Report & Results of the 2017 Rhondda Rollercoaster Event

Rhondda Rollercoaster Report

2017 was another sell out year for the Rhondda Rollercoaster, and an exciting one from the perspective of the organising committee.In 2016, we saw a very large entry from LDWA non-members and we were really pleased to see that the majority completed the route by getting through the checkpoints within their opening and closing times. However, we were taken surprise i.e. by a large number of people who were clearly not capable of finishing and at the Llanwonno checkpoint we had a large contingent of entrants who missed the 5pm cut off time. We were not prepared and consequently we had to allow people to walk back to Trehafod which meant that as we were still awaiting people to return at 9pm, it was a very late finish.

So, for 2017, we created a new 16 mile route that we believed would be attractive to entrants who wanted to participate in our event, but would be able to do so without the added pressure of completing what is one of the hardest events in the LDWA calendar. We hired a minibus so that we were prepared and able to transport any entrants who did not make the cut off time from Llanwonno.

In addition, the creation of the 16 mile route would reduce the numbers on the 26 mile route, thus reducing the pressure on Ton Pentre checkpoint, a hall that is very small and in bad weather would be very uncomfortable for our entrants and volunteers combined.

We’re pleased to say that of the 78 people on the 16 mile route, all completed except for 1. We’re also pleased to report that the reduced number on the 26 mile route passing through Ton Pentre was a success.

We know that most of you had a fabulous day out and appreciated the efforts that take place to stage this event. It takes 10 months to bring everything together and can only be delivered because of the wonderful volunteers from the South Wales LDWA. We’re grateful for your feedback.

However, there is a sour taste to this year’s event. Despite our best efforts, we still had entrants arriving at Llanwonno after the 5pm cut off. Disappointingly, the entrants did not adhere to the volunteers’ wishes and continued to walk on, even though we had a minibus available. Some increased their walking speed considerably and did actually return before 7pm which makes us question their walking speed until they reached Llanwonno. This caused some difficulties for us. Whilst we understand the entrants’ disappointment at being timed out, the rules state that people must pass through the checkpoints within the opening and closing times. However, we are not immune to feedback, and despite using a checkpoint opening and closing calculator based on minimum and maximum walking speeds and height ascent, we will review the closing time at Llanwonno as the entrants had failed to get there by 5pm yet still managed to get to Trehafod by 7pm. We will also re-write our rules as we were advised that the rules were not clear. Those of you who have walked our events over many years know that we encourage a relaxed atmosphere. Our new rules will be very explicit so that there can be no ambiguity in the future.

We will also consider as to whether we should make the event a LDWA member only event as there is an etiquette to LDWA challenge events. What we don’t want to have to consider every year is how non LDWA members will cope on our tough Rhondda Rollercoaster. We all recognise that individually we have our personal challenges and that for some, the Rhondda Rollercoaster is a fabulous route that ticks all the boxes. We want to be inclusive, we want our entrants to have a superb day out, we want to highlight the wonderful organisation that the LDWA is, and we want to encourage non-LDWA members to join what we believe is the best kept secret in the walking community. We want our entrants to be fed and watered well and to achieve their objectives. But, we also need our entrants to be prepared both physically and mentally for the challenge that lies in front of them.

Results

The results can be viewed

See photographs on our Facebook page.

See you in 2018 in some format!

South Wales LDWA Committee

 

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