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Salomon Trail Marathon Wales 2016 – Race Director’s Report

After four successful editions of the Salomon Trail Marathon Wales the challenge was always going to be, how do we better what we have achieved so far. It wouldn’t be easy, but with a new second half of the marathon, even better arena layout and fantastic weather conditions, the stage was set to make the 5th edition the best-ever.

The racing, as ever, was fantastic. Worthy winners in all categories, dominant performances, course records and highly competitive finishes across the half and full marathon race, meant that the competitive side of the event was guaranteed to be enthralling.

Marathon winners Alastair Murray and Andrea Rowlands were undeniably dominant, Alastair pulling clear in the second half of the race, and later describing the event as “brutal’. Andrea was majestic in her performance – winning the ladies race by over 20 minutes and finishing an incredible 9th overall.

In the half marathon teenager Max Nicholls showed why he is amongst the most promising trail and mountain runners in the UK right now, winning the men’s race by almost 8 minutes. In the women’s event 2015 marathon winner Sam Amend returned to show her class, but had a fight on her hands as she won by just 46 seconds, with just 90 seconds covering the first three ladies. Amend also smashed the course record by an impressive 6 minutes!

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Trail Marathon Wales is nothing without the runners, however just as key are our fantastic partner brands and organisations.

Headline sponsors Salomon have been incredible again this year. Their support in product, staffing and marketing materials once again made the event in 2016, I cannot speak highly enough of their commitment.

Torq, 9 Bar, Brecon Carreg, Dwr Cerist, TDL Event Services, Valkris Communications, Cread Cyf, Snowdonia Marathon Eryri, Coed Mon, Cowbois, Signs Workshop, DJ Fruit, Tyr Pinder, Beics Brenin (Dyfi Events), Dan Wyre Photography, Sport Pictures Cymru and Mad Sound PA were all superb too in delivering infrastructure, prizes, event support and runner goodies.

However, the local community and organisations were possibly the biggest contributors in making this year’s race so successful. Over the last four years Natural Resources Wales and the staff at Coed y Brenin have been wonderful. Recreation team leader JohnTaylor, recreation officer Graeme Stringer, MTB ranger Andy Braund, centre assistant Grace Sanderson and cafe supervisor Nia Thompson have once again bent over backwards to help in 2016.

Grace Sanderson comments:

“Run Coed y Brenin has delivered a fantastic variety of events here at Coed y Brenin over the past year, and this was no exception! With almost 1000 runners taking part, and supporters lining the Visitor Centre balcony, the atmosphere was buzzing. 

“We had runners from all over the UK taking part in the races, with their friends and families coming to support them and enjoy the activities on offer here. Thanks to Matt Ward for organising a brilliant event, and to the marshals, South Snowdonia Mountain Rescue Team and our team here at the Visitor Centre. We look forward to welcoming more runners here for the Enduro Trail Wales, Trail 10k Wales and Night Trail Wales at Coed y Brenin.”

Perhaps most pleasing is the fact that we now have some marshals and event staff who have been at every event. From feed station manning (the Roberts Family, the Smedleys, Lisa Collins and team, Graham O’Hanlon and mum, Fiona and Simon Hide, Sarah Cartmel and Alison, Alan Jones), marshal point staffing (too many to mention all!), race sweeping (Lucy, Lisa and Rich) to helping set up the course, taking down of the course, help erecting the arena and setting-up, manning and delivery of registration for the runners. I have worked at many events over the years and I have to say that the Salomon Trail Marathon Wales team of volunteers and staff who help deliver the event is second to none.

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Many organisations and charities will benefit from the race.

As ever the South Snowdonia Search and Rescue Team were on call across the race route and at the finish arena. I am happy to say that the team were relatively untroubled last weekend – I always say that I like seeing the first aid and rescue teams at our events standing around drinking tea and having a ‘quiet’ day! The team will benefit from a substantial donation once again this year.

The team from the Rotary Club of Mawddach Dolgellau were once again manning many of the marshal locations on the first half of the race. Derek and Vicki Hawes once again headed up a team of marshals. We recognise their efforts and they will also benefit from a donation.

New to the event in 2017 were the Ganllwyd Community Council. As the closest area of population to the race event it is logical that we work with the village. The new second half of the marathon visited Coed Ganllwyd, with rave reviews of the route in that area from all runners.

Along with Mike and Dafydd we have established a new relationship and it worked very well for the race. The village supplied 10 marshals on the day and were instrumental in helping us gain access to the National Trust land for the race. We are also very grateful to Rhodri Wigley of the National Trust in working with us to make the race a success in that part of the course. Again the village council will benefit from a donation to their funds.

Other beneficiaries from the Salomon Trail Marathon Wales event will be Hope House Hospice for Children, Ras y Gader and other local organisations.

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Finally, I would like to reserve the biggest thanks to what I call the A Team – without whom I really couldn’t have put on the event.

To Dafydd and Sian Roberts, Es and Ifan Richards, Ieuan Jones, Alan Lwi Lewis, Stephen Edwards, Anthony Rogers, Hannah Hughes, Becca Jones, Sarah Cartmel, Ray Andrews, Mark Atherton, Chris Boughay, Nick Brame and Paul Fish a heartfelt thank you, diolch o galon!

The 2017 Trail Marathon Wales event will take place on Saturday 17th June, with entries opening on September 1st, 2016

You can follow Salomon Trail Marathon Wales on their Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Thanks / Diolch

Matt Ward, Race Director, Salomon Trail Marathon Wales

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