Conditions for the 2017 Snowdonia 10k trail race were extremely merciful, almost suspicious given the region’s notorious reputation for indecisive weather patterns, but alas the sun shone for the duration of the event. The 10k runners were the last of the day to set off, after the thousands of runners who had flocked to pitt their wits against an extremely gruelling half and full marathon course. We started off in a small field next to a car park on Llanberis high street, and were met with the applause of many locals and tourists as we set off up the high street towards the first part of our 1,033 ft ascent. Around a 1/4 of a mile up the high street we turned left onto a side street which led up to a farm track. It was once we were on this track that we got a glimpse of the fantastic views and scenery that accompany this race, the full imposing figure of the Snowdon mountain range daring us to keep going. The farm track was a steady incline up to around the 1.6 km mark where it was then abandoned in favour of a nearby field. It was here that the first properly steep incline would be faced. We climbed up to around the 2.5km mark unaided by the soft springy ground turning to boggy puddles as we climbed. The course then levelled out and started to turn downhill which was fairly pleasant underfoot and helped the average pace creep back down on my watch to a far more pleasing figure. At 3.2km (or mile 2 in old money) official race photographers lay in ambush waiting to catch the relieved faces of runners as they spotted the downhill Tarmac leading on to the next part of the course. After a short 500m of this Tarmac track we hit a woodland track, a short path with even ups and downs until we reached a bridge which would bring us back to the streets near the start heading towards the toughest part of the course. At approximately half way through kilometre 6, we started an ascent up an old slate quarry, the steps were almost too high for any runner under 6’5 strides. And runners of all abilities across the racing field tried with all their might not to grip the narrow stone walls as we climbed and climbed. Once through the narrow stone passageway the ascent did not let up although the conditions underfoot were far more pleasant as grass replaced slate. It was uphill until around kilometre 8 where we turned almost 180 degrees down a forest track with large chunks of slate giving plenty of firm ground to push on down the hill. And thankfully it was all downhill until we reached the smiling faces and applause once more at the finish line. With fantastic results overall, Robyn’s time of 59.55 giving her the title of 4th female and 19th overall. And myself coming in not too far behind at 1.03.51, 26th overall and 11th in my category. Which goes to show, if you stick to the route instead of searching for fish and chip shops, there’s no telling how much you can surprise yourself. A fantastic race and day out with some of the most amazing scenery going. And a guaranteed fixture for me and hopefully a few more Croft runners in next year’s race calendar.