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The following Press Release is from Matt Ward --- Nadeem Khan

Andi Jones Takes fifth win, whilst Maddams takes first at 36th International Snowdon Race

The 2011 International Snowdon Race / Ras-yr-Wyddfa produced one of the closest finishes in the race's history yesterday, as England's Andi Jones took his fifth title on this famous mountain.

Having summited with a clear lead Jones was reeled in by Scotland's Murray Strain, going into the last mile such was the Scots descent that he headed the Englishman by a handful of seconds, but he was unable to hold off the marauding Jones as he sprinted to an unprecedented win. It was to be double delight for the English, as reigning World Long Distance Mountain Running champion Pippa Maddams reversed the positions of 2010 as she took the women's race ahead of Scots youngster Catriona Buchanan.  

The runners were assembled for the customary 2pm start and were drenched in warm sunshine, a stark contrast to the high winds and lashing rain of 2010. In fact many runners returned to Llanberis with tales of extreme heat and dryness on parts of this historic mountain which requires an ascent of over 1000m / 3500ft over its 10 mile route. Parc Padarn, the location for the race start, was described as one of the most colourful and best presented ever and the glorious weather conditions produced one of the biggest crowds for many years.

2011 was also significant in the race's history as it now has status as a trial race in the Skyrunner World Series adding to the International flavour, and Welsh Assembly Member Alun Ffred Jones got the runners underway at bang on two o'clock. The crowd were reminded of why this race is known as the International Snowdon race with the first 30 runners a sea of English, Scottish, Welsh, Irish, Northern Irish and Italian vests. Salford man Andi Jones immediately set the pace leading the 458 starters onto the mountain, as has become his trademark in the race over the last 6 years, establishing a sizeable lead by halfway with the Scottish team giving chase, as Strain and team mates Jethro Lennox and 2010 winner Robbie Simpson followed some 35 seconds back.

As they hit the very steepest part of the course named Allt Moses, Jones extended his lead still further, and onto Allt Goch to the summit his gap was over 50 seconds as he hit the summit turn in 41 mins 21 secs. Murray Strain, having just returned from a 'training holiday' in the Alps was looking strong in second, and with his descending prowess must have fancied his chances as they plummeted back to Llanberis. 

What was to unfold was one of the greatest two-man battles this mountain has ever seen, as Strain caught Jones just past prior to the Halfway House check-point. Speaking after the race Jones said:

"It was a case of Murray taking it on over the technical stuff, and me pulling him back and pushing on over the flatter, faster sections."

And so it transpired, as they descended past Hebron and onto the super-steep tarmac run in. Indeed post-race images show Strain with a 5 second gap over Jones with as little as 800m to the finish line. However, 4-time winner wasn't to be denied and the tenacious GB international used his greater basic speed to haul in Strain over the last 400m to win by 7 seconds as he crossed the line in front of a crowd of thousands - the great conditions and fast-route producing a fast time of 1.05.57, Jones' second best time ever at Snowdon. 

Scot Strain had to settle for a close second (adding to his third place of 2009), no mean feat against a man who knows this mountain well and had been targeting the event once again this year after missing the race in 2010.

"I'm really pleased", said Jones, "it was a great race and it means a lot to me to come here and with a fifth title. I've got some very good form at the moment too, after finishing 7th at the Europeans a couple of weeks ago."

Jones' previous wins had all been solo efforts, building very big leads at the summit, never to be caught, however when asked about what it felt like to have some company on his return to Llanberis he said, "Yeah it was good actually, of course I would have preferred to have not been caught by Murray, but it produced a great race which I enjoyed and should look good on TV, it also makes my fifth win one of the best. I hope to come back again next year to make it 6!"

Behind the battling duo was 2010 winner Robbie Simpson producing the second best descent time of the day (23.34) - behind 3-time winner Ian Holmes' amazing 23.25 - his finishing time of 1:07:36 bettering his 2010 time by 22 seconds. With fellow Scot Jethro Lennox in 4th the Scots were well on their way to the team win, meaning the English had to relinquish the team title for the first time in many years. 

Top fell man Lloyd Taggart had a great run in fifth to win the Open Men's prize, leading Dark Peak Fell Runners to the club win.

Pippa Maddams is the reigning British fell running champion, and looks set to once again win that crown in 2011. Perhaps more significantly the Keswick women is now also the World Long Distance Mountain Running Champion after winning the title in Slovenia some 4 weeks ago - despite her pedigree Maddams was unable to add the Snowdon title to her glittering list in 2010 as she was unable to match the young Scot Catriona Buchanan. However, the sign of a great champion is the ability to bounce back, and that is exactly what Maddams did yesterday, as she dominated the race from gun to tape ahead of Buchanan. 

"It was really hot up there", said an elated Maddams at the finish, "and if I am honest this felt harder than the race in Slovenia (the World Championships) a few weeks ago! It took a while to get going and there were a few times when I wondered if I would have it today. I took on a lot of water and found myself picking up other peoples bottles of water to get hydrated. Still when I had the lead at the top (some 27 seconds) I knew that if I descended like I know I can I could win".

And so it proved, as the Englishwomen extended her advantage over the 5 mile return to win comfortably in the end, from Scotland's Buchanan. Her team mates of Christina Rankin and Fiona Maxwell finished in 3rd and 5th places to ensure a great win for the Scottish women and super day for the Scots in the mens and women's team races.

Lindsey Brindle had a brilliant run in Women's Open race (1:25:01) to win by over 6 minutes from Eryri Harrier Becky Law. 

Leading positions 
Men 1. Andi Jones (England) 1:05:57 2. Murray Strain (Scotland) 1:06:04 3. Robbie Simpson (Scotland) 1:07:36  4. Jethro Lennox (Scotland) 1:08:38 5. Lloyd Taggart (Deak Peak Fell Runners) 1:09:05
Team: Scotland

Women  1. Pippa Maddams (England) 1:20:53 2. Catriona Buchanan (Scotland) 1:22.14 
3. Christina Rankin (Scotland) 1:22:45 4. Karen Alexander (Northern Ireland) 1:24:50 5. Fiona Maxwell (Scotland) 1:25:09
Team: Scotland

Full results are now online at TDL Services 

Race images by Al Tye over at Fell Running Pictures and Gwynfor James at Sports Pictures Cymru

The International Snowdon Race / Ras-yr-Wyddfa organising committee would like to extend their sincere thanks to all volunteers who made the race possible in 2011, and would like to thank all sponsors and supporters of the event, including Seimens, Salomon, The Snowdonia National Park, Snowdon Mountain Railway, Orbana, Volvo, Pete Bland Sports, Rainbow Running, First Hydro, Gwynedd Council, Cwmni Da, The Royal Victoria Hotel (Legacy Hotels), Gelert, Snowdon Mountain Rescue and the countless helpers throughout the year who have helped make the event such a success. Thank you!  

Matt Ward
PR, Ras Ryngwladol yr Wyddfa / International Snowdon Race
matt@mudsweatandtears.co.uk 
+44(0)7515 558670
www.snowdonrace.com