The Snowdon Marathon is one of the toughest and most scenic marathons in the country.
This year, a record 20 members from Ripley Running Club completed the 26.2 mile course, which runs aroundthe highest mountain in Wales, and includes three testing climbs including a two-mile ascent of the Llanberis Pass in the early part of the race.
Club chairman Jerry Bateman, a former Robin Hood Marathon winner, was completing the race for his 20th time while club captain Karl Tietz was there on his 15th occasion.
At the other end of the spectrum of running, Ripley RC had at least six Snowdon first timers with three of these, Stacey Smith, Richard Hill and Jon Marriott, being complete marathon distance novices.
With heavy rain and gale force winds always threatening, the runners were very lucky to complete most of the race in reasonable condition.
First Ripley runner home in a time of 3.20 in 95th place out of over 1,500 finishers was Paul Manning, with Andy Parkin only three minutes behind him in 3.23 for 109th place. Richard Phillis finished next, just one minute slower than last year in 3.35 whilst Luke Beresford knocked more than an hour off his 2012 time by finishing in 3.39.
Simon English, making his Snowdon debut, ran a great second half of the race, overtaking several tiring colleagues in the latter stages to finish in 3.46.53 for 359th place whilst Ripley’s first lady Stacey Smith, making her marathon debut, ran an extraordinary time of 3.48 for a first Snowdon, thereby finishing 12th lady in the open category.
Club chairman Jerry Bateman, now in the veteran 55 age category, showed consistent running as expected on his 20th outing at Snowdon and duly completed the course in 3.50, placing him 11th in his age group, whilst Wayne Smithurst was the last Ripley member to sneak in just under the magic four-hour mark with 3.58 for 545th position.
Within the next half a dozen or so Ripley runners to cross the line all of Ripley’s three other ladies showed the men a thing or two about distance running and pacing, with Esther Broughton, Cathy Cresswell and Amy Bradley all finishing strongly to record times of 4.02, 4.03 and 4.20.
In the best of the rest categories, Martin Penny who has been nursing injuries achieved a respectable 4.02 for 587th position, whilst Dennis Holmes recorded a slightly disappointing 4.07 for 675th.
Carl Hopkinson did not have a good day finishing in 4.13 just 4 minutes ahead of club captain Karl Tietz, a vet 55 like Jerry, who was happy just to get around given his lack of training for this years race.
Finally, in the category of must train harder, Richard Hill 4.23, 887th, Mike Corrigan 4.26, 940th, Jon Marriott 4.30, 996th, Jay Bird 5.02, 1,322nd and Dave Crowder 5.11, 1,379th position all completed this tough event with a smile on their faces and will surely be looking forward to doing much better next year.
Ripley Running Club meet every Tuesday at 6.45pm at RIpley Leisure Centre and encourage runners of all abilities to come and join us for a run. For more information see www.ripleyrunningclub.com