Today was Trail Marathon Wales, held in Coed y Brenin. I was a little apprehensive about the race, my injury has meant I haven’t put in the miles I really wanted to.
The last few days have been really wet in South Snowdonia. The rivers have been up and kayaking has been really appealing.
Coed y Brenin is great for events, loads of parking, good facilities and a great setting. The guys and girls have obviously worked hard to get loads into the event and done lots of planning. It shows. Foresty Commission Wales did a great job of parking people, and despite registration and the safety briefing being a bit delayed, the gamekeeper loosed off a shell from his 12 bore to start the race almost exactly on time.
There had been a late route change, mainly due to the exposed slopes outside of CyB being soggy (under water). It meant a small repetition of the route for the full Marathon, but the course was so good that it made no difference. I was expecting the second lap to be pretty cut up where it had been shared with the half marathon course but, all in all, it was in good shape.
All the race numbers had first names on them; this meant that South Snowdonia Mountain Rescue and the marshalls would give a welcoming shout to people. Can’t fault the volunteers involved in providing support. The feed stations were well spaced, stocked with a variety of Electrolyte, Carbo gel, Banana’s, Jelly babies (my favourite) and water.
If there is any doubt that this isn’t a road race check out my elevation profile from today, just over 1200m of ascent meant pacing was important.
Whilst I can’t fault the feed stations, I can fault my use of them. Lack of conditioning meant that I didn’t take on enough electrolyte early on and that, with the up and down meant a brutal onset of leg cramp around mile 20. I never got my rhythm back from that but did have a nice chat with a few runners from Eryri, Cerist Tri and other clubs all struggling with the same problem.
Crossing the line was a great experience, the technology meant that nearly every runner was encouraged over the line by full name over the radio mike- iPad and data tags on the back of the numbers, great stuff.
I picked up my bottle, wooden medal and flapjack-lots of goodies at registration (T shirt, socks, energy gel, etc..) Had a natter with a few friends and then made a move to get home.
Admittedly, my drive home isn’t too far, but getting a text as soon as there was reception with my placing and time was great and I’m sure those with a longer journey would have really appreciated it.
Impressions of this as a first time running the event? Brilliant.
A massive thank you to Matt Ward and all the people involved from Forestry Commission Wales and Meirionnydd Running Club. The volunteers, the sponsors the SSMR team all did a great job and it was great to run in the inaugral event. I hope it will build and build. It should get a reputation as a very special, if tough, trail race.
Well done all, organisers, supporters and runners.
Given what could have gone wrong for me today, I’m pretty pleased with my finish. It was supposed to be a training run, and to be fair, it probably was. In amongst a field of racing whippets, as a 90kg recently injured runner, I was pretty pleased with the result.
Bring on next year!