The atmosphere at Llanberis was amazing, 40 years of the Snowdon Race makes it an event with a history and it felt good to be part of that for a second year.
We’d registered the day before, the finish was already set up:
Usually the race starts from here as well but as it was the 40th anniversary it was going to start in the village after a parade. Yet again I was interviewed by S4C- hopefully like last year it won’t make it to TV! (race coverage is on Sunday at 6pm, S4C and channel 4 later in the year)
As races go, it’s tough and really does not play to my personal strengths (whatever they are- not sure I’ve found them yet!) straight up Snowdon, back down again. It has a nice symmetry to it, 10 miles, not too far… But those first 5 miles!
Strategy was to get to the top, worry about the downhill later. In the film GATTACA the most moving scene for me is when Vincent and Anton are swimming, as adults (repeating a childhood challenge), to see once and for all who could go the furthest before turning back. Anton, the genetically superior, breaks first, he later asks Vincent how he was able to beat him. Vincent replies by saying that he never saved anything for the swim back.
That was my strategy. Don’t save anything for the way back. Now I’ve said this before, I am by no means a competitive runner, but I do like to challenge myself. This race IS a challenge for me and my aim was simply to finish!
The first half was as expected (plus an extra half mile- thank you parade) and I was trying all sorts of mental tricks to cope with the physical and psychological struggle- I’ve been reading Murakami’s Wind Up Bird Chronicle and a huge theme in it is the self, the main character, Toru spends a lot of time down a well reflecting on the events in his life, his relationships drawing conclusions such as ‘I was nothing but a pathway for the person known as me’. I so needed that element of detached perspective to cope with the constant uphill struggle but sadly, I was suffering! Not as much as some people, there was a spattering of blood all over the path and we did see some casualties- thoughts with them.
Still I made it up to the summit cairn well within the time cut offs-totally spent. It’s then the detachment can take over, downhill running is all about disassociation and I went onto auto-pilot and got to the finish pretty quickly.
So overall a good race. You do have to qualify for this event and that means the quality of runners is generally very good, the atmosphere was amazing and it’s nice to have people cheering you on by name.