CJ, Stuart, Claire & I set off from NISV at 8am. We park up near Llanfoist garden centre and straight ahead the hills are beckoning. The weather is perfect, its a lovely sunny day so we are hopeful of glorious views.
Down the other side of Blorange and we head to the next peak. Stu is our navigator for the day. He has such a great internal GPS which is one less thing for the rest of the group to think about. That is, until we reach Gilwern and the bridge that crosses the river is closed. CCTV up means we are not going to chance climbing over the security fencing. We feel like its come to an end as there is simply no other route for us to get through. We definitely have to find a way to cross this river otherwise or trek is over. At this point its like having an x-ray and told you won’t be able to run for 6 months. (it aint gonna happen!). And indeed to god, we find a way through. Stu and CJ do the gentlemanly thing, and hold down the barbed wire fence so me and Claire can hop over into the sheep field. Stu then does a side hop over the fence in one jump. Me and Claire look over in awe. A runner and a gymnast hey?! Is CJ going to follow suit here? Well, lets say we know he is considering it but takes the sensible option and climbs over. I’m sure he is glad of the long legs he has because it could have gone badly wrong. So we take a jaunt through Llanwenarth and there she is, ready and waiting for us. (Sugar Loaf mountain).
From here on in the skies are blue and the temperature is perfect. As the climbs challenge us, the views make it all worthwhile. There is something quite amazing about trail running. Why do we all run? Fitness, fun, better mental health, more cake, friends, improved social circle? We are all probably used to running the roads of our hometown in Newport and no doubt we reap the benefits as suggested above, however when you get off the tarmac and experience nature at its finest it takes you to a completely new level. Yes, its tougher, yes its much harder work but the feeling you get standing on the top of a hill is amazing. The achievement just getting to the top of the hill is mind blowing, but when you get views like this you appreciate the hard slog that your body is capable of.
We are looking back at both peaks. I find it incredible that we have just climbed both those peaks and we are heading to the 3rd.
After conquering the 3 peaks we head down towards Abergavenny and it feels really weird. We are now on the tarmac; traffic in all directions, tourists and locals heading to the pub beer garden, families playing in the park on a gloriously beautiful day. The last few miles are always the hardest and every time you think its just around the corner, there’s another mile marker achieved. You know you are close, your body hopes you are close too!