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International class athletes joined children and older people for the first ever Crychan Forest Fell Races which celebrated the fifth anniversary of the Crychan Forest Trails Project.
The main races – run over eight miles through the Forestry Commission Wales managed woodland near Llandovery, Carmarthenshire – were won by experienced runners Peter Ryder and Helen Fines.
But local farmer Huw Protheroe delighted the home supporters by winning the 4.5-mile short race as the forest came alive to mark the success of the trails which have become a focal point for the community.
Races for all ages, from six years old to 80, attracted a good turn-out of runners from as far afield as Exeter, Aberystwyth, Haverfordwest, Pontypool, and a strong contingent from Lampeter-based club Sarn Helen.
The event was organised by the Crychan Forest Association (CFA) and the Welsh Fell Runners Association, assisted by local Forestry Commission Wales staff.
With its many miles of waymarked trails which have become popular among horseriders, walkers and cyclists, Crychan Forest offers wide-ranging opportunities for recreation and enjoyment.
The trails have become the pride of the local community, with the CFA signing up to an agreement with FC Wales to help look after the trails by monitoring them and carrying out minor maintenance work.
FC Wales Local Area Manager Brian Hanwell said, “What a brilliant day! To see so many runners of all ages enjoy this first ever event was so rewarding.
“These trails are a perfect example of what can be achieved when a community pulls together and we are delighted to have been able to work with them to produce something we can all be proud of.”
Races were held around Cefn Farm and ranged from 0.5 miles up to eight miles with 1,600 feet of climb. Llandovery Mayor Nigel Burgess and his wife Dorothy handed out prizes.
NOTES TO EDITORS
About 14% of Wales is covered by woodlands. Of this, 38% (126,000 hectares/311,000 acres) is owned by the Welsh Assembly Government.
Forestry Commission Wales is the Welsh Assembly Government’s department of forestry and manages these woodlands on its behalf.
For more information on the Crychan trails, contact Brian Hanwell on 01558 690314, mobile 07879 848441.
More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on www.forestry.gov.uk/wales
Media enquiries to Forestry Commission Wales Information Officer Clive Davies on 0300 068 0061, mobile 07788 190922.