In short: Shame it clashes with Beachy Head. In full: When they moved this event to a Saturday back in 2007 due to the 25th anniversary, I've elected to run Beachy Head Marathon which is one of my favourites. Decided to give Snowdonia a go this year instead after an absence of 3 years, and don't regret it.
Snowdonia laid on the usual October weather of heavy rain, cold, and windy conditions. After registering on the morning, I foolishly elected to wait for the shuttle bus for the 1.5 miles lift to the start rather than walk it due to the rain, and got a good soaking when we had to wait in the queue for an hour. We turned up for the delayed start shivering and drenched.
Nothing like a steady ascent for the first 4 miles in a marathon to shake of the lethargy and chill, but the weather was still providing a good challenge as the rain and wind persisted.
As there's a good descent from miles 4 to 12, you can then get into your rythym, but it's important not to go haring off as there are still a number of testing sections to come on this course. A two mile uphill drag between miles 13 and 15 left many people walking, but this is where you can start to work your way through the field if you've held back on that earlier downhill section.
If you lift your head and ignore the rain, you can immerse yourself in the glorious scenery that's all around. It's easy to forget to look when you are being battered by the weather and are being worn out by the hills, but you are missing the point if you fail to enjoy the surroundings.
Suitably distracted, you can then run/walk the 3 miles ascent to Waunfawr, and hope your quads survive that wreckless descent for the final 2 miles.
This is a gloriously difficult marathon that tests the runner throughout. Although the area has that isolated wildness, the route is well signposted, brilliantly marshalled, and strongly supported by the villages enroute.
Free hot drinks at the finish, and showers etc, meant that you could get cleaned up and refreshed quickly. The slate coaster is a unique momento to remind you of your efforts.
Thanks to everyone who contributed in making this a superb event. I'm sure the bus issue will be resolved by next year whatever was the cause, and this will then be a faultless event in my book. Date of review: November 7, 2009
In short: Scenic, friendly, challenging but very rewarding In full: First marathon for both me and the misses. Loved every minute of it (apart from the lead up to the start). Hills are long and weather was challenging (just like good old Cumbria really) but just added to the feeling of achievement when you finish. Thanks to all the supporters and marshalls around the route, who must have been freezing, but didn't let it detract from their enthusiasm. We'll be back! Date of review: November 7, 2009
In short: its what running is all about In full: this race may not have the glittz & glam of the London funrun. What you get for your money is a challenging race, in stunning scenery that is constantly changing, in a very freindly atmosthere and suported by appretiateve and informative crowd.
You want to say you've done a mara? then do London
In short: Tough. Made harder with the weather. Brilliant day In full: Stunning Race. Would like to do this again at some point. Be more prepared for Waun Fawr. Would also walk to the start or be dropped at Nant Peris as little point in going to Llanberis as I had already registered. Date of review: November 3, 2009
In short: A great first marathon - tough but great support and wonderful course. In full: Very well organised - some hicthes with buses - better communication would have helped. Excellent marshalling and drink stations. Enthusiastic support. If you're after a challenge, this is one for you. Date of review: November 1, 2009
In short: Another fantastic race In full: Well done to all involved. My third in a row and it won't be my last. Good organisation again - braving the elements at the start is par for the course. Shame about the power cut! Diolch yn fawr. Date of review: October 31, 2009
In short: It may well be classed as the most difficult in Europe, however it must at the same time be the most enjoyable. In full: As I set a PB, 8 mins faster than London in April, I really enjoyed the day despite the uphills, downhills, mud, rain and wind, even before I worked out how well my pace was going. When I saw everyone else walking up the path out of Waunfawr, I made a point of running, which to some would have looked more like a shuffle! I would certainly do it again and recommend it to others without hesitation. Date of review: October 31, 2009