Many will be aware that there used to be an "overall record" prize for Pen y Fan that had risen by £100 per year for the past 12 years and was standing at £1200 in 2018 (in similar manner to the way the "Man vs Horse" winner's prize was raised each year). The original reasoning for this was that Keith Anderson's 30-minute record was said to be unbeatable, so it seemed a bit of fun to try to entice top class runners with a growing prize. The ladies record being 27.5% slower was said to be relatively achievable and so didn't get this roll-over. But as time went on this discrepancy became more stark and inappropriate. The "incentive" didn't even work - winning times in recent years have not been getting faster, even when this prize was becoming quite a significant sum.
So for 2018 the record prizes are equal, set at £100 for F and M alike. Because this is a last minute decision, it does mean there's no "big money" on offer. Why...? Well, basically we cannot risk any extra financial exposure on the club or the race at short notice. There's no ring-fenced prize fund sitting there with £1200 in it, or obviously we could just say £600 M and F. When we took on this race in 2006 the idea was this fund would be contributed to by sponsors, but in practice that only happened for one year, and after that the promised prize kept going up anyway, without anyone really thinking about how we'd pay it - the record was so unbeatable, it was never going to happen! I remember telling the club AGM that if necessary I'd cover any shortfall from my own pocket, knowing I was more likely to get hit by an asteroid. But the women's record, while very good and long-standing, is eminently beatable, so the chance of having to pay out is very real. We couldn't cover any payout more than £100 from the race budget, and even £100 would be a stretch. In 2018 we're facing a new unexpected charge of about £100 from National Trust (which is fair enough as we are using their land and they do expensive footpath maintenance etc), and those who love the Pen y Fan Race will know we give people a lot for their very small entry fee (£5 for most runners, of which we get £4.50ish).
Looking to the future, well we have always put any race profits back into the club funds, and we will soon discuss this issue at Mynydd Du club level to set an appropriate prize level for the future. As organizers we'd love to be able to offer a serious prize for breaking the records at this iconic race, but we have to use the race revenues and club funds responsibly in consultation with others.
We look forward to seeing everyone over the weekend, and please do be well hydrated before the races, and take fluids with you.
Crispin's top tip for running in the heat: an hour before the race drench your head and vest in cold water, and keep doing this about every ten minutes. Do it again just before the start. You should feel really cold, but payback comes in the race.