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Hanes y ddau Paddy

On August 30, St David’s College’s very own Matthew (Math) Roberts set a new record for fell running the Paddy Buckley Round, with a time of 16 hours 37 minutes, incredibly taking nearly an hour off the former record of 17 hours and 31 minutes. The Paddy Buckley has a fierce reputation and covers 47 summits, 28,000ft (8,500m) of ascent, and 61 miles, all in Snowdonia, where Mr. Roberts is from.

Roberts, who is a geography teacher at the school, is somewhat of an inspiration to many of our pupils and has in recent years nurtured many young cross-country stars, some of whom have gone to run for Wales.

During lockdown, he said he began to “appreciate” where he lived to “a far, far deeper extent”. Living at the foot of the Carneddau meant he could run in the mountains through the whole lockdown.

He decided to tackle the Paddy Buckley the first time around after spotting a weather window between the six weeks of rain that followed the easing of the lockdown. At all stages apart from the first solo leg from Llanberis, Roberts was joined by a group of his loyal friends, to provide support and pacing. By the fourth stage, Roberts was some 20mins down on the record, so hope was gone but he continued. Then miraculously at the foot of the Wyddfa climb, his body seemed to as he described it “miraculously jettison into gear”. By the time he got to Llanberis, Roberts was only six minutes slower than the record, and within hours he decided on another attempt and this time around he was determined to “emaciate the record”.

Roll on to Sunday, August 30, and the best weather forecast since the easing of lockdown. A troop described memorably by Roberts as “stronger than the Russians sent to the Donbas” was assembled, all planned, and managed with a similar level of military efficiency.

“It’s a special feeling to hold this local and iconic record - though I doubt I’ll hold it for long,” said Matt Roberts.

“Perhaps a few weeks – over around that I’m hesitant to call an ‘ultra’, more so a good, long fell run.”

He added: “To have two opportunities within a month and to complete it with the essential help of my girlfriend Emma, some really close friends and family is even more special and to top it all off, no poles were used! Take heed.”


St David's College

- Est. 1965 -

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