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Ultra-Trail® Snowdonia

04-Jun-2021 Capel Curig, Conwy, UK (Wales)

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3 REVIEWS
Mountains Race Race Terrain
165KM / 103Miles
2 Days

Alternate Distances: 101KM/63M 50KM/31M

DIFFICULTY Race Difficulty Brutal  

Looking for an ultra that goes above and beyond what you thought the UK could offer? Do you love to run ultra distances through simply breath-taking scenery, over beautifully technical mountain trails? Are you looking for an event that is truly Alpine-scale in nature? You’ve come to the right place... Ultra-Trail® Snowdonia is the UK’s answer to UTMB!

Starting in Capel Curig, UTS 165 represents the ultimate grand-tour of the mountains of Snowdonia National Park, taking in most of the notable peaks and trails of the area in the north. UTS 100 comprises the highlights of the mountainous areas of northern Snowdonia. With technical trails and epic views in abundance, it really is the pinnacle of ultra-trail race routes in the UK! UTS 50 follows similar trails to its bigger siblings and acts as the perfect steppingstone into Alpine-scale mountain ultrarunning. For more experienced runners, it also represents the perfect Ultra-Trail® training race for other events and features a staggering 66m+ elevation gain per km! 

Each distance features 3300/6700/10,000m+ elevation gain respectively, on predominantly technical mountain trails. This makes UTS one of, if not THE toughest Ultra-Trail® events in the world. UTS isn’t just challenging for the sake of it though. With routes that explore Snowdonia’s most scenic valleys, rugged peaks and epic landscapes, these races are truly the most beautiful in the UK! Read some of the praise for this phenomenal event HERE.

UTS is the brainchild of British runner Michael Jones. While training for UTMB in 2015, he wondered why there were no similar mountainous ultras in the UK... So in late 2017, after finishing 8th at CCC, he launched UTS: an instant success in its inaugural 50/100-mile iteration. Now in its fourth year, with three distances on offer, don't miss your opportunity to be a part of this unique, spectacular and EPIC trail running event!

This is UTS, the UK’s first Alpine-scale ultra: Beautiful beyond belief. Savage beyond reason.

More info & entry: www.ultratrailsnowdonia.com

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Event Organiser
Michael Jones

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Beginner

Elevation: Very little change < 500 metres. Benign running terrain, not technical.

Suitable for: First ultra runners completing a marathon or doing regular long distance running in the last six months.

Intermediate

Elevation: Increase of up to 1000 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed at least one ultra distance race (or similar event) or are doing long distance running (>26 miles) regularly, with elevation shown.

Advanced

Elevation: Increase of up to 1500 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed several ultra distances or similar events, or are doing long distance running regularly, with elevation shown.

Expert

Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with some challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity or heat) and or technical terrain

Suitable for: Experienced runners who have completed at least regular ultra distances in last 12 months, or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races may be subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements.

Brutal

Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with very challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity, heat or at high altitude) and or technical terrain.

Suitable for: Very experienced long distance ultra runners (min 3 years’ experience) or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races is often subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Purchase of specialist kit is often recommended for these races.

Endurance - Multi-activity

Type: An ultra distance race including at least two of the following activities such as running, swimming, cycling, kayaking, skiing and climbing. It may also include different climatic conditions (eg ice, snow, humidity, cold water, mud or heat).

Suitable for: Experienced multi-skilled athletes who have trained for the different activities included in this event. Admission to these races may be subject to receipt of a recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements and any specialist equipment required such as a wetsuit, skis or a mountain bike.

Global - Virtual

Type: A virtual race which can be run at any time shown on the dates shown, on any type of terrain in any country.

Suitable for: For runners from beginners to experienced as you choose your own course and challenge based on the guidelines and options set by the virtual race organiser.

Review Ultra-Trail® Snowdonia

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Becky7074

10:48 27-05-19

So...in 2018 I DNF'd the UTS100 at over 3/4 of the way through. So this year I went back to settle the score. Both years were superb, but this year felt more polished, more atmospheric, just...more. Organisation was tight, the new start area was so much better - more space and didn't feel like we were getting under the locals feet. Great to see so many familiar faces returning to the start line.

The new start time was better too - 1pm meant we could get our best running done in daylight.

And then the course. Like nothing else in the UK. It's hard. Like, really hard. Mountain after mountain, some fairly technical ascents and descents that go on forever. The first 20 odd miles lull you into a false sense of security....and then the race really starts! It is beautiful though, taking in the biggest and best trails that Snowdonia has to offer. It's well marked (but still advisable to recce beforehand, when the clag comes in it's easy to miss a marker), the checkpoints are well stocked and run by the most efficient, enthusiastic people ever. The cut-offs are tight enough that if you're an average Jo or Jane like me, you need to keep moving and not hang around in the CP's. And you need to be stubborn and determined, and downright bloody minded! The last descent down the Llanberis path to the finish is just pure pain - on trashed quads and battered feet, but if you've made it this far you're not stopping now. An uphill sprint to the finish just to make sure you've definitely got nothing left, then a finishers pin, a glorious veggy curry, a bottle of beer, and a shower.
I said (as I crossed the line with just ten minutes to spare) never, ever again. But I've already changed my mind......

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gordsm8

09:51 20-05-19

I completed the 50 mile version of the UTS in 2019. I can pretty much sum it up by saying it was undoubtedly the hardest thing I have ever done in my life!

I attended a training weekend, which was run by the race director. We covered around 40 of the 50 mile course and I am so pleased I attended as it gave me a valuable pre-race view of what I had signed myself up for.

I'm not sure if it was "unfortunately" or "lucky" that I didn't do the last section before Bedgelert, on the training weekend? While trying to get up - and then down Moel Hebog during the race, it crossed my mind that I may not have turned up on race day if I knew what it was like (I probably still would have!?!).

I was pretty much last to finish, but I completed it - which was my only goal. It was the best experience, the views were beyond amazing, the other runners were so friendly, the volunteers were out-of-this-world fantastic! The feeling of crossing the finishing line impossible to put into words.

I have written a more detailed review here - https://gordonruns.wordpress.com/2019/05/15/ultra-trail-snowdonia-2019/

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rbyde

11:35 28-05-18

I ran the inaugural UTS50 in 2018. When I say ran … I mean to say, I somehow hauled my increasingly militant body up and over many Snowdonian mountains, sometimes almost literally at a crawl.

I thought I had been well prepared. I had been able to recce the full route, had practised with all my kit and had a pacing plan. As it turns out, this race is tough even after all that, and probably even tougher if you turned up expecting your normal kind of 50 mile race but with extra hills.

I recorded 89km / 6000m of ascent. The first three sections to almost halfway are almost a walk in the park compared to what comes. Largely runnable, beautiful sunrise views and three main summits including Snowdon all ticked off.

Then the beast of a section comes. Two main mountains with bumps along the way and a big dip in the middle. A steep sided ridge requiring hands and a head for heights, much more awe-inspiring in the sunshine than it had been on my recce in fog. Then a trip through abandoned quarries and the endless slog of Moel Hebog. I think my poles were the only thing stopping me falling backwards.

Next comes the Welsh Matterhorn (Cnicht). There was another short technical bit here, made harder for some people by the tampering of course markers. For me, this is where my woes really started, with big blisters developing. Fellow racers really kept me going.

But nothing would stop me setting off on the final section, not even the concerned looks of my family. The lights of other racers always bobbing way, way up ahead, looking an impossible vertical distance away. Although I enjoyed the mental distraction of route finding and clambering over the ridge, on the way down even the smallest of steps felt like precipices to my shot legs.

For the final ascent of Snowdon I had sleep deprivation and was only spurred into running to get away from some drunk teenagers. However, on the descent I found new life, finally falling into the finish 23h41 after starting.

OK, so I was slower than hoped, but just be warned – if you take on this race it is a challenge and a half. I highly recommend it, and will be back to give it another shot!

This was Michael Jones’ first event as race organiser and everything went smoothly from my point of view. A few little things to improve on for next year, but the basics were all in place. Good course marking, well stocked feed stations (the surplus going to charity after the event), endlessly cheerful and helpful marshals and a course that I hope will become a classic.

You can read my full length report here: https://planetbyde.com/2018/05/20/uts-50/
Also lots of chat and other reports on the UTS athletes' page.

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