Snowdon Race 2023 Report

Cancelled ferries, absent coach transfers & unforgiving rain. The NIMRA teams’ journey to the international Snowdon race in 2023.

The team selected for the event was Adam Cunningham, Andrew Tees, Joshua McAtee, James Millar, Tom Crudgington, Jared Martin, Esther Dickson, Naomi McCurry & Alexa James. In the weeks running up to the event everything was going like clockwork; training was completed, ferries were booked, the weather was good, but little did we know that this would be the calm before the storm. Literally.

The first sign of trouble came as a text message from Irish Ferries stating our afternoon crossing was cancelled due to high winds, leaving the only viable option to be early morning crossing before the weather front hit. A small setback we thought but at least we still had our way to Wales. A few hours of scrambling to find a transfer to Llanberis from the ferry terminal then took place, we joined forces with the Irish Team to see if a minibus could be booked.

Our luck had turned around, or so we thought, as the organisers had managed to secure a bus to pick us up at 11:30am. The crossing took slightly longer than planned though, meaning the team arrived in Holyhead to be greeted with an empty car park. The bus didn’t hang around! Taxis were flagged down, but none would go to Llanberis meaning the only option would be to sit it out and wait for the organisers to send another bus.

Arriving at the Royal Victoria the team were awarded a few hours rest before hearing whispers that the course could be shortened due to the storm. Nothing we could do except get an early night and hope for the best in the morning.

The clear skies overhead on the way to registration gave false hope, soon the heavens opened, and they weren’t closing for the rest of the day. Prior to completing their media duties, the team received confirmation that the furthest the race would go would be as far as Clogwyn station,(3/4 of the way up the mountain at an elevation of 780 metres) due to winds at the summit regularly gusting past 70 mph!

After completing a warm-up, the race briefing was interrupted by mountain rescue stating they were unable to hold their position at Clogwyn due to further increasing wind, meaning the race was shortened further back down the mountain. The new halfway point would now be at the base of the Allt Moses section of the trail (approx. 2/3rds up the path at an elevation of 640m). It was clear from the moment the starter’s whistle was sounded that this was going to be a fast one.

L-R: Naomi McCurry (Glens Runners), Alexa James (Carmen Runners), Andrew Tees (BARF), Jared Martin (Ballydrain Harriers), Esther Dickson (Newry AC), Adam Cunningham & Joshua McAtee (Mourne Runners), Tom Crudgington (Newcastle AC) and James Millar (Mourne Runners)

Tom was first to the halfway point in 27:00, followed by Jared 3 seconds later, Andrew would be next at 30:17 with Joshua following 2 seconds later. Adam wasn’t far behind in 30:44, followed by James (30:44), Esther (36:28), Naomi (37:45) & Alexa (40:23). The shortened route meant few changes were to the above order; Jared descended strongly to cross the line in 42:28, followed by Tom in 44:00, Andrew in 46:28, Joshua 46:43, Adam 47:22 & James in 48:18. Esther was the first of the ladies home in 54:28, followed by Naomi in 58:07 and Alexa in 1:01:18.

Despite the disruptions and the weather it was a great weekend away and enjoyable race. Thanks go to NIMRA for the opportunity to race and to represent NI, and to Anne Sandford for organising.

The event was won by Italy’s Isacco Costa in 39:02, and the women’s race was won by Scotland’s Holly Page in 46:01

The International team results were as follows:

Men’s Race

1st England (1:59:10)

2nd Scotland (2:01:28)

3rd Rep Ireland (2:07:37)

4th Wales (2:09:27)

5th Northern Ireland (2:12:59)

Women’s Race

1st England (2:24:26)

2nd Scotland (2:28:41)

3rd Wales (2:34:44)

4th Rep Ireland (2:39:17)

5th Northern Ireland (2:53:46)

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