Snowdonia Marathon 2017



  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭
    I fear any refreshments are only going to be available to those doing the early morning training run, Ralph.

    Thanks for the offer, LG!  I'll let you know what and when in good time.
  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭
    Wonder where brer is?  She must have done a couple of dozen marathons since we last heard from her ...

    Gower 50 on Saturday, my first warm up race.  Haven't even done my maps yet, but I think I've got everything ready on the kit list.
  • Have a good one T Rex. No race for me this weekend. Hoping to get a 24 miler in on Sunday though and parkrun Saturday. 

    Did anyone hear the rumour that Pete's Eats was closing? I was going around on social media last week. Wondered if it was true or not? Was looking forward to some comfort food after the race.
  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭
    That would be a big pity.  I have been eating there for over 20 years, including after every SNOD marathon - essential part of recovery.  They used to have showers you could use as well, but not in recent years.
  • WaboWabo ✭✭✭
    edited October 2017
    I have a cousin who lives and works in the area, he has said he'll see me before the last pass, and would I like red wine!!!!
    I said why not.....
    possunt quia posse videntur - we can because we know we can 
  • WaboWabo ✭✭✭
    TR well done at Cardiff!
    possunt quia posse videntur - we can because we know we can 
  • Cheers Wabo.. Any chance I could get a red wine too?! Lol! just kidding! Couldn't think of anything worse! 

    Good news about Pete's Eats Fish.. Was worried about where I was going to get my post race grub! 

    Did a Hill session tonight  with the club. My legs are still trashed from the weekend. In need of a day or two off I think.
  • fish-out-of-waterfish-out-of-water ✭✭✭
    edited October 2017
    This just popped up on the Marathon's FB page - wondered if it would be of interest to anyone on here (who may not have seen it on FB) as it's about race health research:

    Do many runners use backpacks/hydration vests for this race? Just with the unpredictable elements I'm considering a running bag with a hat and a jacket in!
    Many thanks!
  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭
    Very few if any backpacks, CSMLFC.  Plenty of water on the course (as well as coming down from the sky).  I usually use a running belt for all marathons, including this one, in which I can carry up to 1L energy drink, car keys, phone, my regulation one gel, etc.  Things like a jacket or hat can be tucked into the belt.

    I actually only wear a jacket when the conditions are absolutely extreme.  It is more important to be warm than dry so I find a good, windproof l/s shirt does the job.

    Better get my head down at this uncharacteristically early time for me.  Up at 0355.  Think of me at 0800 tomorrow, battling along Rhossili beach in the 26mph westerlies and heavy rain which are forecast.  All good training for SNOD.
  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭
    Back from the Gower.  I haven't done one of my reports for a while and that outing definitely deserves one!  At about mile 46 I got into probably the worst predicament I have ever got into in even a training run, never mind a race.  Alone and in the dark about 2000 last night.

    So when I'm feeling less mentally scarred I'll write something here!
  • I thought I had an exciting long run... I bet its nothing compared to yours.. lol. Look forward to the report.
  • T Rex said:
    Back from the Gower.  I haven't done one of my reports for a while and that outing definitely deserves one!  At about mile 46 I got into probably the worst predicament I have ever got into in even a training run, never mind a race.  Alone and in the dark about 2000 last night.

    So when I'm feeling less mentally scarred I'll write something here!
    Oh my!!! When T Rex says this you know a good story is coming!!! waiting with baited breath
  • So is this the time of the month when we compare notes, longest training runs, aches and pains, weekly mileage etc. well the less I say about all that the better! I think I got up to 13 miles! Which is quite good for me. perhaps 100 run miles this year but that's probably optimistic!! And I hear that TRex has me on the list for the double! GULP.
  • T Rex said:
    TR22 - tapering?  I'm glad there's someone normal on this thread.

    Here's my taper:

    7 Oct  Gower 50
    15 Oct  Ponty Plod 11
    21 Oct Autumn 100
    28 Oct  SNOD

     :-O Oh my gosh Trex!!!!! That's some taper!! I've been tempted with the Autumn100 as its right on my doorstop. Good luck with that!!!! We are certainly going to be going into SNOD Double from two extremes!!

  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭
    Hello, Stu.  I was hoping you were still there and up for it.   Any other sign-ups for The Double?   You know you want to.

    My plan for 2018 is to do another double, but this time the SNOD/Dublin double.  I'm not sure I would be up for a double double.

    Report will follow, probably tomorrow.  As ultras go it was fairly normal - wonderful scenery, challenges given to you by nature, fatigue, pain -  if very hard, certainly harder than I was expecting, but it wasn't until about 12 hours in that I got into real difficulties.  I'll try to present it as it happened and I would be interested to know what any of you would have done in the same situation.

  • Sounds intriguing Trex, can't wait!
  • panadpanad ✭✭✭
    Slightly concerning TRex, given some of the past scrapes you've got yourself into....

  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭
    OK, here we go then.  Pour yourself a beer or a glass of red ...
  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭

    Gower 50   7 Oct 2017

    Up at 0355, a large bowl of porridge consumed, and out of the door at 0445.  Arrived at the St Madoc Centre at the far NW tip of Gower at 0615, an hour and a quarter before race start.  Unheard of level of organisation from me, and plenty of time for registration, compulsory kit check, and getting race ready.  A map was given out and this had to be examined for changes, also a detailed route description on four pages of A4 but there was no time to read this.

    We lined up in the early light, cold, and rain and set off at 0730.  After about 2 miles we rounded the headland and met the full force of the wind and marvelled at the huge breakers coming into Rhossili Bay.  It was high tide and we were supposed to run along the beach for about 3 miles.  The only bits of beach visible were those in brief moments when a wave receded so it was a matter of avoiding a drenching from the next wave.  Soon even this wasn’t possible and it was a case of trudging over rocks and pebbles at the bottom of the cliff.  This took an eternity.

    Later on though there was much more pleasant running along the south coast of Gower, although in periods of heavy rain and low visibility.

    The field was getting spread out and compared to other ultras there didn’t seem to be the willingness to get into groups and enjoy a bit of banter.

  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭

    After 4 or 5 hours the weather gradually improved but the underfoot conditions were surprisingly wet with long muddy sections.  There was also quite a lot of floundering around in sand dunes.

    The crossing of Oxwich Bay on the beach for a couple of miles was one of the more idyllic moments.

    By about mile 28 it was time to turn inland.  Progress had been really slow so far but the next 15 miles or so were largely tarmac and I hoped to make up a bit of time.  My original goal was 11 hours (I should have looked at 2016’s results!) but now it looked more likely to be just over 12 hours.

    Through various southern suburbs of Swansea we went and then across Clyne Common.  It should have been called Clyne Marsh, it was so boggy.  Thoughtfully the organisers had put a line of their trademark little orange flags, about 50cm high, across this area or we would still be floundering about out there still.

    Then into Clyne Wood which started off on good runnable trail before gradually deteriorating into a mud bath and eventually what looked more like a downhill mountain bike route.  From this difficult descent we finally emerged onto a cycleway and the prospect of a flat, tarmac route for the next 11 miles or so.  Road shoes would now have been useful!  Instead I stopped outside a pub, to the cheers (or was it jeers?) from the punters.  I washed myself down in a stream, dried my feet and put on clean socks.  It felt moderately luxurious but my feet were already a mess from being wet for so many hours.

  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭
    edited October 2017

    And then it was a matter of hobbling and shuffling on as best as I could, probably only about 5 mph.

    I was surprised to see so few runners on this long cycleway and then road section.  Where were they all?  Was I right at the back?  

    There was such a long road section of the Wales Coast path on the northern Gower because the coastline here is salt marshes and treacherous mudflats and creeks which no-one would dare venture out onto especially on incoming tides.  The course did have high tide alternative routes that we were told about in the race briefing.

    We went round Crofty village and along a minor road right next to the salt marsh but the sea looked far away so it was going to be fine for us.

    The sun was low in the sky by now and we would only have about an hour of daylight left.  Try to pick up the pace.  There were about 8 miles to go.  I started picking off stragglers.
  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭
    At about mile 43 we turned off the road for a final section of trail through fields that bordered the salt marsh and occasionally dipping into the woods that lay in a strip to our left, alternating between them in a random manner.  It was getting hard to follow the proper path in the fading light.  Happily another string of little orange flags came to the rescue for the next few miles.  What a labour it must have been to put out all these flags!  I had more or less fallen in with two other runners at this point and thought, Good, the three of us are going to buddy up for the remaining night section.

    The going was horrible.  The fields were waterlogged and had been churned up by livestock, especially either side of gates.  I had been hoping to have more or less dry feet until the finish.  But here we were plodding through gloop up to our ankles.

    A short section of road through Landimore village and along a rough track back to the sea’s edge.  At the end of this track was the final checkpoint gazebo with food and good cheer, the last we would have until the finish.  Our group of three were still together just, and it was now completely dark.

    We were told the track continued westward and became a bit muddy later on. And so it proved.

  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭

    One of our group had set off at a great pace but I fell in with the other one (never did get to find out names) and it was good to take our minds off the brutal conditions that we had gone through and the terrible state of our feet.  There were only 4 miles to go.  We talked about our past races and found we had quite a few in common, and future races we were planning to do. But then I had to urgently bring us back to the present. 

    We were now skirting the edge of a wood bordered with dense undergrowth on our left.  The path was just mud with a grass verge on the right which we occasionally used, but it was becoming smaller and smaller.  Beyond this verge was an area of darkness.  Shining my headtorch over it I saw that it not just darkness.  It was water.  Over the last hour or so the tide had come right up to the path.

  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭

    The grass verge disappeared, but there was still a narrow strip of mud to walk on.  The path took a left turn and became bordered by a stone wall on the left – the wood had ended – and it was starting to get very soggy indeed.  The three of us finally came together at a kissing gate.  I could see why the chap ahead had stopped.  On the other side of the gate was very deep water right up to the wall.  Nonetheless he sloshed through it and continued ahead.  I called out to him, asking if it got any better.  He said, ‘No, worse’.  He disappeared out of sight and I never heard or saw him again.

    Neither of the remaining two of us was keen to follow.  I devised a cunning plan to climb up the gate and onto the wall and walk along the top of the wall.  My companion didn’t want to do this and sloshed off through the water following the other chap.  The two of them seemed to know where they were going.  Perhaps they had recced the course, or done it before?

    My walk was short-lived.  After about 20m the wall ended and the way ahead was blocked by a vast body of water, the current flowing swiftly, brown looking and carrying with it all manner of vegetation and other detritus.
  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭
    edited October 2017

    The headtorch of the ‘runner’ ahead was still visible across this water and I yelled out, What’s out there?  What have you made for?

    ‘The foot bridge’, he yelled back.

    Footbridge??  Over this lot? My torch could just pick out some sort of structure.  It didn’t look like a footbridge because it was mostly submerged.

    I shone my headtorch through 360 degrees.  I was not in a good position.  Not in a good position at all.  Apart from the wall I was on, I was completely surrounded by water, noisily churning around.  With every passing moment my situation was getting worse.  The tide was coming in frighteningly quickly.  What if it reached the top of my wall?  Would I be able to swim somewhere, or on what far out section of mudbank would I eventually be dumped?  Assuming I survived the experience?

    It was surprising but at no point did it even enter my head to go back.  But in any case perhaps a route back by then was no longer safe, or even possible.

    Heart beating wildly, I realised the more I dithered and put off the moment of doing anything, almost by the second my predicament was becoming more and more desperate.

  • massivemassive ✭✭✭
    Good call Ralph! An enjoyable read T Rex. Loved that bit " He disappeared out of sight and I never heard or saw him again"
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