Y 100 Sir Fynwy to be a Virtual 100

It is with considerable sadness and regret that Y 100 Sir Fynwy Committee members have concluded that it is impossible to organise the annual Long Distance Walkers Association flagship event in 2021. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, huge uncertainties have materialised which make it impossible for the committee members to plan with confidence that the event can be successfully staged.

In March 2020 it was necessary to cancel Y 100 Sir Fynwy and the committee sought permission from the National Executive Committee to be allowed to defer the event until 2021. By March 2020, over three years’ work had already taken place and many, many hours of volunteer time had been spent putting together a plan that would have seen the successful staging of the Hundred in South East Wales. There was a hope at that time, that life would have quickly returned to normality and that the 2020 plan could be simply dusted off and reintroduced a year later. Sadly, that has not proven to be the case and there have been a number of barriers that have materialised.

The Government regulations in Wales are different from the rest of the United Kingdom and throughout 2020 it has never been possible to plan for an event of up to 500 entrants. Even with three vaccines now having been successfully trialled, the Government in Wales has not produced a timeline within a strategy that would enable event organisers to plan events in 2021 with any confidence. We have watched the news avidly, and the best guestimates are that the vaccine will not have been rolled out sufficiently in time for the event. All three vaccines require 2 doses, with 2-3 weeks between each dose and a further wait of at least a week before immunisation can be confirmed. Given the number of doses needing to be administered, it seems unlikely that a large enough number of people will have been successfully immunised by spring.

Of the eleven village halls that were booked for the event, only three have responded in relation to their venue being available in 2021 and the Walk HQ venue has stated that the school will only be available if the Welsh Government regulations allow.

The committee is aware that several LDWA members who would ordinarily be available to voluntarily marshal throughout the event will not be available due to health concerns / shielding and the entry numbers on the event are several hundred short of a break-even point for the event.

In order to successfully deliver the event, Y 100 Sir Fynwy committee would have had to start spending money on Walk HQ, transport, village halls and catering in advance of the event and the committee was very conscious that in 2020, entrants were required to forego £20 of their entry fee to cover the costs when entry fees were reimbursed. With so much uncertainty, Y 100 Sir Fynwy committee members felt that it would be irresponsible to spend entrants’ money without a guarantee that the event would be successfully staged.

Y 100 Sir Fynwy committee members were prepared to knuckle down, write a new plan and squeeze three years’ work into five months in order to deliver the event, but only if it could be deemed with absolute certainty that the event would be held. Regrettably, the committee concluded unanimously and with a very heavy heart, that Y 100 Sir Fynwy will be always known as the ‘Hundred That Never Was’ as the committee will not seek to defer the event until 2022. The committee wishes to express its thanks to the committees of the Trans Pennine 100, Elephant Bear & Bull 100 and Speyside 100 who so generously moved back one year in an attempt to see Y 100 Sir Fynwy staged. The committee also wishes to thank all LDWA members who have expressed their support to the committee and pledged their time for both the planned Marshals’ and main events.

The committee knows that this decision will upset a lot of people; having no Hundred for two consecutive years has never happened in the LDWA’s history and being a part of this statistic is not something that the committee wishes to be associated with. The committee applied to stage an event in a beautiful county, to show LDWA members a part of the UK that might be unfamiliar to many, to have an event with considerable variety ranging from the Gwent Levels to the lofty Black Mountains, to walk the Wales Coast Path and along two of Wales’ finest rivers in the Usk and Wye, and to have started and finished from the Norman border town of Chepstow. In the end, it just wasn’t possible. We’re sorry.

But, knowing that without a Hundred event being held in 2021, many LDWA members would miss out on the opportunity to complete their annual hundred mile achievement. Several members complete the annual hundred in order to achieve awards in relation to their overall number of completions, I.E. 10 / 20 / 30 / 40 awards. Y 100 Sir Fynwy Committee has worked with the National Executive Committee and agreed to host a virtual 100 mile event in 2021. It will be staged during the weekend (29-31 May 2021) when Y 100 Sir Fynwy was due to be held.

Entrants will enter via SI Entries and the entry fee will be £20. Entrants will be encouraged to walk an archived LDWA 100 mile event route, or create their own 100 mile route which could be one circular loop, a linear route (if travel arrangements can be made within the Covid-19 regulations at the time), or a route that follows multiple loops. Entrants will be expected to provide proof that they have walked their 100 mile route and evidence might be produced in the form of GPX tracks, witness statements, time stamped photos at different locations or receipts from shops or ATMs on their route.

There will be no qualification criteria and all LDWA members will be entitled to enter, including overseas members. All entrants will receive a certificate that was to be used for Y 100 Sir Fynwy and those that successfully walk the 100 miles will also receive the event badge. Any entrant that completes 50 miles and does so within 24 hours will be qualified for the 2022 Trans Pennine 100.

A Facebook Group will be created for the weekend and members will be encouraged to share their experiences, and to build a virtual event atmosphere as members challenge themselves in the relatively unsupported conditions during this unique LDWA virtual event. Finally, further information will also be available on the LDWA website Hundreds Forum.