IT may not have been his fastest race over 26.2 miles, but Tim Hutchinson’s 3:11:18 run at the Snowdonia Marathon on Saturday was possibly his most satisfying in what was his fourth appearance at the challenging event.
Held around the perimeter of Snowdon, the highest peak in Wales, the spectacular route features almost 800 metres of elevation with three notable steep inclines in particular.
Runners usually wouldn’t enter a marathon when under prepared, especially ones on such a demanding course. But despite battling an ankle injury for most of the year, Tim always looks forward to this race and didn’t want to let the opportunity pass him by.
“I’m really pleased with this year,” said Tim, who finished in 48th place overall in 3:11:18, his second-fastest run in Snowdonia and just 10 minutes shy of his performance there last year. It was also good enough to place ninth in the M45 category.
“Obviously it’s disappointing not to be in the same shape as last year, but with four months of decent training in the seven months since my last ankle injury, I was pleased just to be there.
“I wanted to beat or match last year’s time to Pen y Pass, and I was 19 seconds quicker, so I was happy with that. The second half of the race is much harder, though. The climb from Beddgelert seems to go on and on and then when I got to the top there was a cold head wind along with some hail, which took all the heat from my legs.”
The third and final climb occurs at 22 miles – a particularly challenging point of any marathon, even when hills aren’t involved. Tim resorted to walking for a couple of brief spells but was back up and running just before the 24-mile mark where the course goes off-road.
“I was pleased that I managed to crank it up a little towards the finish,” added Tim, who has a marathon best of 2:53:10. “More than anything, though, I was happy to have been fit enough to be there. Next year I hope to be back to sort out the 79 seconds to achieve a sub-three-hour run there. I might give it a rest after that. Or maybe not!”
Unfortunately for Tim, less than 24 hours after racing in Snowdonia, he rolled his ankle while jogging around the Welcombe Hills, aggravating the injury he had spent months recovering from. He hopes to return to racing before the end of the year.
Club mate and prolific marathon racer Tara Lambert made her Snowdonia Marathon debut and was the 306th woman to finish, clocking 4:48:05.
“What a race,” said Tara, whose marathon PB of 4:20:25 was set last year on the considerably flatter Long Marston airfield. “Stunning views and well organised. I ran faster than I thought I would, so I’m pretty happy with that. I also have to give my energy gel some of the credit; I felt a real pick up at mile 15 with that.”
Russell Bentley won the race in 2:38:21, while Anna Bracegirdle was the top woman, clocking 3:05:33.