On Sunday the 6th of December at 9am Stacey Farnell and I set off from Penller Castell to start the journey along the Gower way.
The sky was clear blue and with a slight chill in the air we began the journey along the trail starting at the 50th stone on top of penller castell! Mike Tate set us off with a nice little count down so we could begin at 9.
We set off heading towards he mountains before taking a swift turn at the bottom of the hill to climb back over and towards upper Lliw reservoir. The trail was hard from the frost and the roads slippy.
At lower Lliw reservoir I left Stacey with the support crew and picked up Jon Carrick who was waiting by the gate as we headed through the trail towards Felindre! with the air still crisp and the sun beginning to warm the day we made good time on the road before turning down the farmers track, through the muddy forest and across the fields. Then we headed down towards Pontlliw greeted by Jon and Joni who were out for the day supporting! through the lights and along the small county road.
Making good time we ran over the common and towards the cycle track where we were greeted by Mike, Stu Prendiville, Dan Evans and my next pacer Cai Prendiville!
This section saw us run down towards Gorseinon where we said goodbye to Jon carrick! along past the Wave and through Gowerton were we again saw the support crew ready with the water and a bottle of tailwind before heading up the trail towards 3 crosses. This was a particularly muddy section which resulted in Cai almost losing his trainers. we battled through the muddy fields and found ourselves on the small track headed towards the main road through Three Crosses.
Cai and I were greeted by Stu, Cai's section was done and as i climbed the small sharp hill holding onto the handrail for the road was to slippy to gain any traction I made my way through the small quiet village, the winding paths of the field and then greeted by Mike again with Dan Evans ready to run to welsh moor with me! A long road section where we found a comfortable pace and the miles ticked by as we avoided slipping on the icy parts of the road.
Leaving Dan I Headed up the path, through the wooded area and down the wet rocky track I emerged on the road in Cillibion where I picked up Sally Munroe! This next section through parc lebreois, up heart break hill ad over Cefn bryn was going to be the hardest section and after making our way through the fields with the angry looking Bulls we pushed on and made our way up the long climb and over over the top of Cefn bryn where we could take in the beautiful gower coast along Oxwich Bay and down to 3 cliffs.
Sally pulled me along the top as the elevation began to slow me and the legs eventually started to feel the effects of the soft muddy trail then hard road on and off through the day, as we hit marathon distance in 3.27 and the worst of the climbing behind us we past the crew as they top up our supplies and descended into Reyoldston.
Through the soft muddy fields my legs tightened, I knew at this point i needed to manage the legs well and run wisely as there was still 6 miles to go and as we hit the small incline on the road we walked for a minute or 2 before getting the legs moving again down the hill.
Each stride now was painful on the road but with 5 miles of trail left I hoped it would ease. The last section from llandewi church to Rhosilli would be run with Dan again. Thanking sally for helping me we then pressed on with Dan trying to push the pace but my legs could not go any faster! We ran through icy puddles upto our knees, thick muddy fields full of ruts and tufts and clambered up the last of the hills, with 2 miles to go Dan insisted on again pushing the pace and I gave in and began emptying whatever I had left in me! at this point everything hurt, as the finished got ever closer the quicker I ran until I finally arrived at the stone! falling to my knees resting on the stone after 4hrs 40 minutes and 29 seconds the Gower way was done and the crew was there to see me through and thankfully carried me back to the Cafe where we all enjoyed a well deserved coffee.