Snowdon Race

Back to Llamberis for my second run of this, the 35th, Snowdon Race. AM 10 miles 3300 feet.

A popular race with 500 entrants from around the globe running. And, particular excitement as this year Kenyan runner Wilson Chemweno was expected to turn up and have a go at Kenny Stuarts 1985 record. They'd even dragged Kenny down from Cumbria to start the race.

As you can see from the promo video it has the feel of a "big" race. We all wore timing chips, got a free tshirt and the event was even being televised by Welsh TV channel S4C. Also like a big race there were plenty of spectators around to give support.
The route itself starts from Padarn park with a shortish road section before picking up the well trodden Llamberis path all the way to the summit. As it's a public footpath and it's the highest peak in Wales the path is littered with walkers especially towards the top where Snowdon ranger, Pyg and Miners tracks merge with the race route. Most of the walkers try and stay out of the way, some of them don't. Most of the walkers are wrapped up in layers of waterproofing and have been battling the elements for hours to get to the top. They tend to have slightly confused looks on their faces as we run past in vest and shorts. Then there's other runners returning from the summit, whose wobbly legs haven't quite got used to running downhill after going up hill for 5 miles, so it makes for an interesting obstacle course towards the top. The last sting going up is the 10 or so steps up to the cairn. They seem unfeasibly large. Then follow the same route back, with wobbly legs, trying not to bump into any runners coming up.
Alistairs Fellrunning Pictures
The weather wasn't as nice as last year. Drizzle at the start and getting progressively worse the higher up you went. Still, I was ok in shorts and vest for the most part and only have about 10 minutes of discomfort towards the top so didn't bother getting my water proofs out. I didn't have any great expectations for my race. Just so long as I came in at around the same time as last year. I started right at the back, which was probably a bit of a mistake, then spent the first few minutes trying to get past people. I didn't really loose that many places going up but the people I'd been with did start to pull away from me towards the top. It felt like I had quite a good run down and I went past 59 other runners. I even managed a sprint in the last 50 yards to over take two runners having their own battle. In the end I was just over a minute and a half slower than last year but happy with the result. My running buddy Methuselah had less of a good time taking a tumble on the way down and stoically hobbled the rest of the descent to cross the line and finish the race. Others would have given up and been happy with a DNF. I don't know why but there seems to be more tumbles on this race than any other that I do. As well as Methuselah several other experienced fell runners tumbled on the way down including another friend Dylan. He got put on the train, with two other injured runners, by the medics.
I enjoyed the race. It was very well organised and I will probably try to get in again next year.
As for Wison Chemweno and Kenny's record ?
No where near ! He had a reasonable run up but lost 6 places on the way down. Asked after wards if he would return next year he said "Probably not. I hate the downhill". So I guess Kenny's record is safe for a while longer.


  1. Sounds like you ran a good race John - overtaking 59 on the way down is awesome. And a strong finish too - good stuff. Watch out Ian Holmes is all I can say ;)

    I guess it's the long descent and the steps and the uneven ground wot does it when it comes to the tumbles. I went flying last year. Overall, not as bad a descent as the Ben race tho I would imagine!!

  2. Thanks Matt but I don't think Holmesey has anything to worry about. Saw Mike on the descent. He looked to be going well too.

  3. You forgot to mention the free coaster we got at the end! Much more important than the t-shirt ;-)

  4. Nice one! You managed to stay shinny side up too.

    Which do you prefer the bigger races, the lower profile ones or do you just enjoy the difference?

  5. Hi Steve,
    I like the mixture. Cadir and Snowdon have the "big" feel about them with assosiated carnaval action.
    Big lakes runs have the people without the carnaval.
    And, the quiet Welsh races have a real underground feel to them.
    Like them all really.