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Snowdonia Hosts Fell Racing Event of the Year 06/10/2013

Llanberis based running club, Eryri Harriers, are hosting this year's British Fell and Hill Relay Championship. Over a 1000 runners from all over the UK will be making the journey to north Wales for what is seen as the most prestigious fell racing event of the year on Sunday 20th October.

Club Chairman, Craig Jones, who has led a team of dedicated committee volunteers to pull this event together, said: “We are very proud to be given the opportunity to put on this prestigious event on behalf of UK Athletics, and we’re confident that we’ll provide a challenging and enjoyable day for all the competitors.”

He added: “Spectators are very welcome, whether that be at the event base or up on the mountain. We encourage locals to look out for the famous and distinctive green and red Eryri vest and cheer them on! They will also have an opportunity to see some of the very best mountain athletes in the land competing against each other”.

Math Roberts, well known Llanberis resident and one of Eryri’s leading runners said: “I’m looking forward to competing against some of the best clubs in the country on our very own turf. This is a massive event and promises to be a showcase of British fell running so come along and support your local runners!”

Glyn Rhonwy, on the  outskirts of Llanberis, has been chosen as a suitable location to access the rugged mountain slopes and ridges of Cefn Du, Moel Eilio and Cynghorion for the event. Racing commences at 10 a.m., when the first runners of the relay teams of six make their way on to the hillside in a mass start.

The race comprises of four legs. The first is 7.7 km and climbs just over 350metres, heading off from the Glyn Rhonwy estate, doing a loop of Cefn Du before heading down Bwlch y Groes and back to Glyn Rhonwy. It's estimated that the winning team will return in 30 minutes for this leg. Local Llanberis runner, Alun Vaughan, will be running this section for the Eryri 'A-team', which should leave them in a strong position.

Leg two will be a real test of fell strength and is run in pairs. The route heads across to Helfa before a steep slog up Moel Cynghorion. It then follows the Moel Eilio ridge to Bwlch y Groes before a rapid descent. This leg measures in at 14.7 km and climbs 1000 metres with the fastest teams expected to finish in around an hour-and-a-quarter. Local man Math Roberts will be joined by Beddgelert's Russell Bentley for the Harriers.

The third leg is again run in pairs, this time being a test of navigational skills but the route is not disclosed until the day of the race but it's expected to take some 1hr 10mins for the fastest teams. Matt Fortes and Richard Roberts will be representing the home team on this leg. The final stage is a classic 9 km loop of Moel Eilio and climbing 625 metres. GB junior international, Nathan Jones, will be hoping to bring home local team Eryri in a strong final position.

In all, the Eryri Harriers have eight teams - a men's A, B and C team, a vet 40's and 50's as well as three ladies teams; this means 48 Eryri runners will be taking part on the day.

Choosing the teams and runners to look out for, Math Roberts, said: "Favourites for the first spot include 2012 winners, Mercia, who have three times Snowdon race winner, Tim Davies, running. Dark Peak AC will again be in the running with the likes of Lloyd Taggart competing, whilst Scottish outfit Hunters Bog Trotters will also have a strong team with 2012 Snowdon Race winner Murray Strain in their ranks."

"Potentially the biggest highlight will be the opportunity to see triathlon Olympian brothers, Alastair and Jonathan Brownlee, run for their local club - Bingley Harriers. The Brownlees started off as fell runners and regularly compete in the season ending championships. In the ladies race competition will be close. The favourites could be any one from Mercia, Calder Valley, Dark Peak or Carnethy, with Eryri standing an outside chance of a medal. In the vet 40's, Borrowdale, Dark Peak and Calder Valley, will be tussling for victory whilst the 50's category will be a similar story, though Eryri have an outside chance of a victory in this one.

Registration will be open on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning before the race. Parking is available at the race HQ for £2 a vehicle, refreshments and snacks will be on sale throughout the day.


top: Math Roberts and Richard Roberts running in the 2011 British Fell and Hill Relay Championship held in Wharfedale. © Al Tye

lower: Alastair Brownlee competing in the 2010 British Fell and Hill Relay Championship, Lomond Hills, Fife. © Al Tye

Topic: Fell Running, British Fell and Hill Relay Championship, Eryri Harriers.

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