between England and Wales. Patchy cloud deprived some runners of the magnificent views from Hatterrall Ridge. A turn to the south and undulating running eventually led to a fast runnable descent through Cayo farm. A sting in the tail awaited the runner in the shape of a short, sharp uphill run to the finish. Runners then sprawled in the meadow grass savouring their achievement before walking back to the school for their delicious tea and cake.

Strong running from John Pullen of Wye Valley Runners ensured that he held off the challenge from local rival and former winner and record-holder Matt James of Hereford Couriers in the men’s race. Stuart Moore of Wye Valley Runners was close behind in 4th place. Nicola Gething from Parc Bryn Bach was victorious in the Women’s race ahead of an impressive finish by Checkley-based Heather Walker, closely followed by Rebecca Davies of Wye Valley Runners.

Full results can be downloaded from www.wyevalleyrunners.co.uk

Summary Results:


1st 44.48 John Pullen, Wye Valley Runners

2nd 45.54 Matt James, Hereford Couriers

3rd 46.00 Robin Smoult, Lliswerry Runners


1st 54.21 Nicola Gething, Parc Bryn Bach

2nd 55.07 Heather Walker, Asylum Functional training

3rd 55.34 Rebecca Davies, Wye Valley Runners


1st 1.08.50 Daniel Kane

Thank you to all marshals, volunteers, competitors and supporters. The event raised over £900.00 for Longtown School, Longtown Pre School and the Mountain Rescue Team

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Darrens Dash 2013 - 4 days to go, places still available!

Sunday 16th June 2013 is the date of this year's race based at Longtown Community Primary School (HR2 0LE).  Places are still available for entry on the day.  The route to the start will be signposted from Pandy and Ewyas Harold off the A465.
There is a revised start section to this year's race with an interesting water feature to avoid early congestion. Cani-X runners (runners with dogs) will share the same start line but then follow a different route to Open Country.  Children's races start immediately after the main race start.  The timings:

1 pm         Registrations opens for entry on the day / Children's enterntainment opens
2 pm         Darrens Dash starts
2.05 pm    Cani-X event starts
2.10 pm    Children's race 1
2.15 pm    Children's race 2
2.20 pm    Children's race 3
4 pm         Prize giving & Raffle

Friday, 31 May 2013

Darrens Dash 2013 - Sunday 16th June, course update.

The ponies were out in force when I did a trial run earlier today.  Due to the cold, wet winter the bracken's not nearly as dense as in previous years so there will be less bracken basking for me to do this year. Yippee!

The event HQ is Longtown Community Primary School, Herefordshire.  12 miles from Abergavenny, 15 miles from Hay-on-Wye and 18 miles from Hereford.

For those who like to navigate using landscape features a few notes about the route:

The race starts and finishes in the shadow of Longtown's Norman Castle and after a short downhill section and a crossing of the Olchon Brook, the climbing begins.  Steadily at first through fields to gain Open Country above the Turnant Farm.  After a short traverse northwards on a broad trail, the tough climbing begins to the top of the Black Darrens crags where a helpful Longtown Mountain Rescue volunteer will point you in the right direction.

A short run across the moorland towards the distant summit of Pen y Gadair Fawr brings you to Hatterall Ridge.  Turn south here and follow the undulating Offa's Dyke National Trail which first aligns with the Monnow Valley and then swings west to align with Skirrid Fawr ('The Skirrid').  Pass the trig point, descend to the col between Longtown and Llanthony, take the sharp left turn and then follow the runnable descent trail to the field boundaries above Cayo Farm.  Run steeply down through the fields in the direction of Longtown Castle, through the farm, across the brook and a short sting in the tail uphill finish!

It has got to be done.

See you in a fortnight,

Mike Fawcett
Race organiser