Race Report – Ultra Trail Snowdonia


On Saturday 2 July I ran Ultra Trail Snowdonia (UTS).

UTS is a series of races organised by Apex running. There are 3 events covering 165km, 100km and 50km. For the first time this year the races were branded “by UTMB” (Ultra Tour Mont Blanc – which is a bit like the World Champs for trail running). Given the UTMB affiliation, it was an international affair and attracted A LOT more runners than last year’s event over the 3 distances.

According to Garmin 51.83km and 3,250m of ascent (and descent!)

In the 50k the Female race win was Kirsteen Welch in 6:23:34 and in the Mens race Jack Scott in 5:35:15 – how do they do that?

I pootled round a rather more sedate 9:19:03 and was 216 of 550 finishers. I think 16th in age group.

Purpose: Mountain legs and Hydration – tested by not being sick on my shoes. I managed to succeed on all counts this month!

It took about 7 hours, plus stops to get to Llanberis (I blame the F1 Traffic!). Race registration was at the Slate Museum in Llanberis. It rained heavily on Friday and there were strong winds, even in town. It must have been awful up on the hills for those who had started the 165k race at 11 that morning.

Later that evening the 165k was stopped due to dangerous weather. Participants were given the choice to start in the 100k or 50k the next morning, if they wanted to – a surprising number did!

I managed to find a good spot to park up, by the lake, and walked in to town to carb load at the Chippy!

The 100k race started at 4am on Saturday morning (the main reason I didn’t enter!). We started at a more sensible 9am, under grey skies and a light breeze.

We ran an anti-clockwise route, with a runnable climb up to Foel Goch over Bryn Mar and then left, down a track into Waunfawr and the first check point at about 17k. Banana, peanut butter sandwiches and a water top up, then off up Moel Smytho and tracking back along the southern side of LLyn Cwellyn, dropping down into checkpoint 2 at around 25k. Still felt good – More banana and Peanut butter sandwiches.

Leaving the checkpoint, we followed a track to meet the Rangers Path for the first ascent of Snowdon. All the way up, past the cafe and down the Watkin Path as far as the scramble across Y Lliwedd – which is a lovely scramble with amazing views – the weather had cleared up by now and it was really a joy to be out in the mountains! We turned left, down the path to Llyn LLydaw (the reservoir in the Snowdon horseshoe), then down the Miners Path into Pen-y-pass and the final checkpoint at about 39k. (guess what I ate!).

We took the Pyg Track back up Snowdon and it was a bit of a drag towards the end TBH. (I must do more climbing). The final run was down the Llanberis Path, pretending to race the train, back into town – where I promptly turned the wrong way and took a 1k detour before I realised. Oh Bother! (I exclaimed), before turning round, back up the hill and re-joining the course for the final run back into the Slate Museum.

A celebratory return visit to the Chippy, a good night’s sleep and only 5.30 hours to get home @ 6am on Sunday morning!

Race 4 is the iconic Lakeland 50 on 30th July. Purpose: Mountain legs and Hydration.

I am now very scared for September!

Darren Bentham