test I can’t remember where I first found out about the event but the tagline ‘Brutal but Beautiful. 20 miles. 1 mountain. Man vs Mountain is back on the 6th September 2014. Can you conquer Snowdon?’ caught my attention.
Why not enter – it looks like it could be fun I thought to myself!
Being a relative newcomer to long distance and trail running in particular I wasn’t sure how to train for what I thought was going be one tough race.
In the end I just ended up doing as much hill running as possible over fairly long distances of 10 – 15 miles with a bit of extra hill work thrown in for good measure. It turned out that this was pretty good training.
We set off from Harrogate on Friday evening at a fairly brisk pace in order to meet the registration deadline of 10pm. Arriving at the registration venue with time to spare I was quickly through the efficient process and out the other side with my race number and technical t-shirt in hand.
The hotel, or pub with rooms as it turned out, we had booked was in Caernarfon town centre within sight of the start line and would have been the perfect location if it wasn’t for the disco that went on until 2am directly under our room.
With no breakfast available at the hotel I ended up having a couple of pots of Oats So Simple with bananas to fuel me for the task ahead.
With registration done the day before all I needed to do was get dressed and head over to the start line in the grounds of the castle itself.
I was in the first wave so after the briefing we lined up on the start line and got ready for the starting gun.
At 8am on the dot we were off, a gentle jog to the bottle neck at the exit to the the castle saw us dob our timing chip and the event started proper.
The initial few miles went by quite uneventfully and I was making quite a lot of places up to the point where I thought I was going far too fast and should pace myself a little bit but I was feeling comfortable so just decided to press on.
It wasn’t long before we were in the foothills and after about 5 miles we hit a short downhill section and I hit the first of my problems with my pack.
I had purchased a Salomon Skin Pro 3 set just days before the event and hadn’t had time to test it properly. This was a massive mistake because everytime I ran downhill the velcro holding the shoulder straps together broke apart causing the bag to just fall off my back.
I stopped to fix the issue and set off again after losing a few places and it wasnt long before we started to hit the climb to the top of snowdon proper.
The initial climb wasnt too steep and i started to make some the places i had lost back agian.
It wasn’t long before we hit the clouds and visibility dropped considerably as the trail steepened as we climbed towards the summit.
I was making good time at this stage anf had moved back into the top 10. The clouds started to clear enough to see the magnificent views we had been expecting.
Then it came into view, the summit was in sight, just the final steps to go and it was time to turn around and run the 4miles downhill to the finish at Llanberis.
After 13 tough uphill miles my legs got the better of me and i couldnt control my speed. I just kept getting faster and faster and it was terrifying. I eventually managed to point myself back uphill and get my speed under control but for a few minutes it was prooer squeeky bum time thinking i coukd go over very easily if i didnt slow myself down.
The rest of the descent down Llanberis path went oast rather uneventfully apart from a trip that caused me ti gi head first into a gate but i made some mire places back so i was happy and feeling confident as thus stage.
At the bottom i dropped ny pack, had a quick high5 energy gel and set off towards the vertical kilometre.
Boy was this tough after the previous 18 miles. It was steep and rough and unrelenting. Brutal it was and it certainly lived up to its name.
Eventually i reached the top and was set off in the direction of the water obstacles and abseil. These were a lot of fun and a nuce addition to what was a trail race.
There was a mixture of water obstacles ranging from plank jumps to slides and pipes to climb through.
Eventually i could hear the noise of the finish line and had just had 2 walls and the rope slope to go before i crossed the finish line.
I spotted victoria and shouted her so she ran alongside me (missing out the obstacles mind) and i crossed the finish line in 4th. This would eventually become 5th once the other waves finished but i was very happy with that especially with the pack problems i had.
Man v mountain is definately something i would recommend to anyone looking for a tough challenge thats a bit different from your usual trail race or obstacle race.
The organization is superb and ratrace put on a great event. Go do it if you want to challenge yourself.