Llanberis, Wales – With less than a week until the 43rd Jewson International Snowdon Race / Ras-yr-Wyddfa, anticipation of this famous mountain race is high, as over 600 runners get ready to take on one of the toughest mountain races in the UK, Matt Ward previews the race.
Wearing their international vests with perhaps the most pride will be the Welsh runners. There is a strong look to the Wales A men's team in 2018 as RAF man Mike Kallenberg, Peter Ryder, Mark Hopkinson and local favourite Rob Samuel line up. Samuel will be out replicate his form from a few weeks ago when he convincingly won the inov8 Twilight race to the Snowdon summit.
Wales also field a B Team in the men's race, classed as a development squad, which comprises Dolgellau man Tom Roberts, Owen Roberts and south Wales runner Dan Bodman.
As ever the English team will be strong and they will look to challenge for the individual and team crowns. After a storming win 2016 Chris Smith returns and will be one of the men to beat. Joining him in the English team are Chris Holdsworth, fourth in 2017, Cumbrian Tom Addison and Harry Holmes.
On paper one of the classiest teams lining up in 2018 will be Scotland. 2012 winner Murray Strain is joined by 2017 5th-placer James Espie, Robert Simpson and Al Anthony. All four have figured strongly in British and international races in 2018 and it will be a great battle for that team title with the English quartet.
Italy have a strong history in the event, with Davide Magnini taking a famous win in 2017. Although the trio of Giulio Simonetti, Alberto Vender and Manuel Solavaggione are slight unknown quantities internationally, we can be sure that the 'Azzurri' will be challenging for honours come race day.
Ireland have a rich history of success at the event and race regular and 2016 8th placer James Kevan leads a strong Irish quartet including Brian Furey, Seamus Lynch and Tom Lupton.
After a great run at the recent European Mountain champs Zak Hanna leads the Northern Ireland challenge with 2017 11th place runner Gavin Mulholland. Their line-up is completed by William McKee and Tim Johnston.
In the open race Salomon international and GB ultra-trail runner Tom Owens makes the trip south and will look to challenge in a race which he last ran way back in 2004!
Wales’ women’s team has a very strong look to it with GB junior international Bronwen Jenkinson looking to improve on her 4th place in 2017. A 12th place finish in her senior GB debut at the recent European championships underlines her form. The Eryri Harrier is joined by seasoned mountain runners Andrea Rowlands, and Katie Beecher, along with Wales debutant Elliw Haf.
The is no doubt that the English women's team will once again be challenging for the top spot of the podium. 2015 third placer Katie Walshaw runs again after a strong showing in those recent European Mountain championships. Walshaw is joined by Todmorden Harrier Annie Roberts, who has been running well in the British fell champs in 2018, Sophie Noon and Louisa Powell-Smith.
Similar to the men's line-up Scotland promise much. After winning the recent World Long Distance Mountain title Charlotte Morgan is in sparkling form and looks to improve on her last showing of 5th in the 2016 race. She is joined by 2017 3rd placer Stephanie Provan, GB international Georgia Tindley and Jill Stephen, for what promises to be a formidable quartet from north of the border.
Snowdon regulars Megan Wilson and Shileen O’Kane will be representing Northern Ireland and are joined by Sarah Graham and Esther Dickson
Irish women have dominated the race in recent years. However, after Sarah Mulligan’s historic wins in 2013 and 2016, and successive wins in 2014 and 2015 for Sarah McCormack, no Irish women will travel to the race in 2018.
Race organiser Stephen Edwards is keen to point out that the event is much more than just a race, with major sponsors, attractions and a sense of festival which almost brings Llanberis to a stand-still on its traditional third-weekend of July race date:
“We are really pleased to welcome back headline sponsor Jewson to the race this year and the support from them has been fantastic. We are also excited to have inov8 involved and as always very grateful to all of our sponsors. We are also very grateful to Gwynedd Council, Gwynedd Events Team and the Sport for Life team who are helping with the junior races once again in 2018 and we are looking forward to welcoming Cllr Ioan Thomas to start the race at midday.
"It has been a great summer as we all know in the UK when it comes to the weather and with the hope of continued good weather conditions we are expecting one of the biggest crowds ever in Llanberis this year.
“The atmosphere in the village for the Snowdon Race weekend is unbelievable, you have to be here to be able to understand that. This race means so much to the area and the people of Llanberis, they are proud of the race and what it portrays to the thousands of visitors that come here for the race and the weekend. To think what it has become all those years after that very first humble race back in 1976 – it's incredible really.
“The racing should be fantastic once again, with another very strong field of runners from the home nations, Ireland and Italy. From a media perspective we have a TV highlights package on S4C the Sunday after the race at 9pm and will be using Facebook Live to broadcast the finish of the race.
"This will be my 10th year of organising this iconic event and it goes without saying that we couldn't put on the race without the hundreds of volunteers and marshals who descend on the event. They turn out year-in-year-out to help at the race and I'd like to extend a huge thank you to each and every one of them who help make the Snowdon Race what it is."
Jewson, with support from leading mountain running brand inov8, are once again installed as major backers of the event in 2018, which sees a 12noon start from Cae'r Ddol in Llanberis. This year the race will be started by Cllr Ioan Thomas, the Gwynedd Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development.
Other features of the day will be the traditional junior races starting ten minutes after the main race at 12.10pm on the Saturday, the 'Hwyl i Bawb' family run at 10.30am, and the Thursday evening local junior races, which will see almost 200 youngsters taking part. The junior races will once again be support by local business Amdro and the Gwynedd Council Sport for Life team.
- Registration for the main race opens at 4pm on Friday July 20th, closing at 8.30pm with the race day registration running from 8.30am until 11.30am on the 21st of July.
Teams from Wales, England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Italy will once again go head-to-head over the 10 challenging miles of this famous mountain in the heart of the Snowdonia National Park.
The race is considered as one of the greatest in the world of mountain running and attracts some of the best racers in Europe. However, the event has grown over the last four decades to be one on the bucket-list of mere mortals across the world, as just completing the race from Llanberis to the summit of Snowdon and back is something thousands aspire to, but only hundreds achieve.
Evidence of the general popularity has once again been visible as the 650 places available online went on sale on the 1st of March. Within 2 days all but a few had gone
For further race information visit www.snowdonrace.co.uk