Wow, just wow!
That was an incredible experience.
After two lovely days travelling in Wales with hubby it was time for the main event. As normal at the start I checked out the other runners and my they were an intimidating bunch, lots of lithe athletic young bodies, was I out of my depth? Had I trained enough? The usual mind sabotage! Arriving 90 minutes before the start time does not help pre event nerves! Too many thoughts buzzing through my head.
At 9 we were off, through the town of Llanberis before heading up the first hill. The first three miles were pretty much a climb. I walked a bit but not as much as others, my mantra was “run while you can Shaz” aware that there would be a lot of walking towards the end. It was a huge boost to run whilst others were walking, those hill sessions seemed to have paid off.
Difficult to describe the next 24 miles. The scenery was simply stunning and I will let the pics do the talking. The terrain varied from nice pine needled forest paths, to brief road sections, to rocky tracks, to loose shingle, to dust tracks, to marshy bogs, to mini ladders up and over stone walls, to stone boulders. Water, fruit, sweets were available at pretty much every 4 miles, my strategy was to make sure I had a gel at every feed station, I forced myself knowing from experience things turn nasty if I don’t fuel right! Fortunately I also managed to grab a couple of cokes en route to keep me going which also cut down stoppage time to fill hydration bladder.
I met so many lovely people on the way
- The lady from Hull whose hill training consisted of running over a flyover!
- A lady from Fowey who ran the event last year and told stories of knee deep bogs
- The man from Cornwall in the red Tutu who is running 64 miles on the Cornwall coast in four weeks
- A guy from Norfolk who was running his first marathon
- The man who had a beer on order for himself at home who took my photo on the mountain!
At 18 miles the climb began, gently at first, in front you could see the track snaking it’s way up the hill, I tried not too look, instead concentrated on where I was putting my feet -the terrain was unforgiving. Soon the hills got steeper and the scenery more breathtaking. Each time you thought you must almost be at the top you would turn the corner and yet another precipice would be looming. At times I was crawling up over the rocks, the path not really noticeable. Last time I was up Snowdon some 18 years ago, my fear of heights kicked in and we had to get off the top quick. I knew this could cause me an issue again, so I concentrated on looking ahead, hugging the inside of the path and kept going. I’ve got to say the last mile was hard, well I hope it was it took me 35 mins! Granted I stopped and sat a while with some other runners, admiring the view and generally chatting mainly about “were we nearly there!” I pushed on and as I got to the top the cloud descended and a marshal in a high viz told me to head to the next marshal in high viz whom I could just see. That was it. I had made it, now a small matter of getting down! Mile 24 was over 1000 feet drop! With female relics words “be careful of the down” ringing in my ears I trotted on gently. I did see a couple of casualties and one lady tripped in front of me but managed to save herself which scared both her and I! It felt like I was flying but the stats say otherwise! I was very glad to get off the track, without a disaster. The next down was on road and I picked up momentum. One runner advised I zig zag to reduce pressure on my knees, was he mad this would mean more miles! No thanks, I knew the course was long anyway and no way did I want to run even more! A quick glance at my watch and I could see if I pushed on I could come in under 7 hours, I made it.
Without a doubt this was one of the toughest and scenic runs I have done. I absolutely loved it and am still buzzing. Now for the pics!