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Mel Parry

SCOTT Snowdonia Trail Marathon review

by RunningPip
Friday 29th July 2016
If I could choose anywhere in the UK to run a marathon, especially a trail marathon, I am pretty sure it would be here.  The course is brilliant, starting in Llanberis, it circumnavigates Snowdon, running you around some amazing trails, with fantastic views and some challenging climbs, before heading up and over Snowdon itself.
I had a place in the marathon, and travelled up from Oxfordshire to North Wales on Saturday morning.  Registration for the event was pretty high tech, with a bank of iPads waiting for you to help find you race number, and the staff all very friendly and helpful with kit recommendations for the forecast weather.  Fortunately the heat of the week had been replaced with a forecast of showers, so the mandatory list was full waterproofs, rather than sun cream and dehydration.
The day before the race, I was full of bravado, and determined to start near the front of the pack, since I knew the start was a long drag uphill for 4 miles up the Telegraph Valley trail.  This was perhaps a little foolish, considering my previous form.  Last time I ran a trail marathon, my legs gave up after 17 miles, (I had to be dragged across the line by the Editor) and on a previous attempt to run up Snowdon, I was overtaken by a charity walker dressed as Super Mario.  
Fortunately, a last minute toilet queue meant I was more middle than front, but even here, people were running up the hill!  I had forgotten, this was a marathon, not an ultra.  

Pip Snowdon 1

Struggling to keep up with the hill runners, it was a relief to get over the saddle and to run down the other side of the valley to pick up the Ranger Path. This is a lovely downhill section of trail that comes out on the road to Rhyd Ddu and, after a short stint on the tarmac, gets back on a gloriously undulating trail to Beddgelert.  
This is about half way, and from here the route goes around the back of Llyn Dinas, and Nant Gwynant, before starting the long and gradual climb up towards Pen y Pass.

Pip Snowdon 2

There were lots of supporters out at Pen y Pass, cheering us on as we started the last hill – up the Pyg Track and Snowdon. By this point, there weren’t too many competitors still running up the hill, and things slowed down a little as we all dragged ourselves up to the summit.

Pip Snowdon 3

Photo : Event Images by Mel Parry
Topping out, all that was left was the trot back down the Llanberis Path, back to the finish line in town.  Now the pace picked up a bit, and I lost of lot of places to people flying past in thick soled shoes.  Despite the drizzle, the finishing line was packed with supporters, making the finish line experience even more special.
This race has definitely been one of my favourites this year – the course was fantastic, and the weather was pretty perfect for running, if a little soggy after 5 hours in the drizzle.  Very well organized and marshaled, it was a great day out, and one I’ll remember for a while.   Most importantly for me, I managed to avoid getting overtaken by any cartoon characters this time around.

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