It was humans versus horsepower at the 33rd Race The Train event on Saturday (20 August) in mid Wales. This unique race attracts runners from across the UK and overseas, all of whom try to beat the train. Many come back year after year to do that or to improve upon their times whilst being encouraged by friends and family along the route.
Race the Train has grown in popularity to the extent it has featured on television and in the media, appealing to serious runners as well as the less competitive. The event is organised by The Rotary Club of Tywyn who fundraise via this for the Odyssey Project, helping and supporting people with cancer.
The runners compete against a steam train on the preserved Talyllyn Railway, trying to outpace it as it makes it way up the valley to Abergynolwyn and back. It is a tough, off-road event with this year’s challenge made even more difficult by the stormy weather conditions; however, this did not spoil the enjoyment of those who took part.
There were four distances to choose from that included 3.5 miles, 5.5 miles, 10K and 14 miles. The course record for the 14 miles (Rotary Challenge) is 1:18:15 (men) and 1:34:20 (women) with cash prizes for runners who beat these times.
Paul Green of Sale Harriers beat the train and won the Rotary Challenge in 1:28:14. Jenny Latham of Wakefield Harriers also beat the train and was first lady in 1:41:56.
The train finished in 1:45:00.
Joseph Pollard of Charnwood AC won the 10K (Quarry Challenge) in 40:51. Sian Powell was first lady in 48:14 with both runners beating the train.
The train finished in 55:00.
The course record still stands.