More than 2200 runners from all across the world arrived in Llanberis on Sunday 14th July for the now famous On Snowdonia Trail Marathon.
The original and best Snowdonia Trail Marathon attracts athletes from across the globe with participants traveling from as far as Hong Kong, America, and New Zealand to tackle this amazing event. Organised by Always Aim High Events, the event sees the company revisit Llanberis, the gateway to Snowdonia National Park.
The On Snowdonia Trail Marathon offers some of the most challenging running in the UK. The Ultra Marathon encompasses 2,275m of climbing over 60km and visits the beautiful Cwm Tresgl and Cwm Pennant before rejoining the Marathon Route to ascent Snowdon. Ascending 1,685 metres, the marathon route covers iconic and spectacular trails, circumnavigating and eventually climbing Wales’ highest peak, Snowdon. The incredible route explores the trails, gorgeous panoramic views and tough climbs that make Snowdonia National Park such a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. Visiting Rhyd Ddu, Beddgelert, Nant Gwynant, Pen y Pass and Snowdon, there surely can’t be a more striking trail marathon route in the UK!
The half marathon option takes in many of the fantastic routes and trails as the marathon, but ascends Snowdon via the Snowdon Ranger route, rather than the PyG track. The 10k skirts the base of Snowdon before returning past Dolbadarn castle and into Padarn country park and the heart of the Dinorwig slate quarries.
The conditions couldn’t have been better for the On Snowdonia Trail Marathon with perfect temperatures for running. Everything was set for some amazing running and our athletes didn’t disappoint.
First to get underway were the Ultra runners at 06:30am with over 200 extreme athletes gathered at the start under the magnificent On Running arch. Mark Darbyshire took top spot in the Men’s Ultra with an impressive time of 05:23:52, with Stephen Hobbs a little under half hour back in second place. Dave Phillips completed the top three. The women’s race was much more closely contested with Becky Atkinson taking the win 10 minutes ahead of Nia Albiston with Helen Pickford in third.
Next to go was the Marathon which saw 1000 runners set to take on the challenge. Adding to the reward for conquering this course, the marathon had been chosen as a GB Trial race for the World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships on 16 November 2019, Villa La Angostura, Argentina. The top 2 men and women automatically qualified to be taken to Argentina to represent Great Britain. The quality of the field was exceptionally high this year and the times posted showed. The Men’s race was extremely close as we expected. The win ahead of a very competitive field was taken by Nick Swinburn of Northumberland Fell Runners in a time of 03:18:10 with Sebastian Batchelor 90 seconds behind. Jack Wood came in third. In the women’s race 6 minutes separated the top 3. Kirsteen Welch took the honours in a time 04:07:52 with Sara Willhoit in second and Georgia Tindley in third.
The Half Marathon
The Half Marathon runners were up next. More than 900 athletes gathered under the On Running arch with a little over 13 challenging miles ahead of them. The standard of competition was extremely high. The women’s race was a very close run thing with Josie Lloyd taking the win 50 seconds ahead of Laura Kayne in second and Rhian Probert, 4 minutes back in third. The men’s race was much more clear cut. Joe Dale won in a time of 01:51:19, 7 minutes ahead of Gwilym Jones in a second closely followed by John Edwards in third.
Last to head out on to the course were the 10k runners. In the women’s race the win was taken by Katie Reynolds (00:54:03) ahead of Dawn Fairclough in second. Sarah Schmidlin was in third. The Men’s race was a hotly contested race with Elliot Cox winning 50 seconds ahead of Jonathon Tyler in second and Ben Psaila.
Tim Lloyd, Director of Always Aim High Events, the race organiser said: “The On Snowdonia Trail Marathon is one of our biggest events in the calendar and we absolutely love coming back to Llanberis, it’s our home. We love this event and it’s great to see it getting better and better every year.”
“We’re super proud to have been chosen as a GB Trial race for our marathon; not only that, we’ve been awarded ITRA & UTMB points for both the Ultra and the Marathon courses. This really shows what an incredible achievement it is for our participants to complete these courses. That being said, the Half Marathon and 10k courses are no picnic either with their own testing climbs and descents.”
“The conditions have been perfect for trail running. It’s been a tough but rewarding day of running for all of our participants. We love staging events like this that bring people from all over the UK to show what Snowdonia and North Wales has to offer.”
“The thing I like most is the look of achievement on our runners’ faces when they cross the line. Some of our runners are doing it for a good cause and we’re immensely proud that we can give a platform to runners raising money for all sorts of different worthy causes too.”
“Entries for the 2020 event are already open and we’ve had tonnes of people sign up already! We’ve got a fantastic Early Bird running for the first month and we’ve got some other surprises up our sleeves too so watch this space!”
“We’d like to extend a massive thank you to every one of our athletes for making this such a special event, they all make the event better and better each year. We’d also like to thank Gwynedd Council for their continued support, as well as the local community in Llanberis and all of the spectators that turned out to support the athletes around the course. Lastly, we’d like to thank our amazing marshals and volunteers, without whom we the race just wouldn’t be possible”
Full race timings for the 2019 On Snowdonia Marathon can be found at tdleventservices.co.uk.
Race photography was provided by Mel Parry Event Images – you can see all the pictures from the event HERE
For more information on 2019’s Snowdonia Trail Marathon races, visit alwaysaimhighevents.com