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Vaughan keeps the Welsh flag flying at Snowdonia Marathon Eryri

by Press Release
Monday 27th October 2014

Race report: 32nd Snowdonia Marathon Eryri - October 25, 2014

32nd Snowdonia Marathon Eryri - October 25, 2014 © Gwynfor James Sportpictures Cymru

Photos © Gwynfor James Sportpictures Cymru

After three years of glory at Wales' premier marathon, Rob Samuel reverted to race starter at the 32nd Snowdonia Marathon Eryri, with an enforced absence due to injury. It was apt therefore that the winning streak for Welsh athletes at this iconic race was extended to four straight wins, as Llanberis man and Welsh international Alun Vaughan took one of his most famous race victories. 

In the women's event there was to be more success for Wales as 2013 third placer Andrea Rowlands who went two better than last year to take a fantastic win, dominating from the third mile and taking the title by almost three minutes as she crossed the line in Llanberis.

The day dawned to familiar weather conditions at this famous event with the the first two hours of the race being relatively dry and blustery, though as the event wore on high winds and heavy rain showers returned to add that little bit of extra spice to the race which takes in almost 3000ft of climbing over its 26 arduous miles. 2014 once again saw the race rise to new levels of popularity with 2500 entries and almost 2000 runners setting off at 10.30am just outside of the village of Llanberis, now considered the 'outdoor capital of Wales' due to the preponderance of sporting events over the course of the year.

Following on from his win at Trail Marathon Wales in 2014 and having changed his training methods since a disappointing race at the Snowdon International mountain race in July, Vaughan went into the race with high hopes that he could return to his marathon form of two years ago which saw the Eryri Harrier record a PB of 2 hours and 24 minutes at the London Marathon. Of course Marathon Eryri is not about times and any ambitions a runner has of challenging their PB on this course are quickly dispelled after the first 5 miles to the Pen y Pass checkpoint. It was here that the 2014 race contenders started to show their mettle, with Vaughan running just behind early race leader Ceri Rees from Poole Runners.

However, as the race unfolded over the next 12 miles Rees was to succumb to an injury which resulted in him having to return to Llanberis in the medical support vehicle, eventually unable to finish. This left Vaughan out on his own at 16 miles with his lead at over 5 minutes to Neath man Steve Rees. From here on it was a matter of holding his form and keeping his nerve over the last 10 miles, and as he entered the High Street and the awaiting crowd and media scrum with tears in his eyes the realisation dawned on Vaughan of his achievement.

His time of 2:40:10 was almost immaterial as he lifted the Forte trophy in front of what was deemed the biggest ever crowd in Llanberis for this famous race. Behind Steve Rees claimed an excellent second place, with Cybi Strider and Snowdonia first-timer Harvey Wharton claiming third.  

In the women's race Rowlands also crested Pen y Pass in first place, and from this point onwards was head and shoulders above the competition, leading through all of the checkpoints. The Mochdre women had competed in seven previous editions of the race, but never had she performed so well and so convincingly, coming home to win in 3:08:52. Behind her there was a great battle for the places, with Lucy Warmsley, wife of 5-time winner Dennis, taking the silver medal. Former GB international and now Welsh TV presenter Angharad Mair had never previously embarked on this super tough race, however she was able to re-show some of her obvious pedigree by taking third place and the over-50 category prize. 

Speaking after the race Rowlands stated: "This is my 8th time at this race, and I have been really training hard and targeting the event. I knew I was in good form after my win at the Trail Marathon Wales race in June and I was confident that I could do well here today. It's a fantastic feeling to be able to finally win this race!"

For Alun Vaughan victory was sweet and it was obvious how much the race win meant, he commented: "I have grown up watching this race in Llanberis, and I never really imagined that I would be able to win it. I have been running since I 10 years old and this is by far the most satisfying race for me. It went really well out there today, though I did think that as I had to go with the the pace of Ceri for the first half that I went a little too quick early on! Still none of that matters now, as I have won the Snowdonia Marathon, which is amazing."

Race organiser Jayne Lloyd was obviously emotional as she handed Alun the winners trophy on the High Street, later stating: “I have only just stopped crying! This means so much to us at this race to have two great winners and for me personally I have seen Alun grow up and taste success over the years at such races as Ras yr Wyddfa.  This really is one of Wales’ premier road races and sporting events of any kind and has helped bring so much to the local economy over the years - this year more than ever I suspect. The feedback from all runners after the event has been immense too and very humbling, from the front to the back of the race. 

“The whole organising and volunteer teams were amazing as ever and I couldn't begin to know where to start in thanking every single one of them. We had some great backing once again from our sponsors and partners, and the communities in Llanberis and on the whole of the route came out once again to make this one of the friendliest and best-supported races in the whole of the UK. I'm so grateful to all involved and proud of this event, which seems to go from strength to strength every year!"

Men's results

1 Alun Vaughan  Eryri Harriers 2:40:10
2 Steve Rees Neath Harriers  2:44:58
3 Harvey Wharton   Cybi Striders 2:45:26
4 Keith Macintosh Wimbledon Windmillers  2:46:26
5 Jamie Loxam  Maldwyn Harriers 2:48:18 


Women's results

1 Andrea Rowlands  Eryri Harriers 3:08:52
2 Lucy Warmsley Bourton Roadrunners 3:11:34 
3 Angharad Mair Les Croupiers 3:18:20
4 Mary Grace Spalton Belgrave Harriers 3:19:52
5 Caitlin Rice   Glossopdale Harriers 3:20:03


Click here for full results


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