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  • Snowdonia Marathon, 26th October – Llanberis, North Wales

    Report by Rob Shaw

    Alice and I hot-footed it down the Ms 74, 6 and 56 on a very wet and windy Friday night to get to Llandudno late to stay with friends on the eve of the Snowdonia Marathon. This run bills itself as the “UK’s toughest marathon”, with 2 hills at 1,100+ feet ascent each, and a third hill sneaked in between 13 and 18 miles that they don’t even mention! I had been suffering from my annual “virus”, so had only managed the Highland Cross and GWC 25 as my two recent runs, and Alice had managed perhaps three or four more short outings. No wonder then that I rose Lazarus-like on the Saturday morning still undecided about starting or not. However, an hour later we were standing at a very friendly and chatty start just outside Llanberis, with about 1,600 other hopefuls, about to trot up the Llanberis pass for the first 5 miles.

    The route turned out to be very scenic and enjoyable (if that’s the word) as it heads up and over and then down and round to Beddgelert, and eventually back over a monster-steep hill to Llanberis for a finish on the village streets. The support teams and water and feed stations were frequent and welcoming. We had parted company at the 5 mile mark, as I suddenly felt the ability to run more quickly, but the wheels did eventually come off at 22 miles. This is where the course ascends up a near vertical narrow tarmac road, which heads over a mountain and literally drops you into Llanberis at an equal rate of descent, down some fields, and then a concrete/tarmac slipway. The walk up was cold and miserable as the rain came on, but the descent did allow running of a fashion again, albeit with tired quads.

    I was more than happy with a 4:27 finish, and Alice rocked up shortly after in 4:46, putting us mid-table or thereabouts, and the winner, Rob Samuel (2:43) was by this time back at home with his feet up – he was injured apparently, hence the slow time! A couple of hot chocolates and then a drive-through Mcdonalds back at Conwy soon sorted us out, before a great Indian meal in Llandudno later.....

    The route and details are here and we can heavily recommend it for next year for anyone who fancies it.

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