More than 90 competitors from far and wide, ideal underfoot conditions and large crowds basking in warm sunshine were the ingredients for a hugely successful 37th annual Ras Beca over a gruelling five-mile course in the Preseli Hills of North Pembrokeshire on Saturday.
There was some optimism over the course record of 32 minutes 5 seconds set in 1995 by former St Dogmaels triathlete Aled Rees being broken but in the event the first runner home James Wood of Staffordshire was six minutes slower than Rees 19 years ago.
Afterwards there were many runners and spectators who felt the record, which has never been seriously threatened, could stay intact for many more years.
Wood (37) who was taking part in his first Ras Beca finished in 38 minutes 5 seconds with 41-year-old Sarn Helen runner Daniel Hooper coming home in second place in a time of 38 minutes 50 seconds with Glyn Price of Sarn Helen in third.
The race - first run in 1977 – commemorates the nineteenth century Rebecca Riots when farmworkers disguised as women smashed tollgates across the country.
In line with tradition the winner who represented Staffordshire Moorlands and runner-up used axes to smash their way through symbolic tollgates at the finish.
The first woman home was Nerys Jones of Tygwyn Farm, Ferwig, a corporal in the Army who was home on leave. The former Ysgol Uwchradd Aberteifi pupil, who finished in 44 minutes 16 seconds, is better known as a world skier who regularly represents the Army.
She won from Aneura Phillips of Trefigin Farm, Monnington and Eleri Lindsey of Newport Pembs.
As well as a big turnout for Ras Beca there were a total of 65 children in the Ras Mochyn Du run over a mile which preceded the big race.
Senior male under 40: 1 James Wood; Senior female under 40: Nerys Jones; Senior male over 40: Daniel Hooper; Senior female over 40: Sarah Tagg; Veteran male over 50: Calvin Williams; Veteran female over 50: Jane Williams; Veteran male over 60: Gordon Orme; Veteran female over 60: Hazel Davies; Local male: John Collier; Local female: Efa Jones; Team of four from Athletic club: Sarn Helen; Team of four non-athletic club: Lantood Selects.
Ras Mochyn Du: Girl under 8: Fion Oasley, Clarbeston Road; Boy under 8: Adrian Williams, Cardigan; Girl Under 11: Grace Morris, Llangrannog; Boy under 11: Daniel Jones, Cwmann; Girl Under 14: Lisa Martin, Maenclochog; Boy under 14: Steffan Rees, Eglwyswrw; Boy under 16: Osian Thomas, Eglwyswrw.
The trophies were presented by Ras Beca chairman Ceri Davies of Brynberian.