2019 International Snowdon Race
Updated: Oct 9, 2020
The Snowdon International Race, is considered as being one of Europe’s toughest endurance challenges, a 10 mile race running to the highest highest mountain in Wales and England and back down again, starting and finishing in the village of Llanberis lying at the foot of Snowdon.
This year five Cambridge Harriers runners lined up for the race, Clem Dixon, Peter Hadley, Stephen Brown Graham Maynard and Christian Poulton. All of us apart from Graham having done the race previously and were looking forward to another go at one of the best and challenging races of the year.
This year, the 44th anniversary race, and was also one of the IAAF Mountain Running World Cup 201 (4rd race) qualifying races so somewhat more international than in previous years where the home nations, Ireland and Italy are usually the only international entries. The carnival atmosphere from the outset was fantastic and was completed by a full male welsh choir.
The weather the previous day and on the morning of the race was atrocious with high gusty winds and heavy rain. Those of us camping needed quite a bit of inducement to leave the relative comfort of our tents and make our way to the registration, however with the race starting 2 hours later than usual at the new time of 2pm the conditions improved dramatically and turned out ideal, slightly overcast and cool to start off with, which led to a bit of cloud at the top but cleared on the way down with the sun breaking through the cloud to leave us with a lovely sunny and warm afternoon.
As previously the when the race started the international leaders treated it as if it were a 5k race from the speed they set off. The pace inevitably slowed as we reached the first climb up the road towards the Llanberis path which weaves 5 miles up to the summit of Snowdon (1,085 m), and the field spread out when we reached the narrower and very rocky Llanberis ‘Tourist’ path. This is one of the most popular paths and tends to be overcrowded at times. This year was no exception making for sometimes difficult running when trying to avoid both walkers and speeding international athletes descending at speed.
The descent involves careful looking down, and lifting of the feet – shame not to be able to admire the view, but definitely necessary to take care. Unfortunately I miscalculated about a third of the way down and sprained my ankle so had to run back slowly with extra care and a grimace on my face for the remainder of the race.
Another fantastic race this year with a good performance from race newbie Graham who’s form is steadily improving month on month. We also had a few seconds of TV fame being shown on the S4C race highlights the following evening.