Less than a week after the Grossglockner Berglauf in Austria, the WMRA World Cup moves to the Snowdon International Mountain Race in the UK on Saturday (20) for the fourth race in the 2019 series.
The hills and fells of North Wales are often described as being the birthplace of mountain running, so it’s fitting that this pivotal race – the half-way stage of the WMRA World Cup – is being held on a legendary 10-mile course in the heart of Snowdonia National Park in Wales.
Ireland’s Sarah McCormack, a winner here in 2014 and 2015, will start as one of the favourites. The current WMRA World Cup leader will be encouraged by her second-place finish at the Maxi Race in Annecy and a fourth-place finish at last weekend’s Grossglockner Berglauf.
Fresh from a fifth-place finish at the recent European Mountain Running Championships in Zermatt, Italy’s Elisa Sortini will be aiming to reach the podium after finishing fourth in this race in 2015.
Britain’s Miranda Grant, the runner-up here in 2018, is another of the pre-race favourites along with teammates Katie Beecher, 2015 world mountain running bronze medallist Emma Clayton, fell specialist Kelli Roberts, and 2010 European steeplechase silver medallist Hatti Archer, who made her mountain-running championships debut in Zermatt earlier this month.
Britain’s Andrew Douglas, winner of the first two races in the WMRA World Cup, leads the men’s field and will be aiming to extend his lead in the overall standings. He will also be keen to improve on his result in Austria last week where he finished fourth. The Snowdon course, which involves a climb to the summit followed by a descent back to the start, will suit his style of running.
Italian twins Martin and Bernard DeMatteis, winner of four European mountain running titles between them, usually perform well on up-and-down courses such as this one. Along with teammate Luca Cagnati, they’re all strong contenders for the title and will try to make it three in a row for Italian winners after victories from Davide Magnini in 2017 and Alberto Vender in 2018.
USA’s Sam Sahli, runner-up at the Broken Arrow World Cup round two race, and Ireland’s Zak Hanna add further interest to the field.
There are also several strong local athletes who’ll be keen to take the spotlight, including Mark Hopkinson and Russell Bentley. A two-time winner of the Snowdonia Marathon, Bentley knows the area well.
“The 2019 race is set to be our best ever,” says race director Stephen Edwards. “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 four of the World Cup in Llanberis.”
WMRA for the IAAF