Buff Winter Trail Wales 2016 – Race Preview
The 2015 Buff Winter Trail Wales race put winter racing on the map at Coed y Brenin with 300 plus runners taking part, and as the trail running boom continues in this part of Wales, the 2016 event is ready to entertain a capacity 600 runners on the 23rd of January.
The Winter Trail event takes in the tough, but stunning, Trail Marathon Wales half marathon route and the event sold-out in the a little over three weeks when entries went live in October – testimony to the pulling power of trail running at Coed y Brenin these days. With a sizeable waiting list the second edition of the race has once again captured the imagination.
With very little wind and bright winter sunshine the weather ensured that racing conditions were almost perfect for the runners last year with local man and Welsh international Matthew Roberts taking the spoils in a very fast 1:25:01 for the 13.3 mile course. Matthew will be absent from the 2016 race, however one man who does know the route well is Rob Samuel, after winning the summer Trail Marathon Wales half marathon event in 2014.
The Eryri Harrier (pictured above left) is getting back to fitness after a troublesome 2015 with injury, and will be tough to beat.
Returning to the scene of her victory in the inaugural women’s race, Spectrum Strider Victoria Walls is back for more. After her win in a fast 1:44:50 in 2015, she stated:
“Wow, that was an amazing course, I absolutely loved it! The conditions were perfect for trail running and the course is stunning. I am really looking forward to coming back to Coed y Brenin and it would be great if I could get somewhere near my time of 2015″.
However, the most effusive comments in were reserved for those ‘mid-pack’ runners who had travelled from all corners of Wales and the UK for the event:
“Fantastic (and brutal) @TrailWales half-marathon yesterday at Coed-y-Brenin in beautiful Snowdonia. Even better was the hot soup at the end!” – Matt Johnson (via Twitter)
“The most amazing trail run, thanks everyone…really friendly event with a spectacular and varied trail. Can’t wait to go through it all again for the full marathon version in the summer!!” – Leigh Allinson (via Facebook)
One notable late entrant to the race this year is rugby legend Shane Williams MBE. The former Wales and British Lion takes on the Winter Trail as part of a year of adventure for the Ammanford man. Later in the year Shane will take on Ironman Wales in Tenby and finish off his year of challenges at the Snowdonia Marathon Eryri.
Organiser Matt Ward is once again hopeful of a memorable event, stating:
“We’re really looking forward to a great day once again at the Buff Winter Trail Wales race. The weather has been very wet of late as most people will know and the underfoot conditions will be challenging come next Saturday I am sure. However, I doubt that will dampen the runners’ enthusiasm and with double the numbers from 2015 we’re expecting a superb atmosphere for the race!”.
The route is just part of the fantastic offering that Coed y Brenin offers in terms of trails for runners. The estate is managed by Natural Resources Wales and the stunning Half Marathon route is just one of 5 trails tailored to trail runners needs, designed by Coed y Brenin recreation ranger Graeme Stringer.
Racing at the Buff Winter Trail Wales gets underway at 10.30am on Saturday the 23rd from the Coed y Brenin visitor centre, and all facilities, trails and MTB facilities are open as usual, for what should be another great day in the Coed y Brenin trail running calendar.
Further information via the Buff Winter Trail Wales race page
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