2019 World Cup at a pivotal moment as Round 4 goes to Snowdonia UK
With the past weekends World Cup from Austria still fresh in mind it's already time to shift attention to the â€œSnowdon International Mountain Race.â€œ It will be almost certainly a pivotal point of this years Mountain Running World Cup as runners from USA, Kenya, Japan, France, England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Italy travel to the hills and fells of North Wales lining up with 650 locals to race in the United Kingdom. It could be described as also being a birth place of the sport of mountain running and so it's with great pleasure that the World Mountain Running Association is involved with such an important race.
One of the legendary mountain running courses, of this there is no doubt, it races over 10 miles (16km) in the heart of Snowdonia National Park in Wales.
Let's start with the women's field where Irish runner Sarah McCormack (IRL) is a name that will be familiar with followers of the World Cup as she is always very consistent over the mountain running events. Here in Snowdonia she has won twice (2014 and 2015) and with that record will be one of the favourites. She will of course try to win for the third time this iconic mountain running race. She arrives in Wales encouraged by her recent results that includes hitting the leadership in the WMRA World Cup after a 2nd place at Annecyâ€™s Maxi Race (World Cup Round 1) and her 4th place at GrossGlockner berglauf (World Cup Round 3) showing that consistency is the key for World Cup success.
Elisa Sortini (ITA), fresh from a strong European Championship Mountain Race will be strong competition and one of the top contenders aiming to reach the podium after her 4th place finish at Snowdon back in 2015.
Look for local runners Katie Beecher and Welsh national team debutant Elliw Haf to feature. Hatti Archer (ENG) had a good showing at the recent European Mountain Running Championships. Then Kelli Roberts (ENG) has literally romped away with the first three rounds of the British Fell Champs this year and on current form should be considered. Miranda Grant (SCO) has form on this course with her 2nd place in 2018 and finally let's not count out Emma Clayton (ENG) on the come back from injury. She has many years of World Mountain Running competition experience to draw on when she lines up.
On the men's side it will be current World Cup leader Andrew Douglas (SCO) who will lead the field with the goal to consolidate further his leadership but also to improve on his Austrian result last week where he missed the podium coming home in 4th. Douglas comes to Wales after winning the first two of three races in the Cup so is still in a commanding position and the Snowdon course will suit his style of running on this fell running style of course involving a climb to the summit followed by a descent back to the start.
Sam Sahli (USA), second at the Broken Arrow World Cup Round 2 race and Zak Hanna (IRL ) will add spice to an interesting field which also features the Italian twins Martin and Bernard DeMatteis (ITA). They are both former winners of World and European Mountain Running titles and they are also very strong on an up and down Mountain Running course like this one. Luca Cagnati (ITA) returns again and they all can, and should be considered solid contenders for the title and will try to make it three in a row for Italian winners after wins by Davide Magnini in 2017 and Alberto Vender who stormed to victory in 2018.
But it could well come down to the many strong local athletes to take the spotlight and leading the Welsh charge will be Mark Hopkinson and Russell Bentley is another to watch. He knows the area very well, and as a 2-time winner of the Snowdonia Marathon will always be strong on this gruelling mountain event. All the local runners will ensure the Snowdon International Mountain Race is an exciting showdown for top mountain runners in the area. Eryri Harriers always turn out in force for Snowdon especially this year as its 40 years since they first partnered with Italian runnering club CSI Morbegno who started to visit Llanberis and continues an exchange to this day. The race will have a special trophy for the first non uk runner in memory of Gianpettro Botta who stared this iconic connection.
Race director Stephen Edwards says â€œThe 2019 race is set to be out best ever. We have a new headline sponsor on board for this year in the form of Castell Howell and we are really excited to have Round 4 of the World Cup coming to Llanberis!"
Other features of the day will be the traditional junior races starting ten minutes after the main race at 2.10pm on the Saturday, the â€˜Hwyl i Bawbâ€™ family run at 10.30am, and the Thursday evening local junior races, which will see almost 200 youngsters taking part.
The International Snowdon Race incorporating the World Mountain Running Championship series will be held in Llanberis on Saturday, 20 July 2019, with the Race starting at 2pm. It is an icon of British running and is followed all over the World, it has always proven to be a great festival of running, with hundreds of local athletes and many more hundreds of spectators cheering the athletes as they take on the challenge.
The 2019 World Cup calendar has a total of 7 exciting and unique races, in 7 different countries, with over 140km of mountain racing tracks, 9300m+ of elevation and a total prize pool of approximately 56,000 euro across all of the races which includes the overall World Cup competition ranking.
By Corsa In Montagna / Stephen Edwards / Jonathan Wyatt
Snowdon Promo Video
Recap video from Round 3 in Austria