It was a game of two halves today, and race leader Jim Mann scored an own goal in the first and was run off the pitch in the second.
For much of the first half of the day dense cloud settled over the mountains and it was in the mists on the summit of Cadair Idris that Mann made a major navigational mistake. He set off last and was on his own. From the summit the route followed the Pony Path down, but Mann took a different ridge line, and didn’t realise for a long time. He only started to correct after losing a lot of height, and then wandered off track again. He was having a bad day.
Jim Mann © Guillem
Navigation isn’t top of the defending champion’s skills list, and I don’t think he uses a GPS as most do – otherwise maybe he’d have stayed on track. It’s hard to judge how much time he lost, but the knock on effect was that in the second half of the day, when the fog burnt off and it was blisteringly hot, he pushed himself so hard he arrived at the finish in a state of near collapse. He was unsteady on his feet, eyes unfocussed and lay down on the ground behind the HQ for some time when he arrived, before being taken into the medical tent. He was having a very bad day.
Marcus Scotney © Ian Corless
By contrast Marcus Scotney was having a good day. He had always known the last half of the race would suit his running style better and after he’d finished in a time of 7.54.33 today said, “It was nice to get off the rocks and be able to run some more today.” His time was over an hour quicker than Mann set in 2015. He does use a GPS watch and said it helped keep him on track a few times today.
The end result was that Mann (who finished in 9.30.43) and had set off with a lead of 70 minutes is now 26 minutes behind Scotney. He wasn’t saying anything at the end of his run (not surprisingly) but to retain his title will now have to chase down Scotney over the last two days, if he can recover sufficiently. It’s a tall order as Scotney always planned to conserve energy on the earlier days, and try to finish more strongly.
Neil Talbott was 3rd today and stayed 3rd overall and is 33 minutes ahead of Jez Bragg. Behind that top 5 Nick Hollon of the USA had a strong run and his strength and endurance mean he is steadily moving up the leaderboard, finishing in a higher placing on each day’s run.
Sabrina Verjee © Ian Corless
In the women’s race Sabrina Verjee was first to finish in 14th overall but she was distressed in the heat. “I had asthma all day,” she said. “I felt like someone was strangling me but my good friend Jonathan ran with me and helped me through, making me eat and drink at the right time.” She too went straight off to medical tent for attention, but was soon recovered and said, “I was just being silly and not looking after myself like I should, I’ll be fine tomorrow when I take my medication.”
Caroline McIlroy and Carol Morgan are having a great race with each other and are 2nd and 3rd just 89 seconds apart.