Great update from Oliver Mitchell on the awesome Snowdon Skyrace race – great to see Devon Runners making a success.
The day after a group of Devon fell runners were competing in North Wales, myself and Luke Roberts (both Devon based runners) were also racing in the area in the Snowdon Skyrace.
The route is around 40km and has 4 big climbs and descents with around 3300m of ascent in total. Whilst not a fell race (as the course is marked and more commercial in nature), the terrain is more akin to a fell race than many trail races due to the classic fell lines over ridges and mountain tops. As fell running has a long tradition ‘sky races’ do not always draw the most competitive fields, nevertheless some of the best fell runners have dabbled in the more notable events.
The race started with a fairly relaxed pace up Snowdon and then down over Y Lliwedd to Pen-y-Pass. On the second section up and over Glider Fawr (part of the Welsh 1000m Peaks Fell Race in reverse). I kept a steady pace and caught up with the lead group of 3 runners. This is where I met Luke and we soon realised that we both raced each other on the same course back in 2019.
The lead runner made a break for it leaving 3 runners to climb over Tryfan together in the obscenely hot conditions. On the final ascent of Crib Goch, the second runner made a push for it leaving Luke and I in 3rd and 4th. Staying together up the long climb helped our morale (and pace) and at the top we wished each other good luck before the punishing decent to the finish.
I made it down in 3rd place in around 6 hours 8mins just before Luke who arrived a minute after in 4th place overall and more impressively 1st in the U25 category, so it was two podiums for the Devon runners.
The event was meticulously organised and whilst more expensive than traditional fell races it offered free camping for the weekend and a 50% discount to juniors to support the growth of younger runners.
Hope you enjoyed reading about a brief departure from the fell scene – Oli Mitchell
Thank you Oliver – awesome race and well done Luke. Go Devon! Anyone else wants to share mountain running races let me know….’see you on the hills’ Richard.