Vegan Welsh 3000s

19th Jul 2018

It’s hot, damn hot! and it’s not showing any likelihood of getting cooler. As Alex Hinchcliffe and I drive through the outskirts of Manchester we can see the smoke drifting across the city from a huge fire up on the moorlands. It’s been 32 degrees now for three consecutive days and believe it or not we’re heading to take part in an event which runs up and down all the mountains in North Wales over 3000ft! 

 

The Vegan Welsh 3000s, (V3K) as its known, is now in its 7th year and was the worlds first Vegan Ultra race.

The race takes on the established challenge of the Welsh 3,000s, which crosses all fifteen mountains over 3,000ft in Wales, but rather than peak to peak of Snowdon to Foel Fras the race starts at Nant Gwynant and finishes in the pretty village of Rowen. This adds extra distance to the established challenge with the V3K Ultra being 55km and over 4,000m ascent.

 

The race originally started as a “buddy pact” between 3 friends who decided to complete the welsh 3,000s challenge every year and from that it has grown from just 12 participants in 2012 to over 200 registering in 2018 and is still organised by one of the original trio, Race Director Kirsch Bowker.

 

For those interested, the peaks the race runs over are Snowdon, Garnedd Ugain, Crib Goch, Elidir Fawr, Y Garn, Glyder Fawr, Glyder Fach, Tryfan, 

Pen yr Ole Wen, Carnedd Dafydd, Elen, Carnedd Llewelyn, Foel Grach,

Carnedd Gwenllian and finally Foel Fras.

 

 

Alex’s alarm goes off at 3am. We both simultaneously roll off the comfy sofa’s we been sleeping on. Quickly check the bags we packed last night and head out the door. He’s route setting the first leg of the race from Nant Gwynant to the summit of Snowdon. This entails placing little Red flags every 50-100m or so, to mark the route the runners must follow. 

I, on the other hand, need to be somewhere along the ridge of Crib Goch to photograph the runners when they come past sometime around Seven a.m. 

I get dropped off at the Pen-y-pass carpark at 3.30am and head off up the Pyg track which will eventually take me up onto the ridge of Crib Goch. I started early because I wanted to capture the sunrise over Snowdon and Llyn Llydaw.

 

After the scramble up onto the ridge and subsequent photo taking of sunrises, I hunker down out of the slight breeze and make myself comfortable and wait for the first runners to appear somewhere in the distance coming down from the peak of snowdon. By the time they hit the ridge of Crib Goch I’ll have my camera lens trained firmly on them and will capture some great shots. That was the theory anyway. In practice I’m reaching into my backpack for my water when I see Brennan Townsend steaming toward me. I just had time to grab my camera, frame the runner and fire off a few shots before he was alongside me and then disappearing into the distance ( Brennan won the race in a time of 7hrs 34mins, nearly an hour in front of his nearest rival) Luckily for me there was a bit of a gap before a steady stream of runners started to come along the ridge. By about 8am I’d captured enough images, packed up and headed down to join the Pyg track again. Next stop the Ogwen valley aid station and the lovely peak of Tryfan.