Trail Marathon Wales 22nd June 2014
It’s my second year at this event and I’m becoming really fond of it. The course is set in the Coen y Brenin forest in Snowdonia, is very hilly and tough with 3500ft of climb but unlike Scafell last week, it isn’t rocky and the trails are very runnable. There are no particular high peaks but lots of big ups and downs through mile upon mile of beautiful forest. I absolutely love running through trees, making this challenging course like heaven for me.
We cross over a river several times, it’s spectacular as it crashes over large moss covered rocks and winds through the trees. As the course has lots of twists and turns I’m not sure whether it is just one river we keep crossing or there are more than one but to me it doesn’t matter, I just love all the scenery.
The only down side to the race are the millions of midges, flying round and annoying you. Last year the weather was much cooler and they weren’t a problem but this year in the sunshine and very warm air, they were out in force. I couldn’t believe it but some of the marshals were wearing hats with mesh vales to keep the midges out. Once out running they didn’t cause too much of a problem apart from sticking to your sweaty skin. Note to self, if I run here next year bring insect replant spray.
The route of the race this year had changed a lot from 2013 mainly due to the bad storms over the winter bringing down lots of trees and seriously affecting the trails through the forest. This year was basically a figure 8.
I ran part of the first half in the fine company of an ex-soldier, sergeant James, raising money for charity and on his first marathon. I finished the first half in 1:56 which was well on target for the sub 4 hours which I was after. As usual the second half is always harder and I had to push myself a bit to keep under my 4 hour goal and was very pleased to finish in 3 hour 56 minutes 30 seconds.
For anyone out there reading this, who likes running under tree cover, this is a must (and there is a half option) and I do hope to be back here again soon.