46th Castell Howell International Snowdon Race Ras Rhyngwladol Yr Wyddfa 2023 – Race Report
Llanberis, Wales – With wind gusts in excess of 90 miles per hour recorded on the summit of Yr Wyddfa, and in some of the worst weather conditions ever seem at this iconic mountain race, it was Scotland’s Holly Page and Italy’s Isacco Costa who triumphed at the 46th running of Ras Rhyngwladol Yr Wyddfa International Snowdon Race 2023.
Unseasonably poor weather sweeping across the UK head meant that the battle for the organisers to put on this famous race was going to be as challenging as it was for those toeing the line on Saturday.
After a mammoth effort by all staff and volunteers to enable the race going ahead it was decided that the 2023 race would be cut short to the bottom of Allt Moses and back to Llanberis, giving a race distance of around 6.5 miles for the 500 runners who assembled on the start line for the traditional 2pm start time.
With the shortening of the race there was going to be phrenetic battle for positions in the early stages as the race left Llanberis and the runners made their way on to the slopes of the mountain. This was underlined by the fact that 2022 men’s winner Ross Gollan charged up the first hill with the international contenders following behind, jostling for position as they battled the strong headwinds and driving rain.
In the female race 2022 third placer Page was running comfortably with Ruth Jones and English athletes Phillipa Williams and Nichola Jackson tucked in behind.
As the leading runners approached the turn round point of the race it was the England duo of Chris Richards and Dan Haworth who led the way as they took advantage of the now tailwind which they would be able to enjoy in their plummet back into Llanberis. A few seconds behind were Italian international Costa and 2019 winner Andy Douglas who was once again performing strongly.
Page was by now establishing a commanding lead in the women’s event and looked in control as she began her descent.
The positions at the head of the race were by now becoming clear as Richards led Costa who led Douglas, as they came off the mountain below Hebron and onto the steep tarmac descent with around one mile to go.
TV footage showed the immense battle that was unfolding as Richards and Costa duked it out as they entered the final 600metres, and it was to be Costa who showed the greater speed as they neared the finish line, picking up the Italian flag as he sprinted in joining such countrymen as Fausto Bonzi and Alberto Vender on the Snowdon winners roster.
Taking a brilliant second place Richards was gracious in defeat saying later that Costa was the deserved winner and he simply couldn’t live with the finishing kick of the Italian. Scotland’s Douglas took the final podium spot in what was a race to remember for the men.
In the women’s race Holly Page now held a constant 20-second lead as she charged down the final technical slopes and on the road descent into the Llanberis village centre. Behind Englishwoman Williams was chasing hard, but unable to close the gap on Page, and Middlesborough runner Caroline Lambert had now established herself a strong hold on third.
And it was Page who entered the finish straight with big smile, knowing that she had the win in the bag as she crossed the line to take the women’s title, building on her third place of 2022 and joining fellow Scots such as Angela Mudge and Catriona Buchanan as female champions of this famous race.
Williams finished an excellent runner-up, vowing to return in 2024, around 25 seconds back on winner Page. Caroline Lambert completed the women’s podium with a super-strong run to take third.
The race also doubled as the British Mountain Running Championships this year and as the first British runners home Chris Richards and Holly Page took the men’s and women’s crowns for 2023.
46th Castell Howell International Snowdon Race Ras Rhyngwladol Yr Wyddfa 2023 – Results
Men’s Top 3
- Isacco Costa (Italy) 38:59
2. Chris Richards (England) 39:05
3. Andrew Douglas (Scotland) 39:33
Women’s Top 3
- Holly Page (Scotland) 46:01
- Phillipa Williams (England) 46:25
- Caroline Lambert (Middlesborough AC) 47:18
RACE DATE 2024 – JULY 20th