This weekend the NIMRA team headed to Wales to race up the mighty Snowdon. They were Aaron McCready, Timothy Johnson (Captain), Jonny Scott, Shane Donelly, Megan Wilson, Aine McCann, Sarah Graham and Shileen O’Kane. They were joined on the trip by team Ireland which included local runners Zak Hanna, Mark Stephens and Sinead Murtagh.
The weather on Friday through to Saturday morning was standard issue british summer – warm, gray and very wet. Fortunately as the race start approached the skies brightened and you could nearly see the top of the Snowdon; I am assured there is a top, I just haven’t set eyes on it – ever.
This year the Snowdon race is in the WMRA race series so as well as the expected international teams from the UK, Ireland and Italy you had runners from all over the world.
As the 650 athletes warmed up in the air scented by steam trains and legends they were treated to some rousing male choir and a trickle of sun.
The race set off through Llanberis at a fierce pace. Leading the pack to the summit was Scotland’s Andy Douglas in 40:42 followed by Italian Martin Demattei 42:14 and Zak 43:13. Behind them local man Aaron was eating up the climb in 45:50; Chapeau to Aaron who is currently living in London and training for the mountains with 1 minute hill reps. Following Aaron was Sarah McCormack 48:18, team captain Timmy in 49:07, Mark 49:14, Jonny 49:37, Shane 52:59, team manager Richard 55:42, Megan 56:14, Sinead 1:00:50, Sarah 1:01:09, Shileen 1:01:13 and Aine 1:01:21.
As is now standard, the path at the top was shrouded in fog and chocked with tourists and runners. This made for inevitably exciting dash off the mountain to the finish.
At the sharp end the positions stayed much the same apart from Martin’s twin Bernard edging Zak 1:08:09 into 4th place. Sarah mcCormack 1:14:49 won the ladies race and was apparently just 11 seconds off the course record – boom.
Some great descending from team NIMRA saw Aaron finish in 17th 1:12:01, Mark 24th 1.14:26 Timmy 28th 1:14:46, Jonny 37th 1:18:08, Shane 44th 1:20:06, Megan 8th 1:24:14, Richard 85th 1:25:08, Aine 22nd 1:32: 54, Sinead 24th 1:33:52, Sarah 26th 1:34:00, and Shileen 1:35:52.
The race up Snowdon destroys most mortals, but not Megan Wilson who 5 hours after finishing the race headed out to help Billy Reed and Dale Mathers navigate the 3rd leg of their Paddy Buckley round; that translates to an additonal 13 miles and 5500 feet of climbing and a second summit of Snowdon; at midnight. Really it’s nothing compared to her upcoming attempt at Silk Road Mountain Race though – kick ass Megan.
Big shout to the other Team Manager, Ricky Hanna, who acted as the official team support on the mountain side handing out snacks and drinks on what turned out to be a hot day out.
You can find the results here. It’s on TV this evening on S4C @8pm and available on iplayer after that.