After a mammoth battle last year with Andi Jones, Scotland's Murray Strain buried the ghost of 2011 as he took a famous victory at the 2012 Tyn Lon Volvo International Snowdon Race / Ras-yr-Wyddfa. Part of the 2012 Skyrunner World Series, the event attracted a stellar field of international mountain running talent as runners journeyed from the Home Nations, Ireland, Australia and across Europe to take on this famous race now in its 37th edition.
In the women's race there was as a new winner in the form of Arc'teryx International athlete Tessa Hill - one of the few runners to win this historic race when not running in an international vest. The Englishwoman was prominent from the gun, overtaking early leader Sarah O'Neil after around 25 minutes of running, extending her lead to the summit and showing strong descending skills to take the victory.
Alun Vaughan pictured at Snowdon. pic by Sport Pictures Cymru.
There were also great 'local' performances for Salomon runner Rob Samuel and Alun Vaughan. Running in the Welsh vest once again, Vaughan rolled back the years to finish a brilliant 8th position in a sub-70 minute clocking (1:09:58), with Samuel going two better taking 6th in an excellent 1:08:48. Running for Wales, former Olympic 10,000m runner Andres Jones finished a very creditable 15th in a time of 1:12:29 ahead of Llanberis' Math Roberts who also performed very well, finishing in 16th place in a time of 1:13:10. Other notable Welsh top 20 finishers were: 18th Richard Phillips 1:13:46 & 19th Richard Roberts 1:14:05.
Nant Peris' Sarah Ridgway performed strongly once again returning to Llanberis as first Welsh female and the first local runner, finishing in 1:29:20 with the other two Welsh representatives having a close race between each other for the 9th/10th female position with Anna Bartlett 1:30:55 just ahead of Andrea Rowlands 1:31:02.
Sarah Ridgeway was the first Welsh female to finish. Pic by Sports Pictures Cymru.
There was also a strong programme of junior races as always, with over 100 runners aged from 8 to 18 taking on various distances between 1 and 4 miles. During the morning of the race the Ras i Bawb fun race also took place with Olympic Torch bearers Sandra Bowers and Rhys Parry present to show off the Olympic torch, and get the junior races underway. In addition to the running programme there was a festival atmosphere in the race village with brand and sponsor representation, stalls from a variety of local businesses and fairground entertainment for the thousands of spectators to enjoy. Race organiser Stephen Edwards was rightly proud of the day's proceedings:
"We couldn't have hoped for a better day to be honest", he commented. "From the weather, to the racing, to the enthusiasm of the Llanberis crowds, it has once again been a very special day.
Pictures of the event can be found here courtesy of Sports Pictures Cymru.
One of Europe’s toughest endurance challenges, the 10-mile race involves running from the edge of Lake Padarn in the village of Llanberis to the highest summit in Wales and England and back down.
The first ever race was held on 19 July, 1976 after Ken Jones, a native of Llanberis put forward the idea to the village’s Carnival Committee. Eighty-six runners turned up for the race and it was won by Dave Francis from Bristol who completed the course in 1 hour 12 minutes 05 seconds.
“It was pure curiosity that sparked the idea of the Snowdon race,” explains Ken. “As a walker and runner myself I’d always wondered what was the fastest time someone could run up and down Snowdon. So we arranged to hold the race as part of the annual Carnival activities in Llanberis and the event has grown ever since with up to 450 runners taking part this year.”
In 1980 Llanberis and the Snowdon Race twinned with the Trofeo Vanoni mountain race held every October in the Italian village of Morbegno at the foot of the Alps.
“For nearly a quarter of a century the people of Llanberis have been welcoming the runners from Morbegno to their homes and by now we are very good friends,” he adds.
The Snowdon Race was televised for the first time in 1987 on S4C and today it is one of the main events of the national sporting calendar. Runners from more than ten different countries compete every year but it is also a very important event locally which helps put Llanberis on the map and is a boost to tourism and the local economy.