Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Rat race man versus mountain 2016

Set to start at 0800 on Sunday 3rd September 2016 in Caernarfon castle, a world heritage site of the 800 year old medieval fortress. 

The Man Versus Mountain is a gruelling 22 mile trail run up to the summit of mount snowdon (the highest mountain in Wales 3500feet and the highest point in the British isles outside the Scottish highlands) and then down again following the famous llanberis path. 

Having competed in this race before I was aware of both how tough the event and the conditions can be but the closer the event came it became clear that this year would be extremely different. 

The week prior mandatory kit was increased as the conditions worsened meaning each competitor was entirely self sufficient and prepared for a long cold and wet stay on the mountain side during this monster of an event. 

On race day the the conditions plummeted further with the first starting wave of 0800 being held back as the driving rain and 60 mph gusts batterdd the summit. In light of this the organisers opted to turn all my fellow fell runners a half mile before the summit. Obviously somewhat disappointing but in the interest of common sense and safety it was for the best. 

The rain continued from start to finish in true snowdonian fashion but I saw little sign of negativity out on he course from my fellow rat runners as the scenery is real jaw dropping  once in a lifetime stuff making it impossible not to grin ear to ear as you soak it all up. 

The llanberis path on the descent is slate, slippery but seriously exhilarating and took us from approximately 12 miles in to 19 miles before attacking the VERTICAL KILOMETRE a 1km long monster of ascent rising 500 Metres in elevation over tough tough terrain .  The vertical Km is the only timed segment of the event which rises up to dinorwic a disused mining village and whilst on the way up you are guaranteed sublime panoramic views over the finish more importantly the bragging rights and a pair of merrel trainers are at stake for the fastest time for the day. 

After a final descent of 2 miles into llanberis you are faced with the delights of the RAPID RAPPEL which features a number of water based obstacles designed to separate the men from the boys. The first a high jump into a freezing lake after walking the plank, a short swim through a couple of lakes going over and under flotation devices and after a short run the absail into a lake which may not seem particularly challenging until you've ran 20+ miles. Another short run one icy cold lake crossing and you are onto the home straight BUT rat racers don't get off lightly with an 8 foot wall to navigate and 3 obstacles the required he dexterity you only had approximately 4 hours ago. 

I came in 15th place overall with a time of 3 hrs 34 minutes (2nd place in vet 40+ category) and 4th place for the Vetical KM with a time of 12:20 

Having completed this event before I knew just how spectacular it is BUT that being said the conditions two years ago were significantly different. I cannot recommend this enough as it quite literally has it all to offer and much much more. 

Thanks to rat race for the first rate organisation and to all the fellow rat racers but more importantly to my fellow team member the BEDFORDSHIRE BRUTES. 

Until next time snowdon. 

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