32km (15km option also available)
You must have completed at least 2 category A Fell Races to
compete in the Main Fell Race or be able to demonstrate mountain and navigational
skills/experience to compete in the Challenge Race.
There are 2 race distances available, approximately 32km & 15km.
For each you can enter either the main fell race or the challenge race – depending
upon experience. The challenge races follow exactly the same course as the main
fell races, but extra time is allowed. We entered the Long Challenge Race as a mixed
pair, which meant that we started 1.5 hours ahead of the main race and had 9.5
hours to complete the course.
This is a full on mountain fell race beginning on the North Coast of Snowdonia and
finishing on the summit of Snowdon. In between there are checkpoints on the top of
Wales’ other four 1000m+ peaks (Carnedd LLewelwyn, Carnedd Dafydd, Glyder Fawr
and Carnedd Ugain) and at the bottom of the two main valleys in between (Qgwen
valley and Pen-y-pass). You can choose your own route between checkpoints.
Mostly there are convenient paths, but in some sections you’ll be crossing untracked
heather & bilberry moorland.
Expect steep ascents & descents, rocky terrain, boggy terrain, river crossings,
scrambling, unpredictable mountain weather and (only on Snowdon) hordes of
So how did we get on?
Our first fell race – definitely a dive into the deep end, but
fabulous fun (at least for me). After camping in gale force winds we were up at 5:30
am to catch a 6:30 bus from Llanberis for the 7:30 start at the coast. The wind had
dropped but the clouds were brooding and the mountains largely invisible. By 8:30
however we’d climbed up above Aber Falls and through the low clouds onto a clear
summit plateau. The rain (mostly) held off and the first half of the race went really
At Carnedd Dafydd, amazingly we were leading our class, but heading down Greg
suffered some cramping issues and as we turned up hill again by Llwn Ogwen he
came to a complete stop – forcing us to seriously consider retirement (we had
obviously made the rookie mistake of going too fast).
A good sit down, a bottle of electrolyte and 10 minutes later Greg was able to
continue – our goal now, simply to finish. A gentle second half saw us up to
Snowdon’s summit in 7hrs & 9 minutes – still 2nd place in our class and just 10
minutes behind our rivals!
According to Strava: 33.25km sea to summit, 2798m of ascent, 1733m of descent & 3
separate mountain ranges. The hardest part? The additional 5 mile walk after the
race, down from the summit of Snowdon to the car.
2nd placed mixed pair might sound impressive, but only three took part. While we
were well inside the 8hr cut-off time for the main race, comparatively our times
would have put us about 75 th out of 80 had we entered it, so a decent first attempt,
but definitely room for improvement there 🙂
Another new Croftie, John Jaspers, also took part in the main race, but I’ll let him tell
his own story – perhaps to Captain Compass? He’s already had to explain to the
Mountain Rescue team!