(Pictured, 2012 winner Rob Samuel)
There are few marathons in the UK that can claim to have the same history as the Snowdonia Marathon Eryri. Now in its 31st year the marathon, which is regarded as one of the toughest and most picturesque in the UK, can proudly boast some great battles and performances over the years, from some of the UK's top mountain and marathon runners.
Names such as Jeff Norman, Martin Cox and Lizzy Hawker have graced the event, with Norman's time of 2:28:02 from 1985 surely ranking as one of the great marathon performances in the UK from the last four decades.
This year will once again see some world-class athletes taking to the start line as the 2012 winner Emily Gelder (pictured, below) is set to return to the Snowdonia Marathon, to defend her title.
In the men's event 2011 and 2012 winner and local favourite Rob Samuel is a possible starter, as he aims for the hat-trick of Snowdonia wins following a return from injury.
2013 also sees yet another a record field of competitors, with 2,200 hardy runners expected to descend on Llanberis on the 26th of October. Sponsors from the length and breadth of the UK, along with a number of local businesses, will be engaged once again, as the event delivers on its promise to put Wales, the local community and local economy foremost.
The race will also have it's by now customary celebrity feel this year, as Welsh adventurer and TV presenter Lowri Morgan returns to the event after describing the 2012 experience as one of most moving of of her sporting life.
The 'boys are back in town' too, as Merthyr Tydfil man Richard Harrington returns, best known for his role as Gabriel Cochrane in ‘Lark Rise to Candleford’ and new drama 'Hinterland' which is about to hit our screens, along with Wreham-born Mark Lewis Jones (Waking the Dead, Torchwood). Both found the 2012 race one of the most exhilarating and challenging races that they have run, with Richard stating on last year's finish line that he was moved to tears at one point on the stunning route.
Race-day also sees the continuation of the highly popular junior races which will take place in the village centre, finishing on the same high street location as the marathon.
Event sponsors returning once again for 2013 are footwear and clothing brand Brooks, headwear specialists Buff and High 5 Sports Nutrition, who will keep the runners fuelled over the gruelling 26.2-mile route. The race once again partners with cancer charity Tenovus and they will be bringing their mobile unit along for participants and spectators to learn a little more about the fantastic work they do.
Event organiser Jayne Lloyd is once again anticipating a memorable race, stating:
"We have so much to shout about once again this year. I can honestly say that in the 9 years that I have been organising the race we have never had so much to get excited about, whether from a sporting, community, celebrity or charity stand-point. We are seen as one of the premier marathons in the UK now, and demand for places is getting higher every year. We don't really want to grow the event much further in terms of entry numbers so we are now looking at the experience and enjoyment factor of the event.
"It's very pleasing to have the likes of Emily, Rob, Lowri, Mark and Richard back, but of course the other 2000 plus runners, their stories and their inspiration are what make this event great too. Every year people return to the event, often bringing family or hoards of supporters and well-wishers with them, so it's also about putting something back in to the local community too as they use the local hostelries and eateries over the weekend. The local people and businesses have to endure the inconvenience of our traffic management during the race and continue to give us the support we need to make this event work and we as organisers are very grateful."
Further event, sponsor and press information can be found at the Snowdonia Marathon / Marathon Eryri website www.snowdoniamarathon.com, on Facebook and Twitter @marathoneryri