© Dave Pinnington
Andi Jones in 2009
The International Snowdon Race / Ras yr Wyddfa this Saturday (July 23) sees an international line-up that is one of the strongest for many years, and sees Englishman Andi Jones aiming for an unprecedented 5th win on this famous mountain…
With the event already set to be one of the greatest ever to grace the area, teams from across Europe will pit battle on the famous mountain in an effort to put their names alongside the former winners that include names such as Kenny Stuart (still the course record holder after 26 years), Angela Mudge, Tim Davies and Carol Greenwood.
© Gareth Llewelyn
Kenny Stuart at his 1985 record run
This year’s Snowdon event will also be a ‘new’ race on the 2011 ISF (International Skyrunning Federation) calendar, replacing The Ben Nevis Race as the UK’s Skyrunner® World Series Trial race, offering national and international competitors the chance to gain valuable ranking points.
Winners of the International Snowdon Race are guaranteed their place in history. To be one of the men and women that have won one of the 35 races held since 1976 takes tenacity, talent and qualities that only the elite mountain runners possess. To be one of those athletes who have won the race more than once assures almost legendary status.
© Mark Croasdale
Andi Jones at the recent EMRC in Turkey
Andi Jones is one such runner, and returns to one of his favourite races after his absence in 2010. Winner of the race in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009, Andi was unable to take part due to the European Marathon Champs in 2010, but returns full of vigour in 2011.
The 32 year-old school teacher enters this year’s race in great form, fresh from a superb 7th place in the European Mountain Running Championships in Turkey last weekend.
Looking to take his second win, and prevent Jones from taking his 5th, is young Scot Robbie Simpson. The GB international returns to the place of his historic triumph in 2010, where he became the youngest ever winner of the race at juts 18 years old. Mountain running legend, and three-time winner of the race, Ian Holmes also returns this year, after finishing runner-up to Andi Jones in 2009 and placing 3rd in 2010.
© Neale Lewis-Jones
Wilson Chemweno blazed a trail for Kenya in 2010, by becoming the first elite Kenyan runner to run the event and there is a possibility that two fellow countrymen and one woman will travel from the Eldoret area to race in 2011. This is to be confirmed, news will appear on the race website www.snowdonrace.co.uk.
One open event competitor to look out for is Englishmen Lloyd Taggart, who has shown strong from in recent weeks and has a pedigree of performing at the highest level.
© Al Tye / www.fellrunningpictures.co.uk
Lloyd Taggart at Cader Idris 2011
In the women’s race 2010 winner Catriona Buchanan return to defend her title. The Scots youngster will face strong opposition, most notably from 2010 runner up Pippa Maddams. Having been defeated by Buchanan last year the Keswick athlete will look to add this great race to her career wins which have seen British Fell Running titles in 2009 and 2010 and a superb world title winning run at the recent World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships in Slovenia.
© Al Tye / fellrunningpictures.co.uk
Catriona Buchanan at Snowdon 2010
Another very interesting open entry also comes in the form of Katie Ingram. The 2009 winner has been part of the GB triathlon set-up in recent years, however Ingram is returning to the source this weekend, and after a fair hiatus from mountain racing it will be interesting to see how the GB international performs.
© Dave Woodhead
With the Home Countries and Irish teams having been announced the team races should be very competitive in 2011, with Scotland in particular looking to wrestle the team title from the English grip that has been present for many years.
“We have concentrated this year on attracting some high-quality international runners to the event”, says race committee member Jayne Lloyd. As the head of international teams at the race Jayne is excited at the prospect of some high-quality racing at this year’s event. “The Home Countries will once again a chance to prove themselves against the best of European competition.”
The Welsh team is also strong with the likes of Mathew and Richard Roberts, and Andrea Rowlands taking to the start line.
Another significant aspect of the race – and an underlining of its heritage and sporting significance in Wales – is the TV coverage that the event enjoys. S4C has been