Llanberis, Wales – After a 3-year break due to the pandemic 600 runners will make their way on to the slopes of Wales’ highest peak on Saturday the 16th of July for the 45th Castell Howell International Snowdon Race (47th year since 1976)
Anticipation for this year’s event is once again high, with some of the UK’s top athletes taking part from Wales, England, Scotland, Northern Ireland. We can also expect an international flavour for the weekend as runners from Italy and the Republic of Ireland will once again pose threats for the race victory, as all go head-to-head and rub shoulders with club runners and those just hoping to complete the 10 arduous miles of this famous mountain in the heart of the Snowdonia National Park.
After three long years missing from the annual TV schedule, the event will be televised once again on terrestrial TV, with a highlights programme produced by Cwmni Da going out on S4C on Sunday 24th July.
The Snowdon International is considered as one of the greatest in the world of mountain running, attracts some of the best racers in Europe and 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.
As ever the Welsh teams will be looking to perform well on home soil. Seasoned Welsh international Matthew Roberts leads the way for Wales, having run at this famous race on a number of occasions in the red vest. Joining him will be Gavin Roberts and Ben Mitchell, with young Eryri Harrier Tom Wood making up the quartet.
The English team will be as strong as ever and they will look to challenge for the individual and team crowns. Both Joe Baxter (8th) and Dan Haworth (13th) ran in the England vest in 2019 and return once again this year. Matthew Elkington and Finlay Grant complete the English line-up, with junior Grant as one to watch, fresh from his bronze medal at the European championships in the U20 race.
Italy have a strong history of success at the event, and will be looking to make it three wins in the last four editions of the race, after the wins by Davide Magnini (2017) Alberto Vender (2018). This year Luca Merli and Lorenzo Rota Martir travel to Wales to see if they can add their names to the list of Italian mountain running legends to win this race.
Scotland is another nation that has tasted Snowdon success over the last few years with Andrew Douglas winning in 2019. Douglas won’t be part of the Scottish line-up this year, however Snowdon regular John Yells has been in good form in 2022 and Alexander Cheplin, Ross Gollan and James Taylor complete the Scottish foursome.
Ireland have a rich history of success at the event, with Zak Hanna taking 4th in 2019 Snowdon regular James Kevan returns along with Luke McMullan, Aaron Mc Grady, Leo Mahon.
Completing the international teams are Northern Ireland, with Adam Cunningham, Jonny Scott, Andrew Tees, John Marrs making the journey to Wales.
Away from the elite side of the race one runner will make history once again in 2022. Malcolm Jones from Tremadog ran in the very first race in 1976 and has managed to complete every race since, a simply incredible achievement. Therefore, Malcolm will be running his 45th Snowdon Race this year and makes history as the only person to have competed at every event in the last 47 years.
The women’s race at Snowdon 2022 looks to be a mouth-watering prospect once again as all eyes could well be on 3-time former winner Sarah McCormack from the Republic of Ireland and her battle with some of the very best young talent in Europe currently. Sarah won the race in 2019 and returns to Snowdon fresh from competing at last weekend’s European Championships where she finished in 13th place. Roisin Howley and Alison Armstrong make up the Irish women’s team.
After a brilliant 3nd place at those European championships Scout Adkin, returns to the mountain that saw her finish 6th in 2019. However, the young Scot has been in stellar form in 2022 and must surely be amongst the favourites to take the title back to Scotland. GB team-mate last weekend Holly Page also runs along with Kirsty Dickson and Catriona MacDonald, meaning that the Scots women will also be very strong in the team race.
Italy’s Alice Gaggi is currently third in the world rankings and also took part in the Euros last weekend, finishing in 6th. She is joined by Lorenza Beccaria in the famous Azzuri colours.
Wales once again have a strong team with the in-form Elliw Haf running in Welsh colours again after her 10th place finish in 2018 and 16th in 2019. Elliw is joined by Eryri team-mate Lizzie Richardson, Cybi’s Joanne Henderson and Rhian Probert from Mynydd Du.
The is no doubt that the English women’s team will once again be challenging for the top spot of the podium. Hannah Russell and Sharon Taylor ran strong races in La Palma in GB colours last weekend and are joined by winner of the recent uphill-only Twilight race Sara Willhoit, making for a very strong English women’s threesome at a race in which they have tasted success many times over the years.
Martsje Hell, Esther Dickson, Elizabeth Wheeler and Karalee McBridewill will be representing Northern Ireland.
After a hiatus of three years due to the Coronavirus pandemic race organiser Stephen Edwards is rightly looking forward to putting on the race once again in 2022.
“It has been a difficult three years since our last race in 2019. I don’t need to remind anyone of what has gone in that time, however we will be relived and excited to see the runners take to the mountain again this year. We have headline sponsor Castell Howell on board again and the whole Llanberis community have been so supportive in our aims to make sure the race continues its rich history.”
Other features of the day will be the traditional junior races starting ten minutes after the main race at 2.10pm on the Saturday for 10-18 years, where junior Welsh international Noa Vaughan will take on athletes from the CSI Morbegno club in Italy.
The junior races will once again be support by the Snowdonia National Park and will be organised by the Byw Iach, Cyngor Gwynedd team. Registration takes place from 8.30am -1.30pm at the community centre.
“From a media perspective we have the usual TV highlights package on S4C and will be using Facebook Live to broadcast the finish of the race. We as a voluntary organisation also put hours of work into organising the community aspect to this international event. Local business gets involved every year and thousands of spectators turn out to see the runners, so it really is a win-win situation for everyone involved.
“The buzz in this little village come Snowdon Race weekend is unbelievable, you really do have to be here to be able to understand that. This race means so much to the area and the people of Llanberis. To think what it has become all those years after that very first humble race back in 1976 – it’s incredible really.
“Equally we really couldn’t put the race on without the continued support of sponsors Inov8, Snowdon Mountain Railway, the Royal Victoria Hotel, S4C, Cwmni Da, Welsh Athletics, Oren, Steel Scaffolding, Sports Pictures Cymru and all of the Snowdon Race committee and Llanberis community. That is what makes this race so magical – it’s an international event, with a local feel, and long may that continue. I would also like to say a huge thank you to Events Department at Gwynedd Council for supporting the race once again this year.”
The International Snowdon Race will be held in Llanberis on Saturday, 16 July 2022, with the Race starting at 2pm.
For further information visit https://www.snowdonrace.co.uk