When we signed up for the event we both said that we'd be more than happy with a time of 6 hours or under. We're happy with today's run.
After a bit of tweeking and adding some weights disks we got both our packs as close as we could to the weight requirement. My pack weighed 37lbs and Stuarts was 34lbs then we added 3 litres of water each and each had 4 gels, Stuart added a massive pack of Haribos while I added 2 medium packs of Wine Gums. We walked up the steep parts leading up to Corn Du, only running along the flat part and down to the river, then walking again along the path that skirts around Corn Du summit. When we joined the path that runs up from the car park instead of the phone box we started running again and arrived at Pen y fan summit 57 minutes after leaving the phone box. The weather up there was absolutely abysmal. Anyone thinking of doing the Fan Dance or just walking up Pen y fan even in summer needs to take good waterproofs, a warm hat and gloves as well as any emergency equipment needed.... I wish I'd remembered my gloves, my hands were so cold I couldn't rip open my energy gel. We carefully made our way down the stream that was Jacobs Ladder only feeling that it was safe to run when we had got almost to the bottom. We passed a number of people on the Roman road and as Stuart was in front of me I heard quite a few comments from the people who didn't realise I was running close behind him like 'OMG He's mad' or 'WOW'. The comments kept me smiling anyway. We made it to the turn around point in exactly 2 hours, twenty minutes quicker than last time, we allowed ourselves a 10 minute break and we started running again. The running however was short lived.
Stuart had decided to try a different pair of boots, which are much lighter than his hiking boots which are HEAVY. The sole on these boots is great for running on nice tarmac paths where they offer a VERY high degree of comfort. The paths on the Fan are designed to trip you up and smash every bone in your body when you hit the deck, so Stuart was feeling every single uneven stone and this put unnecessary strain on his feet which transferred to his legs and ultimately his knees, which he suffers from anyway. So we basically walked back from the half way point. Even though Stuart was obviously in pain he would not give up and we still walked at a fairly fast pace. Going around the bottom of Cribyn heading back towards Jacobs ladder I 'bonked', right at that moment I would have been more than happy to sit down and stay there, freezing in the torrential rain and howling wind. This is where the energy gel saved me and I'm so glad I'd decided to take them. I greedily slurped down a gel and eat a huge mouthful of Wine Gums, within 2 minutes I was ready to RUN up Jacobs ladder, in fact, just to take the mickey out of Stuart I told him I'd meet him at the top and I ran off 20 yards. I stayed with him all the way back to the Storey Arms though. At the top crossing the Summit of Pen y fan the temperature had dropped and combined with the fact that I was soaking wet and the wind chill factor I really started to feel cold, I just wanted to get off that mountain. Going down the hill you would assume would be quite easy... No, it's not! The extra strain that was put on my knees soon took it's toll and my left knee started to hurt, I couldn't straighten it at all, plus by this time I had started to shiver quite badly IN JUNE!!! We were both so glad to get back to the Storey Arms and change into dry clothes in the van, we even abandoned our plans to walk back up to Wild camp just below Corn Du. We had been on the hill for 5 hours and 35 minutes. One and a half hours quicker than the point where we gave up last time plus we'd actually completed the full route. OK not a record time but a PB for us which we still hope to improve upon, and under race conditions with the camaraderie of everyone involved in the Fan Dance and decent boots, I see no reason why we couldn't improve on this time.