The Snowdonia Trail Marathon is not an event that should be considered lightly. Ascending 1,685 metres over 27 miles where you climb Wales' highest peak - Snowdon. The route explores Snowdonia National Park visiting Rhyd Ddu, Beddgelert, Nant Gwynant, Pen y Pass & Snowdon.
The Marathon started at 9am and after a brief run through the village centre we hit the first ascent which goes on for about 3.5 miles and is a brutal way to start the race. After finally reaching the top there is a brief downhill until you reach a turnstile, which is the only way to cross over one of the farmers land and because of that there was quite a que of people getting across. Once across the turnstile you can finally stretch your legs and get some downhill running, crossing over grass, bogs & rocks and you get to see some stunning views of the countryside. Not for long though as not far around the corner there is a slate hill where you have to climb over a huge pile of slate. After that climb we were running on flat land until the check point at 6 miles where there are toilets & refreshments. Once through the check point and realising how long it had taken to complete the first few miles I knew that I needed to get going if I was going to make the cut off at 2:15, which we were told was at 18.8 miles at Pen y Pass. The next 10 miles were undulating with plenty of turnstiles to climb over, hills to go up and down, stone tracks, gravel paths and thin trails to run through, the terrain was tough as you really needed to concentrate at all times. Around half way just after the next aid station we went through the beautiful village Beddgelert, where there were more toilets in the village & the route then continues around a stunning lake. At 17 miles I had 35 minutes till cut off and felt that this was enough time to get there on time, however I was not expecting that the next few miles were going to be so brutal! Incredibly steep hill that just seemed to go on and on and on and at 2.15 I was at 19 miles and the cut off was no-where in sight, feeling incredibly deflated I thought I had missed the cut off but just had to keep on going as I was determined to complete the race. I finally reached the check point at 2:28 and was happy to know that the cut off time had been extended until 3pm and so I was all good to carry on and I was told we were ok to go and that I was one of the last people to leave to climb Snowdon. All runners after us were told they could not continue. Now the hard work started, the first part of the climb is large rock boulders that you step up, once at the top we went around the side of the mountain and had 3 tough miles to the top. The inclines just kept on coming and coming and at some points you had to physically climb on your hands and knees to get up. Finally, I reached the top, absolutely shattered all I had in my head is that I needed to finish and I needed to finish as soon as I could and so from somewhere I managed to get the energy to run all the way to the finish, physically my body was absolutely broken but mentally I knew I was going to finish and so I put my big girls pants on and just ran. I finished in 9:22:13.
Important Info - There is always a compulsary kit for the Marathon and Ultra Marathon.
1.) Full waterproof body cover (top and trousers)
2.) Hats & gloves
4.) High energy snacks
5.) Mobile Telephone
6.) Sun Hat
7.) Foil Blanket
This year the day before the race they relaxed the kit saying that you did not need to bring waterproofs but you still needed body cover for top and trousers. This information came through as we were driving up and so I still ended up wearing waterpoofs as I did not have alternative kit with me.
Aid Stations - Water, isotonic drink, banana, oranges & jelly sweets.
All parking in Llanberis is cash only, they do not take cards and there is no change machine. Make sure you bring change so you are not having to run around panicing at the last minute looking for change like I did.
If you are looking to enter this race I would recommend entering the race early and get your accommodation booked nice and early as the accommodation sells out really quickly. I stayed at the Lake View Hotel which is 1.8 miles from the start, lovely Hotel that serves good food but a little far out to walk to the start if you are doing the Marathon or ultra. I previously stayed at Royal Victoria Hotel which is right by the start/finish line & I would definitely suggest this as an option. There is also plenty of parking here and it’s on the Ale trail.