Ultra Trail Snowdonia by UTMB Race Report

A 55 kilometer run in United Kingdom, 11th of may. Similar terrain as Sweden they said. What could go wrong?

Note: Don't miss the pictures further down!

Directly on arrival to Wales I got surprised by the beauty of this country. The green fields with the grassy, rolling hills showing off in the background and the clear beaches and windy sea. I liked the first little glimpse. Some parts felt swedish, others not at all. It was a mix of many places I've been too.

I could feel from our first runs on dry trails (meaning no snow, soft ski slopes or icy gravel roads) that my leg muscles were sore. The endurance was no problem, but my running muscles hadn't been used so much this winter. I had prioritized skiing as usual in spring at home.

How ever the excitement of running and summer arriving was and still is great. I'm looking forward to slowly getting in shape, and what is not better to race in shape?
Our pre-race runs in the area were so much fun and we wanted to continue endlessly. There are many sheep and many fences to get over. And very fairytaly-landscape.

We stayed 25 minutes from Llanberies in a cute little Airbnb. Llanberies was a nice little town next to a lake surrounded by green mountains. The trails were mint!

It was not the typical UK weather you imagine, (rain etc...) it was like high summer, humid, hot and clear sky. Some people even saw northern lights during the 100miles! (Spotted also on Mont Blanc in Chamonix, and Romania and many other places in Europe). Aurora is fantastic. But we prioritized sleep that night before the race.

On race day I wasn't nervous at all, probably because I didn't expect anything, I was humbled and determined to do my best at the same time as I would enjoy the course and see how my body would react to run a race again.

I started in an pretty comfortable pace. I ignored the running pace from others I tried to focus on me. I had a weird breath and some niggles in my chest. I was ill two weeks prior to the race, so it might have been that that still troubled me. How ever I tried to not push so hard that first climb and started also calm downhill. It was a beautiful scenery of green flowy hills in the morning sun. Many people/tourists were already out hiking on this popular trail. It didn't feel so wild as I had imagined the course would be.

About halfway down I felt very energized and secure and started bouncing and overtaking people. I really had a kick and flying down to the aid station. Ahead of Lina. At that time third lady. From there it was very hot and I even got some Costa Rica vibes from The Coastal Challenge. Soaking myself in the rivers and streams that came across. Even taught some fellow runners to do the same, very happy for the new encounter how refreshing cold water can be for the whole body.

The second climb was also crowded, if not more, by tourists enjoying the nice weekend weather. To many runners surprise and confusion, a mountain triathlon race took place on parts of the same course as well. Also, we met 25-kilometers runners on their first climb up Snowdown from the reverse way. So you can imagine how many we were up there. It was fun with cheering on eachother, but some groups of hikers and runners were also being a little bit in the way. It was both fun and disturbing at the same time.

I felt fresh and strong uphill and overtook the second girl too. And was again flying, playing down the tricky trail. Good I taped my ankles. Now I felt like me again running downhill without fear. But it was too fun. For a while I had a blast but then I found myself too alone. No more flags insight, no runners coming behind. Wrong. Fuck. I don't know for how long I had been on the wrong trail. But I missed a sharp left turn as my playground continued straight forward...

It took some time to get back to the race course again, seeing my mistake was frustrating. I was angry on myself. But then because of this also adrenaline pumping in my veins. Saw Lina a little bit ahead again and caught her. We ran together to next aid station. We were still before the other girls though. Lina and I weren't more than 20 meters apart from eachother all the way to the third and last aid station too it had been a nice section where we had chatted a bit too on the climb. But also some more troubles started for me.

In between there was a grassy hill climb and a downhill where I fell, not bad, but with after that I took it more easy, and also got a bit too warm, didn't soak myself anything in the rivers that we passed. Lina did. I was not feeling so well. I felt a bit sick and confused. And on the station, I chew on a watermelon and filled my bottles. Then looked for a caffeine bar, but there wasn’t any. So, I just went on. I regret not taking any salt, cookies, or what da fuck, just some kind of energy. I had no gels or bar in my vest, just 4 small pieces of candy. I saw Lina filled with new power and I was like "what did I do in there in the tent?" Lina on the other hand, that I had had behind me for most part of the race, fueled perfectly and was super fresh and sprinted away. It is in the end of the race that counts…

I was in my own world for a while. Both of us and another guy ran wrong again, or well, missed flags, when it was a turn. We heard some others had done the same. I kept both him and Lina in sight the last 12 kilometers. I was searching for my energy and on the long grassy rolling I started to push. The hunting mode down and up the grassy hills was slowly getting started. But I couldn't get a flow. Then finally we reached a gravel road. I was a bit disappointed to figure out it was only gravel and road left of the course, but at the same time, revealed, this meant I could just focus on running fast and not thinking about where to put my feet. Adrenaline kicked in. Zig-zaging other runners from finishing the 25 kilometer as we had the same ending. Now it was fun again. Very fun, and hard.

I passed the guy but couldn’t see Lina anymore. He shouted. “Continue like that now, just push it! You can get her!” But when Lina is chased, then she can really sprint. Normally I’m slightly faster downhill. But when she gets a flow and is hunted, she is be hard to get. How ever, at one point on the rush of the last kilometers, I got a big flood of euphoria and happiness and tears at the same time, like a shiver all over my body. It was a feeling of exhaustion when really pushing what you have in you downhill despite you are empty and that you get encourage by others cheering around you and get lifted forward from them. A little bit like the sprint on PTL I Chamonix.
Difficult to explain, but those who know, know what I mean.

I was happy all the way to the finish line and so proud I was happy even though my running shape was not the best on the race, I had fun, ran for those who can’t, ran because I love running, how natural it is, and how people get together by this community.

Super happy for Henriette Albon who crushed it. So fast and strong!

Now we are qualified for OCC on UTMB this year, or 2025. Let's see what we decide.

Rest of the stay in UK we went to Scotland, I have not many words. Just look at those picutres.

We visited our friend Georgia Tindley outside of Inverness, ran on her home trails, got to borrow her camp stuff and went to the area around Glencoe; A.M.A.Z.E.B.A.L.L.S.
We also took a little road trip to Sanna beach (had to) and rode some ferrys to islands. We are very good at driving on the lefthand side on very narrow roads now. If you plan on going to Scotland, may is the perfect month. No midges, not too many people, good trails and hopefully sun.

Next up now is vanlife to Lofoten stage run and Nösen100.