A Hazy Summers Day in Snowdonia
Author : Rob Howard
PhotoCredit : Rob Howard
It’s been a long, hot Sunday for the Three Peaks Racers and Challengers, and on the water at least they’ve been working hard to make slow progress. After the Challenge boats arrived their runners had the cooler morning conditions for their ascent of Snowdon and they all returned to their boats very close together. (Within 18 minutes of each other.)
The Smithers Purslow pair set off to walk the route and were passed by the 3 runners from Gwyr Harlech, but just stayed ahead of the Peaky Finders. (Not that they are competitive of course!) The three teams all saw each other on the mountain and had a good rapport. At one point the three from Gwyr Harlech had the Smithers Purslow walkers in sight, but even though they were running they could not catch them up!
Caroline Mattock from Smithers Purslow was quite emotional on her return to the boat, no doubt as this race is a big step up from her previous half marathon races.
The Gwyr Harlech trio had a surprise on the summit as Ed’s wife had gone up to meet them and cheer them on. It’s amazing she found them given the crowds on the mountain today! There were some banners urging them on hung at the roadside too. They were back inside the 6 hours they expected to take and had another nice surprise on their return. (They are having a good day.) Their skipper Matt had decided it wasn’t worth leaving at low water, so he told the runners to get a shower and a meal and they’d leave in a couple of hours.
It was a great plan because it worked! Both Smithers Purslow and Peaky Finders jumped on the boats and set off, only to anchor within sight just up the channel, where they sat until a refreshed Gwyr Harlech came up close behind them up a few hours later.
When the Challengers were coming back into the checkpoint the race boats were starting to arrive so the marshals were very busy. Digital Built Consultants were the first race boat in at 12.31, with a 48 minute lead on Ajax, and around an hour ahead of Baloo and Wild Spirit. It’s a close race! (Unofficially Baloo are ahead on handicap.)
All the incoming race boats said they’d rowed A LOT overnight, and the runners were glad to get ashore and get moving. (GSA is unfortunately still a long way behind and won’t arrive in Caernarfon until late Sunday. We are not sure when!)
Although they set off last the runners from Wild Spirit (Stu Walker and Jon Morgan) passed Baloo and Ajax on the ascent and are trying to close on the Irish runners on the descent. As an experienced team they will know that time gained on the run can be critical when it comes to timing the passage of the Menai Strait. In such a close race the minutes gained on the mountains can become hours gained at sea.
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