The Ultra-Trail Snowdonia: ‘Beautiful beyond belief, Savage beyond reason’
The inaugural Ultra-Trail Snowdonia, supported by SILVA, certainly lived up to the hype. The brainchild of UK ultrarunner Michael Jones, the race was host to the first truly alpine-scale ultras in the UK. 50 and 100 mile races (which were closer to 60/110!), with over 6000m/11,000m of elevation gain respectively. Seriously tough stuff for the UK, an event that in time will be sure to attract an international audience.
Wet and Wild Weather Awaits
A dedicated group of hardy ultrarunners gathered at The Heights in Llanberis at 5pm on Friday evening to begin their 100-mile ‘extended Paddy Buckley Round’ tour of Snowdonia/Eryri. They faced initially testing, wet conditions, that soon gave way to a clear, starry night. As a trail of headlights made their way across the Carneddau, freezing temperatures added to the challenge and once back to the Llanberis half way point, the temptation of warm food and cold beer was too much to overcome for many.
Of 47 race starters, only 18 left to start the UTS-50 course to complete their duty. Of these, only 13 of them would go on to finish the race. Those that managed to complete the course were all met with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment found fleetingly in normal day to day life and all praised the severity of the route. First runner home was Latvian, Ambleside-based runner Marcis Gubats, in a time of over 34 hours, signifying that this must surely be one of the worlds toughest 100-mile ultras. First and only female finisher was American, Glasgow-based Jamie Aarons.
Though still no mean feat, the attrition rate for the 50-mile event was far lower, with 129 of the 166 starters finishing within the generous cut-off of 36 hours.
And Then The Sun Came Out
Starting at 5am the next morning, UTS-50 runners were greeted with near perfect conditions throughout the event. With a course that explores the quieter valleys of northern Snowdonia, featuring several technical sections to heighten the senses, all that completed the route were in awe of their undertakings and the scenery they passed through and finished with a grin on their face.
Top Step Finishers
The female race was won by fell running legend Nicky Spinks in 13:49:30, before swiftly leaving to tend to lambing duties! She was followed by Anna Troup and Kirsty Hewitson, all making it home in daylight. Ultrarunning newcomer Oliver Thorogood blasted around the route in a staggering 11:30:25, followed by Frenchman Christophe Le Saux and Sheffield-based Lee Kemp.
Live On The Edge were delighted to include HYPERICE recovery as part of the selection of well-deserved prizes.
Entries to the 2019 Ultra-Trail Snowdonia open on 30th June: www.utsrace.co.uk