The Scott Snowdonia Trail Marathon made an impressive debut with over 750 runners taking part in the inaugural event on Sunday (26 July). Organised by Always Aim High Events, the race, which included a half marathon, started and finished in Wales’ adventure capital, Llanberis, and took in some spectacular trails through Snowdonia National Park.
In addition to the challenging terrain, the field were faced with seriously tough weather conditions throughout the day. First to cross the line was Stuart Waker, who finished in 4:04:04, with Sale Harriers’ Callum Rowlinson second (4:09:20) and Sam Orton in third (4:14:31). In the women’s competition, Katie Beecher took first place and fifth overall in 4:28:38, with her closest rival, Zoe McLennan, finishing in 5:11:01.
Post race Stuart Walker of Team Accelerate Scott said: "I deliberately started slowly and gradually worked my way forward during the first section of the race. When the full and half marathon routes split I was in a group with three other guys but we soon heard that there was a lone runner five minutes out in front. Sam Orton and I got a gap on the others (despite a nervous minute's wait at a level crossing!) and ran together till Bedgellert, when I pulled away a bit. I think the gap in front was 15 minutes at Pen-y-pass but I knew the mountain was my best chance and tried to run as much of the climb as possible.
"I had no idea if I was catching or not so was a bit surprised when the marshals told me the gap at the top was down to 60 seconds! I took the lead just after the summit and ran hard down the descent to try to get a lead. The last section through the woods was painful and felt never-ending, I couldn't see behind me so was worried I'd be caught, but finally I saw the 400m to go sign and believed I was going to do it! Crossing the line was a great moment and it was really nice to share it with my wife and the other Team Accelerate-Scott guys”.
In the half marathon, Team Scott Sports runner Dan Doherty proved to be too strong for his competitors as he recorded an impressive time of 1:48:38 to finish ahead of the Team Accelerate Scott pair of Julian Ling (1:49:29) in second and Chris Shelton in third (1:53:16).
Enid Gruffudd led the female field home in 2:20:36 and was consequently crowned the first ever women’s Snowdonia Trail Half Marathon champion. Ingrid Storm (2:24:18) and Elizabeth Woolridge (2:26:24) finish behind her in second and third respectively.
Events Manager, Rob Samuel, was delighted with the days racing and was thrilled by how many runners had taken part: “We have had an absolutely fantastic day here at Llanberis – the level of support has been amazing, and the racing has been superb. The event was sold-out within months of opening entries, which is great. The feedback from the competitors has been overwhelmingly positive - the amount of people who have said they loved the race is incredible, it’s been great – I can’t wait until next year already!
Rob added: “The weather made for some tough and incredibly challenging conditions out there today but the runners dealt with it magnificently. To be able to complete the Snowdonia Trail Marathon is one thing, but to be able conquer it in today’s conditions is something really special! I would also like to extend a massive thank you to all the runners, supporters, incredible volunteers and the local people of Llanberis, without them we couldn’t do it!”
Photo of Stuart Walker courtesy Ben Hale @acceleratephoto