Cramp (noun) – Sudden, involuntary, spasmodic contraction of a muscle or group of muscles, especially of the extremities, sometimes with severe pain.
That’s only the tip of the Snowdonia iceberg so to speak but what a race!
Five intrepid Belle Vue Racers headed out to the beautiful Snowdonia Marathon: Annie Hirsch, who was running her fourth Snowdonia event, Leah Evans, who hadn’t run for three weeks after falling over spectacularly on the last long run, Patrick O’Brien, Andy (The Marathon Machine) Wood and Lisa Donnelly. Ben Marsh – a regular at Frank’s Tuesday session – joined us too.
Nearly 2200 runners arrived at the start line, more than any other year. This was probably due to the unseasonably warm and very kind weather. Thank you Wales! A famous rugby player (Shane Wlliams, anyone?) started the race and ran it too.
Turns out, the run is REALLY hilly. Who would’ve thought?! But with the hills you get amazing scenery, full on support from friends – Thanks Tina! Hearing your voice through the clouds at Pen-y-Pass was a real boost! Thanks also to Maeve and Nick who surprised us all at the top of Waunfawr – family (lovely to have Leah’s mum and dad on cheering duty), other friendly runners and just generally lovely locals, community groups and marshals.
We all ticked the hilly miles off, for some a bit more comfortably than others. Leah struggled with tiredness from about Mile 10 but through sheer willpower and stretching cramping muscles (and she’d bought the hoodie) she carried on. The Waunfawr ‘hill’ at mile 22 was a killer for us all. There was nothing to do but walk it, get horrendous cramp at the top and carry on. Turns out even the really, really fast runners got cramp too! The final descent into Llanberis was a quad killer but a welcome sight to behold.
It was one of the most organised races I’ve ever attended. Great HQ, easy baggage drop off/pickup, well stocked water, isotonic and gel stations all the way around and a good t-shirt. The only thing I would say that it’s a shame there’s no bling – but with an experience and scenery like that, you’re never going to forget it.
Annie was the first Belle Vue Racer to cross the line. Not far behind was Andy then Lisa, with Patrick and Leah not long after.