So it was off to the beautiful Snowdonia again for the 20 mile, (query 22 or query 24 mile) Man Vs Mountain Event. The race began in the historical Caernarfon Castle for the 1211 runners, 1020 of these being male and a smaller number of 191 females. The weather was certainly on our side as I set off at 8.15am in the second wave of runners as we all attempted to squeeze through the castle fortress.
All of the runners were in good spirits which always creates a fantastic atmosphere and once again I chatted to various people, whether they wanted me to or not! The views were stunning and due to the fortune of clear weather you could see for miles which helped numb any pain that makes itself apparent as your legs realise once again what you are doing to them.
Just before you reach the summit you are clocked in to check no one is lost en route and then it’s your choice to go the wee bit further to the summit at 1085 metres. This, in my mind, is a no brainer especially on a sunny day. I hugged the summit and the only photo evidence I have of me being there was from a German Surgeon who took my picture, I also think he will be the only one with a copy!
I took the descent at a steady pace down into Llanberis and waved to the passengers on the train. The support from the many walkers visiting Snowdon was fantastic with lots of cheering on! Once I reached the 2nd Pit Stop, which was like a tuck shop that you physically felt unable to eat any of, I knew that I must be at around mile 18 which meant the Vertical 1km climb was coming up. I was lucky enough to have completed the Snowdon Half Marathon in July with Luke Eggleston so the route became familiar and then it dawned on me that myself and Luke had already encountered some of this 1km stinger of a climb!
The climb is timed for those crazy enough to run up it, apparently someone completed it in 10 mins! Once at the top I was clocked in again by a marshal and was told I was the 14th female, I could not believe my ears! So with hearing this and eating a lump of Kendal Mint Cake I was spurred on and started to pick my pace up. I reached the abseil area where your chip time is stopped due to any queuing and then picked up again at the bottom of the abseil.
Then came the water jump which I was dreading. After choosing your gang plank you jump into cold water from a height of about 17ft and then after getting your breath it’s a short swim to get out. Luckily friends were here cheering me on which was very much appreciated. Once out it’s a short run to some more water with some little obstacles and then another wee run before a 25 metre swim. At last I had completed the water part and was dragging, what now felt like, a very heavy body to the final 3 obstacles.
The first 2 were 7 foot walls, I utilised a metal rail to flop over in a very non-military fashion the 1st wall and then a kind chap offered a leg up for the 2nd, then the final obstacle was in site and with the use a of a rope I pulled myself over and then I leapt over the finish line! I completed the event in 4hrs 42mins and was the 8th female back. I was over the moon!
I have a huge thank you to say to all of the runners at Stilton Striders, because I can honestly say if it was not for your support and training there is no way I would ever have finished in such a time. Also being part of the team that completed the half and full marathon up Snowdon in July was also a huge learning curve, less wine the night before being one of them. So thank you all and bring on the next race! [Katie]