5) Snowdonia Marathon, 27th October 2012

I’d seen this race reviewed in Runners World and rated as one of the most beautiful marathons in the UK. My wife’s family love the area so it seemed like a good excuse for an Autumn weekend away. I didn’t know it at the time but this race kick started my destination marathon spree.

I entered the Highland Fling 50 mile race in April 2012 (the same friend who persuaded me to run Loch Ness and Glen Ogle 33 had such rave reviews for the Fling that I felt I had to run it). I was become worryingly interested with how far I could push my body. I quickly learnt that ultra marathon training isn’t just more marathon training! I pushed my body to far to fast and ended up with a foot injury and several weeks off running so pulled out of the race.

This meant Snowdonia Marathon became my goal race for the year.

I did lots of training on hills in Edinburgh as I knew the course was hilly.

We stayed in a lovely Inn on the mountain above the start, and not far from the course. Talking with an experienced marathon runner the night before the race I got carried away and changed my race tactics, starting near the front with him.

I managed a half marathon PR (up and down a mountain) and unsurprisingly blew up around mile 16. I slowed the pace and managed to keep moving but struggled on the final steep downhill to the finish, cramping up several times and having to stop and stretch. Not what you want at the best of times, and definitely not good on a steep muddy mountainside.

I finished in 3:50:25, which I was very happy with, and headed straight for the lake near the finish where I stood in ice cold water for what felt like 30 minutes but was probably nearer 3. I was starting to learn about recovery!

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