Llanberis, Wales – With a new headline sponsor and over 650 runners, the 41st Elim Peugeot International Snowdon Race / Ras-yr-Wyddfa race promises to be one of the highlights of the sporting year in Wales. After a parade of former winners and a High Street start of the race in 2015, this year see the race return to it’s usual race start and finish of Parc Padarn on the 16th of July.
Anticipation of the 2016 event is once again high, with some of the UK’s top athletes taking part. Teams from Wales, England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Ireland and Italy will once again go head-to-head over the 10 arduous miles of this famous mountain in the heart of the Snowdonia National Park.
The race 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 race from Llanberis to the summit of Snowdon and back is something thousands aspire to, but only hundreds achieve.
The race will be precluded once again this year by the Snowdon Super Cup / Cwpan yr Wyddfa – an invitational, uphill-only, race to the summit of Snowdon, starting at 10.30am on race day and once again this year featuring some top GB athletes in the men’s and women’s races.
Evidence of the general popularity has once again been visible as the 650 places available online went on sale on the 1st of March. Within 3 days all but a few had gone and race organiser Stephen Edwards was able to close entries and begin the 2016 race preparations. Stephen comments:
“As ever, we have been inundated with entries, and even since the closing date I have had numerous requests for entries for the race, even though the event is full. Little could the organisers of that inaugural race in 1976 have realised what this event would become some 40 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.
“The racing should be fantastic once again, with one of the strongest fields for a few years. From a media perspective we have a TV highlights package on S4C the Sunday after the race at 6pm and will be using Facebook Live to broadcast the finish of the race.”
The men’s event looks to be wide open once again this year.
After a historic three wins in 2002, 2003 and 2005 Wales’ Tim Davies returns to the race in 2016 and heads-up a strong Welsh team that comprises seasoned international Matthew Roberts who is in fine form in 2016. After finishing 8th last year Russell Bentley gets his first Welsh vest at the race and local runner Gareth Hughes win his second cap after his debut for Wales in 2015.
After a superb battle on the mountain last year England’s third-place finisher in 2015 Ben Mounsey returns to see if he can make it to the top spot in 2016. The English team look a strong proposition as Mounsey is joined by GB international Chris Smith, Snowdon regular Rob Hope and Chris Farrell.
Following Emanuele Manzi’s famous victory in 2015 Italy will once again provide stiff opposition as debutants Marco Leoni, Luca Cognate, Gianpietro Bottà and 2016 Italian VK champion Nicola Pedergnana line-up in the men’s race.
Ireland have a rich history of success at the race and race regular Brian MacMahon leads a strong Irish quartet including James Kevan, Brian Furey and Andrew Annett. Northern Ireland will be represented by William McKee, Shane Donnelly, David Hicks and Zak Hanna.
Scotland will also once again be adding their quality to the international flavour of the event, after some great podium finishes for their men and women during the last decade. Following a super 6th place finish in 2015 Sam Hesling heads-up the Scottish challenge and is joined by Kyle Greig, who also represented the Scots in 2015 at the race. Duncan Coombs and James Espie with their first international men’s vests along with Stephanie Proven in the women’s race. The Deeside runner is joined by Georgia Tindley and seasoned Scottish international Charlotte Morgan, who will look to improve on her third place from 2014.
Irish women have dominated the race for the last 3 years. After Sarah Mulligan’s historic win in 2013, successive wins in 2014 and 2015 for Sarah McCormack continued the trend and the 29-year old returns again this year to try and make it a hat-trick of race wins. Bethany Murray makes up the Irish women’s team.
The Irish contenders will be chased by England’s 2015 Snowdon runner-up Lindsey Brindle who will be lining up to see if she can go one better. The English team are also bolstered by Lou Roberts, who is in fine form after winning the recent Twilight race on the mountain, with 24-year old Heidi Dent completing the English trio.
Finally, Wales’ women’s team has a fresh look to it with North Wales runners Bronwen Jenkinson and Sian Williams joining 2015 5th placer Katie Beecher as they look to challenge in the team race. Shileen O’Kane, Hazel McLaughlin and Paulette Thompson will be representing Northern Ireland.
The Super Cup race will once again include some of the UK’s top mountain running talent. 2015 Super Cup winner Max Nicholls returns in the men’s race and will be up against some of the UK’s best mountain runners who will be using the race as a warm-up for the upcoming British Trials ahead of the World Mountain Running Championships in Italy this August. 3rd-placer in 2015 Martin Cox returns, along with GB internationals Tom Adams and Jacob Adkin.
In the women’s race recently crowned World Long Distance Mountain Running Champion Annie Conway is a prospective starter in the Super Cup. The Cumbrian athlete will also be using the event as preparation for those World Trials in late July.
Stephen Edwards is keen to point out that the event is 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:
“We as a voluntary organisation also put hours of work into organising the commnity aspect to this international event. Local business gets involved every year and thousands of spectators turn out to see the runners how. This year we will have the Hwyl i Bawb kids races on the morning of the race at 11am and the traditional junior mountain races also starting straight after the main race at 2pm.
“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. To think what it has become all those years after that very first humble race back in 1976 – its incredible really.”
Edwards is also excited to welcome new headline sponsors Elim Peugeot. The north Wales car dealerships replace Tyn Lon Volvo who had backed the event for the previous 3 years.
Colin Smart from Elim Peugeot Llangefni states:
“Elim Peugeot have always served as a local dealership, we pride ourselves on supporting local people and events. Now in our 50th year of business locally originally starting in Llanrug just down the road to the International Snowdon Race. We are very proud to be the headline sponsor of the 41st International Snowdon Race, one of the greatest in the world of mountain running, and deemed to be one of Europe’s toughest endurance challenges, that hosts world class runners from around the World.
“Elim Peugeot have been working closely with the race committee to fulfil our role in supporting this event and many other charitable events across Wales throughout the year.
“We are extremely grateful to all who have participated in fundraising for such worthy causes over the last year and we look forward to helping this event and others grow from strength to strength in the future. Come and say hello, and see our current product range in Llanberis on race day. We wish all runners the best of luck.”