Llanberis, Wales – With just 10 days to go until the 2017 42nd Jewson International Snowdon Race / Ras-yr-Wyddfa, anticipation of this famous mountain race is high, as over 600 runners get ready to take on one of the toughest mountain races in the UK.
This year also sees a new headline sponsor in the race in the form of Jewson, with support from leading mountain running brand inov8.
In another change, the traditional 2pm start is replaced with an earlier 12noon start, however there is no change to the usual race location of Cae’r Ddol in Llanberis. This year the race will be started by Llanberis and Snowdon Race legends Joan and Dennis Glass.
Other features of the day will be the traditional junior races starting 5 minutes after the main race at 12.05pm on the Saturday, along with the Thursday evening local junior races, which will see over 150 youngsters taking part. The junior races will once again be support by Dr.Zigs.
Rounding off the day will be a post-race evening of chat and inspiration from race record holder Kenny Stuart, Snowdon regular and former rival John Wild and author Steve Chilton at the Electric Mountain, starting at 3:30pm. Free, donations to Snowdonia Giving.
Registration for the main race opens at 4pm on Friday July 14th, closing at 8.30pm with the race day registration running from 8.30am until 11.30am on the 15th of July.
Anticipation of the 2017 event is once again high, with some of the UK’s top athletes taking part. Teams from Wales, England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Italy will once again go head-to-head over the 10 challenging 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.
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.
Wearing their international vests with perhaps the most pride will be the Welsh runners. With a super 9th place in 2016 and leading Welsh runner last year Russell Bentley once again pulls on the red vest for the race. Local man Gareth Hughes has been in sparkling form in 2017, and along with Matthew Roberts has represented Great Britain on the mountains this year – both will look for strong performances in Llanberis. Season Welsh international Richard Roberts makes up a strong looking Welsh quartet and is team captain for the race.
However, the team to beat this year will once again be the English. After a storming win 2016 Chris Smith sits the 2017 event out, but any of the England team of Chris Farrell, Chris Arthur, Tom Adams and Chris Holdsworth are capable of repeating Smith’s feat, such is the strength of their squad. After a great second place in 2016, it is perhaps Farrell who is in the hot-seat for the title this year.
Italy have a strong history in the event, and the twinning of the Trofeo Vanoni race in October still presents a strong Welsh / Italian link. In 2017 Nadir Cavagna, Davide Magnini and Hannes Perkmann will represent the azzuri men, with Arianna Oregon the sole female Italian representative.
Ireland have a rich history of success at the event and race regular and 2016 8th placer James Kevan leads a strong Irish quartet including Brian Furey, Greg Byrne and Killian Mooney. Northern Ireland will be represented by David Hicks, top-20 finisher in 2016 William McKee, Gavin Mulholland and Timothy Johnston.
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 great 9th place finish in 2016 James Espie heads-up the Scottish challenge and is joined by James Waldie, Robert Simpson and Douglas Tullie.
Irish women have dominated the race in recent years. After Sarah Mulligan’s historic win in 2013, successive wins in 2014 and 2015 for Sarah McCormack, and then another win for Mulligan last year meant that the famous green vest had broken the tape for the last 4 years. However, surprisingly, no Irish women will travel to the race in 2017, leaving the door open for another nation to step in a take the ladies crown.
Perhaps favourite will be Heidi Dent. The English woman was a close runner-up in 2016 and will look to go one better in 2017 and follow in the footsteps of such Snowdon greats as Mary Wilkinson and Pippa Maddams. Dent is joined in the English team by Helen Glover, Sharon Taylor and Caitlin Rice
Diane Wilson, Megan Wilson, Ciara Largy and Shileen O’Kane will be representing Northern Ireland, and the Scottish trio of Miranda Grant, Louise Mercer and Jill Stephen will look to challenge for team medals, with local runner Grant hoping to excel in that Scottish vest after some great results in Snowdonia this year.
Finally, Wales’ women’s team has a very strong look to it with all runners hailing from North Wales. GB junior international Bronwen Jenkinson is joined by seasoned mountain runners Andrea Rowlands and Sarah Ridgway, with Sarah fresh from a very strong run in the recent V3K. Porthmadog runner Sian Lloyd Williams makes up the four women who will look to challenge in the team event.
In the open race Snowdon evergreens Ian Holmes and Rob Hope will battle it out with those in the international vests, alongside England regular Gary Priestley who represents his club Horwich this year.
Race organiser 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 are really pleased to welcome new headline sponsor Jewson to the race this year and the support from them has been fantastic. We are also excited to have inov8 involved and as always very grateful to all of our sponsors. It goes without saying that we couldnt put on the race without the hundreds of volunteers and marshals on the event too, who turn out year-in-year-out to help at the race. I’m also looking forward to seeing Joan and Dennis Glass setting the runners off at 12pm – they have done so much for the race and the sport over the years.
“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.
“The racing should be fantastic once again, with another very strong field. From a media perspective we have a TV highlights package on S4C the Sunday after the race at 9pm and will be using Facebook Live to broadcast the finish of the race.”
For further race information visit www.snowdonrace.co.uk
2016 runner-up Chris Farrell from England on the early slopes of Snowdon © Sport Pictures Cymru
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