Jones makes it six of the best at a sweltering Snowdon 2013
Llanberis, Wales – After failing to finish in 2012, 5-time winner Andi Jones made it number six on Saturday, as the Englishman stormed home to win the 38th Tyn Lon Volvo International Snowdon Race / Ras-yr-Wyddfa in stiflingly hot conditions.
With temperatures reported to be almost 30 degrees centigrade on the mid-part of this famous mountain, the runners were going to be tested to the maximum for not only their ability to handle the heat, but also the unrelentingly-tough underfoot conditions of Snowdon.
The day had started with first ever running of the Snowdon Super Cup / Cwpan yr Wyddfa - a demonstration, uphill-only race to the summit of Snowdon, starting at 11am on race day and featuring recent European Mountain Running Champs 5th-placer, Steve Vernon, Scots-based Ethiopian runner Wegene Tafese and GB international female runner Olivia Walwyn, amongst the starters. The event was sponsored by the Snowdonia National Park and finished outside of the flagship Hafod Eryri visitors centre and cafe on the summit.
Tafese and Vernon quickly took hold of the race and matched each other stride for stride until the raced reached the crucial Allt Goch incline, one of the steepest parts of the course. It was here that the Ethiopian runner took flight and opened up a 25 metre gap on Vernon, this proved to be decisive as he extended his advantage gradually over the final mile to win by around 50 metres and 16 seconds by the finish line, in 40:53. Ireland's Brian MacMahon (first runner to the summit in the 2012 Snowdon International) finished a very good third.
The women's race proved to be a far more clean-cut affair as top UK mountain runner Olivia Walwyn took hold of the race from the gun and ran a controlled race to record a clear win in 50:45, ahead of Wales' Gina Paletta and Siobhan Evans. The heat had even played a significant hand in this uphill-only race and was a taster of what the runners could expect in the up and down race later in the day, however all participants were also full of praise for the inaugural event and with this success event organisers were confident that the event can move on from this spring-board race to become an annual fixture.
Speaking after the race Tafese commented, "It was a very good race, very hard and challenging", with Walwyn adding, "I don't really like the heat and was hoping it would cool off as we got up the mountain, but it didn't seem to happen, it was very hot!".
However, the Super Cup was merely a starter in this great day, as 2pm neared and the main course of 10 hot and challenging miles was about to be served up for the record number of 550 starters of the race, now it's 38th year.
Top mountain runners descend on Wales for the Snowdon International
600 runners line-up ready for the Snowdon heat...
Llanberis, Wales – With weekend temperatures expected to approach 30 degrees centigrade on the mountain, some of the UK's best mountain runners will descend on Llanberis for the 38th Tyn Lon Volvo International Snowdon Race / Ras-yr-Wyddfa.
Anticipation of the 2013 event is as high as ever with 600 runners, including 2012 winner Murray Strain, getting ready for what promises to be one for the best ever races this Saturday afternoon. The main race will be precluded for the first time ever by the Snowdon Super Cup / Cwpan yr Wyddfa - a demonstration, uphill-only, race to the summit of Snowdon, starting at 11am on race day and featuring recent European Mountain Running Champs 5th-placer, Steve Vernon.
After one of the greatest ever races last year Scotland's Murray Strain is back to defend his crown, and will be challenged by 5-time winner Andi Jones - whose race was ended before he reached the summit in 2012. However, the Englishman will be pushing hard to try and regain the title which he has made his own over the last few years. On the start line for Wales will be local men Alun Vaughan and Mathew Roberts, both aiming to challenge for top honours, with Vaughan in particularly good form recently.
In the women's race 2011 winner Pippa Maddams returns after a break from the sport to have a baby, heading-up a strong England team who take on the elite runners from Scotland, Ireland and Wales in the international race.
The race, now it's 38th year, is considered as one of the greatest in the world of mountain running, and attracts some of the best racers in Europe. However, the event has grown over the last four decades to be one on the bucket-list of mere mortals across the world, as just completing the 10-mile race from Llanberis to the summit of Snowdon and back is something thousands aspire to, but only hundreds achieve, year-on-year.
Evidence of this popularity has once again been visible as the 600 places available online went on sale on the 15th of March. By Monday the 18th all but a few had gone and Race Organiser Stephen Edwards was able to 'close the book' on 2013 entries later that day.
"Once again we have been overwhelmed with the demand for this race. Little could the organisers of that inaugural race in 1976 have realised what this event would become some 37 years later. Snowdon is now recognised as the UK's busiest mountain and that is part of the attraction for those runners who get that 'Tour de France feeling' as they ascend the crowds of people cheering on the slopes come race day.
"With Murray and Andi back on the mountain, and some top UK and Irish runners snapping at their heels, we should be in for a fantastic race once again this year. It will also be great to see Pippa back in the women's race too, this along with the Super Cup in the morning means that we will create a mountain running festival with something going on from 11am through until late afternoon."
Edwards is keen to point out that the event is now much more than just a race, with major sponsors, attractions and a sense of festival which almost brings Llanberis to a stand-still on its traditional third-weekend of July race date and is also aware that the heat could be a big factor in Saturday's event:
"We will be pointing out to runners that hydration is very important on Saturday. There will be water on the mountain as usual at halfway and the summit, but we want to make it clear that hydration in a mountain race is also a responsibility of the runners themselves, many will be carrying water we expect and runners need to be keeping cool before the race too. I would also like to extend a big thanks to the hundreds of marshals and volunteers - the response this year has been overwhelming."
Regarding the occasion, Edwards concludes:
"It's amazing really. The buzz in this little village come Snowdon Race weekend is unbelievable, you have to be here to be able to understand that. This race means so much to the area and the people of Llanberis, they are proud of the race and what it portrays to the thousands of visitors that come here for the race and the weekend. We will have Ty'n Lon Volvo as our headline sponsor once again this year, TV coverage on S4C and the usual family festivities on the race field throughout the day. 2013 is basically going to be bigger and better than ever!"
For further race information visit www.snowdonrace.co.uk.
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