Man Vs Mountain 2016
Updated: Jan 14, 2022
Following on from finishing Race to the King I decided that I wanted to mix it up with a semi obstacle race, and decided upon Man Vs Mountain by Rate Race - a 22 mile race starting in Caernarfon Castle on the North Wales Coast, up Snowdon and down towards a few water obstacles around Llyn Padarn before finishing in Llanberis with a total of 5,000ft of elevation Effectively going from Sea Level to the highest point in England and Wales.
As I was late in deciding to enter I was put into one of the later starting waves. The race itself has the grand start line of being inside the wall of Caernarfon Castle, unfortunately from the start you are straight into a bottleneck. The small doors build to keep invaders out makes it difficult for runner to have a quick exit into the streets of Caernarfon before hitting the trails Towards Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon).
Although it was only the end of the Summer, the weather was particularly grey and grim (also known as good Welsh mountain weather), the benefit of this would be that Yr Wyddfa should be slightly quieter.
The route follows roads and footpath into Eryri (Snowdonia) before joining the Snowdon Ranger Path to the Summit, however this year the weather was so bad that the race organisers with the support of Mountain Rescue decided to alter the route so that runners only went about three quarters of the way up Yr Wyddfa before doubling back down and following a new route towards towards the old Dinorwig Quarry.
Dropping our race bags near Llyn Padarn we were straight up the 'vertical kilometre' following the old mine kart tracks and through the abandoned quarryman's village. This section as the name would suggest was pretty taxing on legs that had already climbed up Yr Wyddfa from sea level, but the remains of the old slate works made up for it and was pretty eerie in the bleak rain. The top of the vertical kilometre was the last real climb before a decent back down to Llyn Padarn where the obstacles were located.
These obstacles included a big jumping off a plank into a cold quarry, abseiling and some random inflatable water obstacles. This is where I think the event and possibly Rat Race let it self down, some of the water obstacles did not add any 'value' to the race especially as some people decided just to bypass some without any time penalty especially as there were big queues for some of the slower obstacles - one of the hazards of starting in a later wave of just being slow? The final annoyance for me was thaw whoever set me up for the abseil just hooked me up as if I was left handed and told me to place my hands in what felt like the wrong position. I'm a competent climber and this made the whole thing more dangerous that it was.
The final part of the race involved collection your bag before running down the home straight which again had some obstacles, some scaffolding to climb over and a 12ft rope to climb - again people were running passed these without any penalty.
Although I have been quite critical of aspects of the race on the whole I really enjoyed it (even if the event staff decided to moved the red carpet after I had crossed the finish line).
**The price for this event seems to have gone up a lot from when I first did it and I would not say it is value for money in comparison to a lot of other races.
Key kits and bits
Trainers: Salomon S/LAB ULTRA
Watch: Casio F91-W
Pack: Ultimate Direction PB Adventure Vest 3.0
T-shirt: Helly Hansen
Socks: CEP run sock 2.0
Cap: Inov8 Race Ultra Running Peak Running Cap