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After 15 hours on foot, 3,300m of climbing and 50km worth of Ultra-Trail Snowdonia, Clare tells us what this year’s event taught her, what future entrants should consider and why giving up that last slice of pizza is sometimes necessary for the greater good!


In August 2023, I signed up for the Ultra-Trail Snowdonia 100KM, managing to rope in a good friend with promises of adventure (and perhaps a bit of suffering). By September, we began an eight-month training program. As a UTMB qualifying race, I was eager to earn some stones. The race covers a daunting 104KM with 6,590+ meters of elevation—a real challenge, especially living on the pancake-flat south coast.

New Networking

It’s funny how far you can travel (from Hampshire to Wales) and still bump into someone from your hometown. One such encounter led me to discover a local running club I didn’t even know existed. Who knew I had to travel 300 miles to learn about something five minutes from my house? I also mingled with brands and run ambassadors from all over the country. Moral of the story: always say hi and strike up a conversation—you never know if it’ll lead to a new friendship or just a really good story to tell.

Not Going It Alone

Running 100KM is a bloody long way, and having a friend to share the misery and occasional moments of euphoria was priceless. Plus, it’s nice to have someone to chat with, even if it’s just to distract yourself from the pain by debating the best flavour of energy gel.

Doing Your Research

Preparation was key. We had a reconnaissance weekend, received coaching from the amazing Carla Molinaro (50KM world champ and HOKA athlete), and trained thoroughly with our nutrition and equipment. Many participants hadn’t even been to Wales before the race, and it showed. The ever-changing landscape and the heat left many struggling. Thanks to our prep, we were moving faster uphill than down (gravity, right?). Plus, we’d practiced eating while running so much that our stomachs were basically bulletproof—turns out ultra-running is just a very slow-moving picnic.

Knowing When to Stop

One of the hardest decisions was stopping at 50KM. Despite eight months of training and mental readiness, my body was hurting. I didn’t want to jeopardise future trail runs. The statistics speak for themselves:

Success rate

Distance Starters Finishers DNF DNF rate%
100 M 260 99 161 61.9%
100 K 715 431 284 39.72%
50K 1057 790 267 25.26%
25K 678 607 69 10.21%

Stopping felt like giving up on that last slice of pizza—heartbreaking, but necessary for the greater good (or in this case, for future runs).


Importance of Having a ‘Why’

We did it because we could and wanted to see what was possible. There’s something thrilling about pushing your limits, even if it means limping for a week afterwards.

Enjoy It!

Look up, look around, take it all in, and remember to smile – we chose to do this! It’s a voluntary suffer-fest, after all.

And yes, we will be back in 2025 to take it on again. Apparently, we’re gluttons for punishment…

Clare Probyn