Paul’s Blog – Snowdon Marathon – Posted 26-10-14

Simply a great race & day from all points of view. With over 2,700′ of ascent (& lets not forget the same amount of descent for those increasingly tired quads) this is no City Marathon so I think we all deserve a pat on the back for just taking it on. I have to say we received plenty of hand patting from the multitude of kids & other spectators as we slowly meandered our way around the Snowdon massif (‘Slowly’ does not do justice to the eventual winner Alun Vaughan of Eryri Harriers who blitzed the course in just 2:40:10, how?). First woman home was Andrea Rowlands another Eryri athlete coming home in 3:08:53, a good day for Eryri who had 36 runners taking part in a field of over 2,000.

As for me I started faster than planned but felt good on the climb up Llanberis Pass, lost a few places as normal on the descent to reach the halfway mark at Beddgelert feeling reasonably O.K. but worried that I might have overcooked it for the challenges ahead.

These fears were initially unfounded as I began to make some progress through the field. In truth I was slowing down but only gradually. Then my worst fear hit, as soon as the steep climb into Waunfawr village at the 22 mile mark arrived my legs seemed to implode. My lungs wanted to do it but they seemed to belong to a different body to my legs. I ploughed on but eventually about halfway up the game was up & I broke into a walk, I at least wasn’t alone. Any thoughts about sub 3:30 went in an instant, completion was now the only goal, well O.K. I was thinking of sub 3:40 too!

A mixture of Walk/Run/Walk… saw me eventually reach the top only to lapse in concentration early on the descent leaving me sprawled out on the ground, thanks to the Sarn Helen runner (I think Andrew Davis) who called out in concern, thankfully only pride damaged & a bruised knee today to show for it.

Hitting the tarmac finally allowed my road shoes (or what’s left of them) to shine & despite tiredness I felt like I was flying on the final descent into Llanberis where a rapturous reception from a huge crowd spurred us onto the finish which was thankfully not too far on from the last corner. Stephen Edwards gave me a shake of the hand as I crossed the line before John & Marion found me literally draining of energy by the second to escort me first to a Cafe & then back to my car at a snails pace.

My time of 3:38:56 was well within my target of 3:50 & placed me 266, most pleasing of all was despite my struggles from Waunfawr onwards I had made up more than 80 places on the second half so the pain wasn’t entirely in vein. All that said the biggest achievement was just being there & feeling the comaraderie from so many other people be they runners or spectators, I think I’ll be back (although I am currently reading a book by Richard Asquith of Feet in the Clouds fame that might lead me into the 4th stage of running by next year, unlikely that I’ll mature that quickly though).

My reward was hugs & kisses from Dorina & Gaby & yes you guessed it a late afternoon & evening of Pot Washing, their kindness knows no boundaries!!

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