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Quad SNOD, part I
Arrived in the Llanberis area on the
Thursday evening and spent most of the evening and the next morning sorting out
kit and drop bags. Left digs about
midday on Friday to register and leave a drop bag in the hedge on the right
hand side of the road near the start.
Didn’t want this bag found so I hid it high up the bank and covered it
with bracken. “No-one will find that,” I
Then down into Llanberis to cache
another bag in a secret, indoor location, including a flask of soup which I
hoped would still be reasonably warm in 13 hours’ time.
And then into Pantri for excellent hospitality, food, and rest for an hour or so.
At 1417, two minutes behind schedule
I set out in the reverse direction with a good send off from SNOD forumites and
It was very windy, cold, and damp as
I set off up the steep side of the mountain towards Waun Fawr. Colder than I was expecting and far colder
than down in the valley. A buff had to
go over my mouth.
Lovely descent into Waun Fawr and a
very helpful tailwind all the way to Beddgelert. I had to slow down by deliberately walking.
About mile 20 a well-dressed runner
was heading towards me and I rightly guessed this was Andy, from Newport, also
aiming to do the Quad SNOD, and well into his first lap. We exchanged notes and he said he had got to
mile 18 comfortably in 3h10. “A bit fast,”
I thought, but he looked in great shape.
He told me Duane, aiming for six laps (?!), was on the course but not feeling
Got to mile 13 six minutes ahead of
schedule and had a great meet-up with The Lazy Greyhound with food and we had a
discussion as to where he could leave me a drop bag. We opted for under a tree outside a
semi-derelict building. Thanks, buddy!
Every half an hour or so it kept coming
over very dark with brief hailstorms. Coming
out of Beddgelert up the long and gradual climb there was a particularly nasty
one. It was just about nightfall and I
was getting cold, especially my hands. I
took a long break in someone’s garden sheltering under a tree while I
re-organised my kit and food. On went
windproof beanie, new OMM Kamleika jacket, high-vis tabard, gloves, and
headtorch. That felt better!
Still running well within myself I jogged
up the track, quite a serious climb between miles 7 and 6.
A lot of problems once back on the road
and going up and over Pen-y-Pass. It was
nasty weather with continuous dampness and light rain in the air and a brutal
headwind now. Oncoming cars couldn’t
seem to see me and frequently swerved around me at the last minute. Pesky runners who had just been to register
and were rushing to their warm beds.
No such luxury for me. Got to about the race start area in 6h10,
five minutes ahead of schedule, and started looking for my bag. Where was it?
In the dark the long stretch of hedge was featureless and offered no
clue as to where I had headed into it eight hours before. And why did I cover it in bracken?? After not a little bit of concern, managed to
locate it, had some food and topped up water and energy drink. It was raining steadily by now and it was a
bit miserable in there so I set off as quickly as possible after only 13
minutes of ‘recovery’. 2041. Nineteen minutes ahead of schedule!
One lap done and all good so far.
There was less traffic coming down
the Llanberis Pass this time so I reached Pen-y-Pass unscathed but more tired
than I should be. Lost some time and was
now only 13 minutes ahead of schedule. Soon
it was time to run down the off road section, a great experience in the dark.
Just after mile 6 two headtorches were
approaching, moving at a good speed towards me.
These were Andy nearly finishing his second lap (anti-clockwise) and
Duane nearly finishing his third. After
his second lap Duane had earlier decided to wait in Llanberis until Andy had
finished his first lap and then they had set out together. They looked in great shape and commented that
despite difficult conditions with the wind there hadn’t been any heavy rain. I was rather pleased to note that since the
last time I had seen Andy we had both covered 26 miles, but then I suspect he
had had far longer than 13 minutes’ rest between his marathons!
Soon after leaving them the heavens
opened and the next two miles were in very heavy rain and poor visibility.
Somewhere about mile 9 when back on
the road I became aware I was limping.
Stiffness on the top of the left ankle and pain at the bottom of the
shin were starting. This was an injury that
I had picked up in my last long training run two
weeks previously, and that I had sort of hoped had cleared up, but clearly was coming
back again. Inflammation of the superior
extensor retinaculum. I still had 69 miles to go and this wasn’t a good sign at
Nothing for it but to keep plodding
on. Pleased to get to my feed station at
Beddgelert, mile 13, if now only four minutes ahead of schedule, where I found
under the tree a large black sack of goodies!
It was like a lucky dip, or Santa’s grotto! The LG, you’re a star. Here I topped up my water and grabbed two
packets of crisps and a pasty. And then it was the long drag up to Waunfawr. It’s 9 miles but seemed to take an eternity. It was 0215 as I started to tackle the hill
at mile 22 and I was now 15 minutes behind schedule. Things were unravelling a little. It was cold on the top again but what a great
view looking down on Llanberis at night.
During the dark hours I had hardly been using the headtorch, so bright
was the moon (in between the hailstorms).
Eventually down to my indoor bag drop
and, yes, the soup was still quite warm.
I downed quite a lot of food here, dealt with just the one blister that
had formed, dried my feet, and put on clean socks. Doing this makes a lot of difference. If your feet feel good it makes you feel good
all over. After a 27-minute break here
(shaving three minutes off my schedule) it was back off out into the darkness
again and up the mountain to Waunfawr. 0400. Still 15 minutes behind schedule
overall. Two laps done, two to go.
Down but not out!