Even though Rob Samuel was unable to defend his title at Sunday’s Snowdonia Marathon due to injury, Alun Vaughan ensured a fellow Welshman would retain the crown with an emotional victory at Sunday’s race. Almost 2,000 runners descended on the start line at Llanberis for an event that is known as the jewel in the crown of Welsh racing.
While Samuel couldn’t compete, the three-times champion was in attendance as race starter for the 32nd staging of the marathon. Vaughan set a quick early pace with Poole Runners’ Ceri Rees, winner of the Kielder Marathon for the past three years.
Rees, however, was forced to withdraw after 12 miles through injury, leaving Vaughan as the leading runner. As he crossed the finish line in 2:40:10 and received plaudits from the crowds and media, Vaughan broke into tears when his achievement finally sank in.
Vaughan commented on how much the victory meant: "I have grown up watching this race in Llanberis, and I never really imagined that I would be able to win it. It went really well out there today, though I did think that as I had to go with the pace of Ceri for the first half that I went a little too quick early on! Still none of that matters now, as I have won the Snowdonia Marathon, which is amazing."
Wales enjoyed further success in the women’s competition as Andrea Rowlands improved on her third place showing at last year’s event to take victory. The Eyri Harriers runner finished in 3:08:52, with Lucy Warmsley in second (3:11:43) and Angharad Mair in third (3:18:20).
Race organiser Jayne Lloyd later commented: “I have only just stopped crying! This means so much to us at this race to have two great winners. For me personally I have seen Alun grow up and taste success over the years at such races as Ras yr Wyddfa. This really is one of Wales’ premier road races and sporting events of any kind and has helped bring so much to the local economy over the years - this year more than ever I suspect. “