Back for a 4th time- there is something about this race that just keeps bringing you back. It’s challenge, atmosphere and location all come together to create a combination that is quite unique and leaves you feeling like you might just be able to step it up even more the next year.
With Geraint in Yellow flashing on the screens in the bar, international racers casually hanging around reception and sheep grazing in the hotel gardens, things were living up to expectations already, and the race wasn’t until the next day.
In previous years, I’d always built up the Snowdon Race into something that was seemed as though it was at my furthest stretch, always asking- was I going to make the cut off time?
This year, I knew that I’d be ok. The question was, how much have I improved in two years?
I put that question to the back of my mind as I commenced my pre-race fuelling- eat loads and sup a few beers always seems to do the trick.
Race day came and I was reminded by my own advice:
And that’s it! I’m never going to win but I can certainly strive to improve and that is the one thing that I can control.
I was excited to start the race in the morning. As we counted down, I willed myself to set off sensibly and stay within my limits (something that I still struggle with- setting off too fast). The long road climb passed relatively quickly and I ran the majority of it.
Soon we emerged onto the fell and I kept my rhythm as we ascended the stone steps. This is a race that is all about pacing, it is far more runnable than you might think, but it’s very easy to over-cook it and push too hard. I felt good and kept within myself. As half-way came and went, the hoards of walkers increased and concentration was required to navigate between them, it was a long, frustrating slog from here on to the summit. But I made it eventually and began the descent.
It’s a punishing downhill that sends shockwaves into your quads for days afterwards. I lost places here. The road appeared and I gratefully hung on to the finish- completing the race around 20 minutes faster than my previous attempt. I felt good, perhaps I could have pushed harder? Well, as I said at the start of this post, it always leaves you feeling that you might just be able to step it up again even more next year…