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SNOWDON 50 GB GRAND SLAM FINALE

SNOWDON 50


After Wales, my body was definitely starting to feel the massive hit from the SLAM , but we still have one last ride. I was happy that at least I had some decent time to recover this time. In the meantime parents ( my awesome Mexican crew) went back home and I had a couple of good weeks to recover.

After Wales 50 My muscles and joints were recovering fine but I realised that my internal organs weren’t recovering in the same time schedule. My stomach felt weak, heart and lungs tired. I knew the final punch will hit hard and fast.

A couple of days before the race, Mexican crew ( my parents) came back and in position for their crew duties. At this point after 3 crew experiences, they were pros ! they even brought ideas and we got better and better each race. So I knew that front was covered, they will only have to deal with the challenging driving on the other side and in unknown territory, finding food along the way, and making it on time to certain points. I've never doubted my crew in any of the races, they are the best! Quick, fast-solving team, most loving parents, it must be hard seeing their daughter self-punishing herself for no reason for miles and miles ( haha). Mum even asked me a couple of times, what did they do wrong to make me want to do this kind of things…. I think my answer will be for another blog ( lol) .

Anyways…

Me, on the other hand, I was not ready AT ALL ! My body just recovered, I was still feeling pretty fragile.




I don’t like to recce the routes I do, I like them to be a “surprise” and thank god, because if I had seen this route in person before D Day I would have NOT stepped on that start line. I did a bit of research and that was enough for me to step in that line, more nervous than in any previous race.

I think it was because I knew I was feeling not in the best shape, I was tired but there was no way I wasn’t going fight this one, I was one step away from the GRAND SLAM. Something I have worked, suffered, and enjoyed for the last 6 months.


I knew if I failed, I had to pursue the next 50 which was Glasgow to Edinburgh- and there was no way I would survive that flat tarmac route. So, not finishing was definitely not an option.

I stepped into that start line, crying, full of nerves ON. But one thing I love about doing the SLAM with the GB Ultras team is that every race, I get to see lots of familiar faces, and friendly smiles, which helped A LOT during the minutes before the start and during the course.

The race started on a “decent” fresh morning. Navigation was alright, a bit challenging a times, I started on my own, chatting along with familiar runners I had met before but getting passed, I was not fighting at all in this one, I knew I was weak, I just needed to stay relaxed and keep a steady pace.

Somewhere in the middle miles, I found Mike! , the runner I finished Wales with, oh what a great surprise that was! He was also on his way to receiving his GRAND SLAM medal too at the end. We stayed together for the rest of the race. I can only say, it was a mental saviour having good company.

Before the big Snowdown climb, meet my crew, Dad was standing in the middle of nowhere at the bottom of the trail where he could see runners coming by. As I started descending, I could hear a wee voice screaming my name- as I approached the bottom I saw my dad,( I will never NEVER forget this moment in my life). He climbed half the uphill with jeans, no jacket, in the cold, just there screaming and waving, waiting for me.




I got him and we joggled down to the checkpoint, where Mum was, I decided not to change socks and just try to pass as quickly as possible, we had Snowdown to climb and wanted to hurry before the weather turned. I left them with the biggest hug, I was going to be back at the same checkpoint in a couple of hours, good news for them, they had time for a good nap, no driving until I was back.

Even though they told me later, that they couldn’t sleep so they decided to drive up a bit and walk around a beautiful lake.

While I was rocking up and down Snowdown, the weather of course turned, into rain, hail, and brutal winds. Sadly the views I was expecting were non-existent, but I did find lots of tourist traffic, something I wasn’t expecting at all. That climb went on FOREVER!




It was non-stop climbing for hours! I wasn’t particularly going any fast, just a steady hike up. Once up there, there was a cue for photos, with no time for that, I had to pass on the Top Trig photo and start the descent. I was taking it so nice and steady that I didn’t feel too bad/sore or tired after tackling the highest mountain in Wales, ready to tackle the more than halfway to go.

Back to the checkpoint I left hours ago, Dad was sleeping in the car and Mum was the first one to jump out of the car. I grabbed a couple of bits from my bag, tbh, GB ultra races are so well stocked that bringing lots of food isn’t really needed.

Left the comfy protection of my parents to keep going for a fair bit of the race, their next challenge is to drive around, find a pizza for dinner and meet me at a further checkpoint.




We kept moving, nice and steadily up and down, maybe one or two times off a very foggy route, lol, but we managed to find our way back to the trail back.


(Surreal views along the spooky climbs )




We managed to find more friends along the route! The more the merrier right !? We chatted- joggle along until the further checkpoint where parents were again waiting for me. I was still feeling alright, they asked if I wanted pizza, they were keeping it for after the race but I was so hungry I attacked it along with cheeky beer.




The team now of 4 geared up for the dark miles, head-torches on, singing and dancing along with “Gloria” as a backdrop tune we moved on. I know as the dark sets in the miles start getting a bit slower so it was great to have company during those long dark miles.




Suddenly I can't remember much about how or why but suddenly we merged with another group, so now we were a big group of 6 or 7 runners walking along the route, until -disaster- struck.

As we were following along the route I noticed we were no longer on the route accordingly to my GPS, but some that have recce the route before said we were on the correct path, so decided to follow until they also realised they may have been mistaken. We all stopped and considered our options, a) we trace back a few miles to find the route again or b) According to my GPS we were 200 mtrs downhill the marked route, we would just need to climb a pile of thorns and debris to get back to the trail.

After some thought, we all decided to go for B. How bad can 200 mts can be, right?. We started junggling thru some thorns and bushes uphill, clear to say my legs were getting shredded with every step. A couple of pushes here and there.. and we got back into the trail! I was a bit mad to myself about why I didn’t trust myself at first when I realized we were not on the right path, but that anger-frustration fuelled me for a couple of miles, took the lead and marched on with 7 headlamps behind me, making sure once in a while they all still there and keeping the group together.


As we started to recognize the path back and the dense trails opened a bit, letting the moonlight illuminate the trail we all started to get a bit more strength as we knew we were close!, But Mike was struggling the last miles, I waited for him, and kept encouraging him, telling him we will finish together.

As soon as the town was on sight, the front runners of the team speed up and hurry to cross the line I made Mike the promise we will cross together, and waited for him at the corner, as he appeared, my parents also made their way to the finish. In a sense, I wanted to make sure we all crossed the finish. Happy to say we all did, within the time limit, and received our beautiful Snowdon medal along with my GRAND SLAM plate.





Once I crossed the line my body immediately started breaking down, I think I didn’t realise during the race that I was such in a bad state, I was too focused on not getting lost and just making sure we all stayed together than once I crossed everything became a blur.

Took a couple of photos, and off to the hotel, where mum had to take care of my legs which were so scratched and bleeding and attend a very painful trench foot.




And that’s how the GB GRAND SLAM 2022 memoir ends, five 50 milers in 6 months- ACHIEVED! lots of logistics preparations, and travels. Lots of lessons learned ( which I will write about in a future blog). A beautiful way for this Mexican soul to get to see, know, and experience this beautiful country.


Probably the first Mexican attempting and conquering the slam :) , but I am sure I won't be the only one, I couldn't recommend any of the GB Race - Experiences enough.



Now this is a fine collection to have haha. And not only medal wise, but each one is full of memories, experiences, struggle, tears, smiles, joy and love.


Words of wisdom I carried along every step, little reminders I will keep forever.

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