Below is a rather interesting report form James Spray following his completion of the Snowdonia Trail Marathon
This is a ‘tough’, to say the least, race.
The website explains.
This is one of the UK’s most challenging trail races. The On Snowdonia Trail Marathon is a challenge in every sense of the word. Ascending 1,685 metres over 26 miles of iconic and spectacular trails, this epic race will circumnavigate and eventually climb Wales’ highest peak – Snowdon. The incredible route explores the trails, gorgeous panoramic views and tough climbs that make Snowdonia National Park such a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. Visiting Rhyd Ddu, Beddgelert, Nant Gwynant, Pen y Pass and Snowdon, there surely can’t be a more striking trail marathon route in the UK!
Winging it in Wales.
Snowdonia trail marathon.
When I booked this race a year ago I was fit, lean and injury free. Fast forward 365 days I’m the total opposite.
Although I’ve ran 3 marathons this year, none of these were with any conviction.
After beating Achilles tendinitis, I’m now living with a very niggly groin.
I picked up the boys on Saturday lunch time and Brendan came out of his house with 3 huge bags. Thought he was moving out. He certainly comes prepared.
After about 3 hours we arrived at Llanfairpwllgwyngyll (I know, what a mouth full. Nicknamed it piggy wiggle for short)
Our hotel looked very inviting from the outside……then we went inside…………….
It was very dated. The rooms just made me laugh out loud how old fashioned they were but we weren’t bothered.
After a quick pint we drove to zipworld where Deano, Fordy and I had booked to ride Europe’s fastest and longest zip slide.
This didn’t disappoint. What an experience. The colour of adrenaline is without question brown!!
Back to faulty towers for a few more beers and some tea. The food was actually very nice but the Barman could not pour a pint of Guinness for toffee!
Called it a night about 10 and after an horrendous nights sleep in an awful bed it was race day.
Dean and I devoured a full English brekky and we headed off to the race village to pick up our numbers.
We found the car park but frustratingly there were large queues for the paying machines and a lot of confused faces.
It wouldn’t except notes, kept saying ‘void’ for contactless and chip and pin.
We eventually paid over the phone taking to a robot. What ever happened to a pensioner in a cabin with a newspaper to pay?
Anyway, we made the race brief and picked up numbers with 10 mins to spare.
At the start we saw a fellow Sinfin runner in Duncan Cowie. Bren, Dunc and I agreed to get round together. Duncs has a niggly injury also. Plan was to enjoy it and finish in one piece.
The klaxon went off at 9am and we began our journey through a small village, Llanberis with many supporters were cheering and clapping.
Half a mile in we came to out first hill. Half a mile in, we were walking. The sun was shining and I was sweating.
This is gunna be a long day I thought. About 4 miles in it started to get a bit technical.
One minute you were running on a huge pyramid made of slate, the next rolling country side with stray rocks and boggy areas.
Gunna be a long day alright.
We ran through picture postcard village and round beautiful lakes.
We chatted about sport, music and work and the early hours flew by.
I knew this race was going to get very difficult, very soon.
We went through woodland and the rocks were getting more and more present. You have to keep your wits about you with every footstep.
Mile 18 came and I took a deep breath. Here she is. The pyg (pig) track. We’re going UP!!!!
The ascent was something else. It was relentless. Kept going and going. We were faced with jagged rocks that you had to get on all fours on and climb. It was very scary in places. Every footstep had to be right. It would of tested Spider-Man.
The track was very busy with walkers out in large numbers.
It’s so different to other races. If you want to pull out, you can’t without climbing all the way back.
I looked at my watch, a mile bleeped on my Garmin. 30 minutes.
It took me 90 minutes to climb 3 miles…
And I still wasn’t at the top.
Finally made it up and was I relieved. Quick photo at the top and a drink then I thought wow I’ve got to go down now!
The descent was tricky on very tired legs but we walked most it. I was still tripping over rocks and losing concentration.
One minute I nearly went flying. How I stayed up was a miracle. I could of done some serious damage.
When we finally made it off the rock and slate path we got to road which felt vertical. More descent.
Quads and calf’s in the hurt locker now.
We could see the race village and hear the mc. Not far now, I’d already clocked 27 miles on my watch.
We reached the bottom of the hill and the Marshall said ‘you’ve not finished yet’ another mile was to be ran through more woods.
We finished together, collected medals and high fived.
That was brutal.
I walked more than I ran and I climbed more than I walked.
Yesterday I was a mountain goat and the groins no worse.
Dean and Ian flew round. Massive kudos there.
I respect anyone who’s ran a marathon (in any time)
Have slightly more for anyone who’s been round that!
Did I enjoy it? yes!
Would i do it again? Doubt it
Would I recommend it? For sure.
Toughest, most technical marathon I’ve ever done.
We returned to the car, showered at the ritz and went out for a night in Menei Bridge. A quaint little village a few miles away. We ate like kings and drank like vikings and giggled all night.
Wales you were special.
Until the next one.