Virtual Winter Trail Wales inspires runners and raises vital funds for SSSART
With the inevitable postponement of the 2021 Buff Winter Trail Wales at Run Coed y Brenin, the appetite for virtual competition was still evident as over 250 runners took part in the Virtual Winter Trail Wales over the months of January and February.
The format was simple, with participants being asked to complete the trail half marathon distance (13.1 miles) anytime between 10:30 am on Saturday January 16th, 2021 (the original race date) and Sunday February 21st, 2021. With restrictions unfortunately still in place across the UK there was no opportunity for anyone to journey to Coed y Brenin to run the actual route, other than those lucky enough to be close enough to run from their door and enjoy the stunning route in one of the UK’s most inspiring mountain forest locations.
Event organiser Matt Ward comments:
“Our WTW regulars, along with first-timers and also those from mainland Europe, really got behind the Virtual WTW concept. It was so inspiring to see runners and walkers making up their routes wherever they could and of course the feedback was overwhelmingly positive as people told us that the event gave them a reason to just get out there and challenge themselves in what has been an immensely difficult period over the winter.
“One of the most important aspects was the money raised towards the South Snowdonia Search And Rescue Team, who have not had the usual income in 2020 that they would expect from their event and race support that they supply in the area, at a number of events. So we decided that £3 from every entry would also go to the Team and that has meant almost £800 has been raised by the event to go towards their vital funds. Diolch o galon pawb!”
The event also saw a leaderboard, which although it didnt produce a normal system of race results (due to the fact that no one runner route was the same) it gave some sense of achievement to those completing the event. There were some standout performances with Dan Owen (Fastest male, 1:29:02) and Ali Lavender (Fastest female, 1:24:54) producing some great times whatever the route. In addition to the leaderboard local event partners Ddraig Dipsy Dragon kindly donated two ceramic trophies to be awarded to a male and female who inspired most in their efforts.
“Though we initially did indicate that these trophies would go to runners with a great write-up after their run and these runners will receive an additional prize worth £30 of running goods. However, I hope that everyone will understand my decision to award the bespoke ceramic trophies to Mat and Allanah Fenwick. Firstly, in late 2020 Allanah sadly lost her father Dave.
“Dave was no ordinary man in the local area. He lived in the forest. He had contributed to countless events at Run Coed y Brenin, as a marshal mainly, but also in helping with the set up and notably journeying to the top of a mountain to marshal in terrible weather for the inaugural Ultra Trail Wales. He was a great support through a number of years and we will never forget him at Run Coed y Brenin. Allanah took part in the Virtual and ran a great time of 2:21 for the distance too.
“The reason I have decided to award the men’s to Mat is not only due his association with Dave, but also for his incredible support to us on Thursday Night Runs for a number of years, for his participation in almost every event over the last 5 years but also due to the fact that he (madly!) completed his VWTW run with a total of 2,100 metres of vertical gain over the distance of 13 miles, in the Coed y Brenin forest!! So, diolch o galon to Mat and Allanah for all of your support and these trophies are dedicated to the memory of Dave.”
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