The Snowdonia Trail Marathon has four distances; 10k, half-marathon, marathon and ultra. I entered the ultra.
I knew some of the route and it seemed like a good race so I was pleased to be doing it. It starts and finishes in Llanberis in Snowdonia and loops south, anti-clockwise, going to Rhyd Ddu, Beddgelert Forest and Beddgelert, then north east to Nant Gwynant, before continuing north up the valley and round to the west to Pen Y Pass. From there, up Snowdon via the Pig Track and down the Llanberis Path to Llanberis.
I stayed overnight in the Llanberis YHA which was about half a mile outside the town.
It was an early start but the YHA was only a 10 minute walk from the start so that was convenient. I got there just after 6am and the race brief was at 6:15am.
As I stood at the start line, I noticed that one of my water bottles had sprung a small leak. This was annoying but the leak was only minor so I resolved to drink from that one first and just see how things went.
The race started at 6:30am and we set off through Llanberis, then past the YHA and up onto the hill.
It was a cool day with some lowish cloud but the visibility was OK, perfect running conditions as it was not particularly hot and there was not much wind.
The path was very good and the first couple of miles quickly passed. The first water stop was at about 2 miles which I didn’t bother stopping at.
We came out to a railway line at Rhyd Ddu.
We were quickly onto the next checkpoint where I topped up with water. They gave me some cling film to wrap up my leaking bottle. I wasn’t very convinced that this would be much use but I gave it a go. It soon became apparent that it wasn’t having any effect; so I would just have to put up with a leaking bottle.
From here we went round a lake headed for Beddgelert Forest.
There were a few miles in the forest and some quite boggy sections along with some less used paths.
We had quit a long climb across some rough ground.
When we got to the top, there was a steep descent that started on rocky, narrow trail, before turning to fire trail. As we descended down into the valley we found the railway line again.
Somewhere around here the ultra and marathon routes merged and there was suddenly a lot more people about.
Beddgelert to Pen Y Pass
We went through Beddgelert and another checkpoint and from there continued along the valley towards Nant Gwynant. I knew this area quite well.
There was another checkpoint at the far end of Nant Gwynant. It marked the start of the climb upto Pen Y Pass.
I had started to feel quite bad somewhere between Beddgelert and Nant Gwynant. My stomach was not feeling good so I slowed the pace down and waited for it to pass.
It was walking upto Pen Y Pass. It seemed to take a while to get there but I eventually did. I topped up with water at the checkpoint there and started out on the Pyg Track. As it was a Sunday there were plenty of people going up as well as coming down.
Pen Y Pass to Llanberis
I was feeling a bit better but still not great so I just took it steadily here and reached the top.
The actual summit of Snowdon was in cloud but the top of the Pyg Track was clear so we had great views. We picked up the Llanberis Path which follows the Snowdon Mountain Railway and started jogging down.
Initially my legs weren’t intereted in jogging but they eventually began to play. There was one more checkpoint part way down the path. After a quick stop I continued on, past the stone cafe and down towards Llanberis.
As we came off the hill, onto road, I could hear the sound system at the finish in the town. We levelled out and at a junction turned right, away from town. We had a small loop past Dolbadarn Castle before looping around and back to the finish.
The race was 37miles and took me 8 hours 54 minutes. I was 82nd of 155 starters / 147 finishers.
There was a nice medal and tee-shirt at the end.