Its Friday 5th August, nearly 7 weeks after the V3K and I’m excitedly waiting for the start of the Tromso VK – which starts in just a few hours! I’ve a back log race stories to write and if I don’t get writing, by tomorrow afternoon it will be 4! So time to start with my first Skyrunning race – the V3K!
The V3K is the first race of the UK Skyrunning national series and was my first ever Skyrunning race. It follows a classic route across all 15 (or to some say 14!) peaks over 3000ft in Wales (35 miles and 4100m). Its hilly, much hiller than what I’m used it, but would be perfect training for my 2016 focus – the Transalpine in September, which I’ll run as a pair with Casper.
The V3K is a vegan race and participants are asked to be vegan – but just on race day. This meant Casper and I could still have have some standard pre race meat for dinner before we arrived for registration!
After a short race briefing and most probably more than my fair share of yummy vegan chocolate cake it was an early night in the tent ready for a 3am alarm before being bussed to the start at Nant Gwynant.
Everyone seemed relieved to get away from the swarms of 5am midges and scaling straight to the summit of Snowdon. The first 9 miles from the start to Nant Peris was the only part I hadn’t reccied (I hate not knowing a route!) But it was fine, as there was a long snake of runners heading all the way up Snowdon. As I reached the summit there were hoards of people – at first I thought wow I cant believe so many people have turned out to cheer us on – then I realised they were actually all taking part in their own challenge, the national 3 peaks, with most not the slight bit of interest in us!
Then came Crib Goch. I was really excited about this! There was quite a traffic jam of runners and I managed to do a bit of overtaking to get a bit of a free run, I loved it! Flying down the scree decent I saw Casper up ahead, to whom I flew past – I knew I’d see him again on the climb up Elidir Fawr.
It was good to arrive into Nant Peris as I knew the route from here. I didn’t hang around here as I knew there was a big climb up Elidir Fawr where there would be plenty of opportunity to eat. I’d passed one lady at the checkpoint and could see another a little ahead but I’d no idea how many more were in front – it was far too early to care anyway.
I felt really strong climbing Elidir Fawr and as predicted Casper sailed on past about half way up – I wondered if I’d pass him again on the decent on Tryfan. Dibbing in with the marshal at the top, he told me as I was 3rd lady, much to my surprise!
The part over Y Garn, Glyder Fawr, and Glyder Fach is rather runnable and knowing the route I settled into a good rhythm and was having a ball. I met Chris Morgan with his friend Nathan Montague on this stretch, who I learnt was a V3K veteran. We chatted and ran along at a similar pace. The top of Glyder Fach was covered in Clag, as we searched for the checkpoint a group of about 15 congregated looking for the next red flag – until eventually we found the way and were very relieved to find the marshall.
Skirting down to the col before the decent of Tryfan, I saw Casper up ahead – so knew I must be moving at a good pace. The marshal on top of Tryfan told me I was 26th overall. I wondered if maybe I could sneak into the top 20 overall.
The check point at Glen Dena Farm in the Ogwen Valley was awesome. Someone asked for a glass of coconut milk, which set off a bit of a craze and I had one too, followed by 2 glasses of almond milk. I set off up Pen yr Ole Wen (just as Casper arrived in) armed with 2 mighty vegan energy balls I’d picked up in the checkpoint. This was the last big ascent so I knew I could start to push. I felt strong and overtook about 5 people before the top (although did get overtaken by Casper – again!).
On the out and back to Yr Elen I dropped too low and ended up having to climb back up to the check point – I think a lot of people did this! On the final and second out and back to Foel Fras I saw Casper again. He was 20 minutes ahead – would I catch him before the end?
The last 5 miles is a wonderful decent to the finish where you can really stretch your legs out and fly!
I over took one last guy about a kilometre from the end – which just snuck me into 20th position overall! I finished 2nd lady in 10.06, 42 minutes after 1st lady Beth Pascal in 9.24, and 20 minutes after Casper! I was absolutely over the moon!
The V3K is a fantastic race and I had a super super time!
Thank you to the Race Director, Kirsch, all the lovely marshals and helpers and whoever made the delicious post race food and cake!
Thanks also to Mountain Fuel for keeping me full of energy! https://www.mountainfuel.co.uk
The official race report are images are here: https://skyrunninguk.com/2016/06/20/v3k-2016-race-report-and-images/