A good contingent of striders made the trip to Llanberis for the Snowdonia Trail Marathon and Half-marathon on 23rd July 2017.
The Marathon started at 9:00am, half an hour before the Half Marathon to spread the runners out a little. Leaving Llanberis, the route climbed out onto a bridleway before splitting off for a fast descent through grass and some marshy areas. Earlier runners had a little advantage of not queuing as long on stiles for as long as later runners. The route then carried on to a more technical rocky area through wooded areas next to a lake and camping areas. In places here, it was already a scramble (clamber up/down rocks), and this was a gentle insight to some of the ascent of the mountain. Later on runners had the pleasure of the nature reserves before a slab step climb up to Pen-y-Pass. This was the start of the real climbing and runners started looking more fatigued. Runners with hands on hips, stretching off and taking a breather was becoming more common. Luckily the last oasis of orange slices, water and snacks was at the car park to revitalise runners before the real climb began. For those who haven’t gone up Snowdon from Pen-y-Pass, it climbs up steeply with the odd flat technical section with a mixture of scrambling, rocky running and slabs to climb. Over exert here and you can lose speed on the descent due to cramps and massive fatigue. Once at the top, the fun begins if the quads can handle it. A cobbly quick-footed descent takes you down at a fair gradient parallel to the railway. Clive Kent and Katie Hateley used this section to their advantage to gain tens of places in the standings, with Katie finishing 6th in the V40 category and 14th lady overall. Once more a very steep quad burning descent on the road takes you into Llanberis for the eventual run into the field with high-fives to the waiting crowd and a super atmosphere. Clive and Katie were followed in by Mick Atton, Paul Geeson, John Houghton and a very happy Brian Walkling (complete with trademark double wave).
The half-marathon started 30 minutes after the marathon and climbed steadily out of Llanberis to the south, soon leaving the town on a good trail. After a nice muddy descent the routes split, with the half picking up the Snowdon Ranger path that climbs up the south side of the mountain, steeply in places, to reach the junction with the Llanberis path at about 6 miles. The clouds lifted just in time to get a view from the top, with stunning effect, before the delights of the downhill commenced. Once back in Llanberis, and within sight of the finish, the half-marathon has a sting in the tail – a flight of stairs to the top of the quarry in Padarn country park.
The climb is rewarded by great views of the town and lakes back across towards Snowdon and there are some slippery sections in the woods. The final run in is more straightforward and there was good support as we crossed the finish line and collected our t-shirts, medals and a welcome range of snacks and drinks. Luke Eggleston was first home in the half-marathon, finishing in 21st place. He was followed by Mike Bryan, Louise Houghton, Dan Howley and Sarah Lawrence. Celia Bown, Kaye and Carl Mead and Jenny Kent all finished together. Matt White, coming back from injury, completed the first 10 miles. Simon Bottrill unfortunately fell on the descent and had to walk back in.
[Clive and Jenny]
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