Posted: 23/06/2014 at 07:27
Totally agree re the brutal description re TMW Chrissi, although I would also add beautiful and very well organised. It really is a brilliant event - easily the best Welsh trail race (& one of if not the best in the UK) - organised by runners who really care about those taking part (& spectating) - super value for money - the freebies/contents of the goody back must be worth more than the very reasonable entry fee. I must do event!!?
Unfortunately I wasn't able to take part in the experience as much as I'd have liked - a very emotional one for me as my Dad was very poorly and, as with the Deiniolen 10k, I was wearing his running vest, which had, on the back, the last picture of me & my 2 brothers with him before his last was badly affected by strokes (he lived, pretty much, in a locked in state for the last 5 years!). It is down to my Dad that I wanted to do the Snowdonia marathon! My 1st running experience in North Wales was in the early 1990's (just after I moved to the area) - I ran the last 10 miles with my Dad - I'll never forget running up the Bwlch-y-Groes and him asking if we were near the top - I said I was sure it was just around the corner - when we got around the corner we could see that there quite a long way to go!! I think that is the only time I ever heard him swear!! After doing my village race back in 2006 I told my wife that I was going to do the Snowdonia Marathon the next year - mid life crisis she thought, but I got myself fit, lost a lot of weight and did it - and have done every year since. the thoughts of my dad and his battle fighting the various infections he's had in recent years has always spurred me on in the race - notably on the Bwlch-y-Groes! This year's race will be a very emotional one for me, as he sadly passed away yesterday morning!!
As for the race itself, the Deiniolen 10k had probably given me too much confidence that I was in better shape than I actually was - 13.1miles and 2,000ft of climbing in the trails being bit more of a challenge. Two welsh international runners (including Snowdonia marathon winner Rob Samuel) shot off at the start and were not seen again! I probably ran more with more heart than my head in the 1st few miles and I had a bit of a bad patch in the middle third of the race. However I hung in there and started to reel in the then 4th place runner (although didn't know the positions as there were so many marathon runners on the course as well) on the last climb (which is brutal!!) and went past him in the last 1/2mile. The race PA gave me a nice shout out at the finish and said I was 4th and 1st over 40 runner, which I was very pleased with. Unfortunately after having a quick chat with the race organiser I had to jump into the car pretty much straight away, so wasn't able to watch other runners finish and chat to other runners, some of whom were aware of the position with my Dad and had been very supportive.