2022 Race Report
The Aquasphere Snowman Swim returned to the National Mountain Centre at Plas y Brenin as part of a weekend of epic racing.
The clouds were low and grey in the morning hiding the mountain peaks, as if offering a warning to the athletes lined up on the shores of Llyn Mymbyr. The Snowman is known as the toughest triathlon in the UK and the challenge was on!
Widely believed to be the toughest triathlon in the UK, the Snowman isn’t for the faint-hearted. Consisting of a swim in the stunning Llynnau Mymbyr, a bike section in the challenging climbs of Snowdonia, and a mountain run on Moel Siabod it’s hard to argue.
It was a damp and breezy start for the 100 Sprint Triathletes and 20 Sprint Duathletes who entered racing on Saturday.
Despite the wind, there was some strong and fast swimming in the Triathlon. Peter Rought was first out of the water with Sarah Roberts just 4 seconds behind setting the standard for the men and women. Out of transition and on to the bikes it was Jacob Wilson who came through as the athletes made their way down the stunning Ogwen Valley, before turning back along the old road; friendly at first, but throwing some brutally steep sections at the athletes as they made their way back towards Llyn Ogwen and the highest point of the cycle route.
Wilson was first in and out of T2 onto the run followed by Cameron Pulger-Frame and Steven Allport. Wilson continued to lead throughout the ascent to the halfway point on Siabod and showed great skill and speed on the descent to take the win nearly 6 minutes in front. Pulger Frame and Allport fiercely battled for second place in an epic finish which saw Cameron crossing the line only 260/1000 of a second ahead of his rival.
In the ladies, 2nd out of the water Anwen Nesham had an excellent bike section to take her into the lead out of T2 and on to the run closely followed by Catrin Donnelly. Donnelly pulled out a blisteringly fast run showing her great technical skill as a fell runner on the mountain to take the tape 5 minutes in front. Lauren Munro Bennett also had a great run and after a solid swim and bike took second with Nesham making up the podium in third.
The Duathlon began with a fire-road run up into the Bryn Engan woods, leading to a super-technical descent into T1, where the race joins the same course as the Sprint Triathlon. A hard-fought race was won by Aidan Mcilroy, who crossed the line 42 seconds ahead of last year’s winner Alex Bath; delivering the fastest bike split of the day was key to Mcilroy's win. Carwyn Dafydd completed the podium taking third place seconds later. Kerry Jones topped the podium for the ladies, ahead of Rhian Roberts-Jones.
The afternoon saw the return of the Aquasphere Snowman Swims with 1000m, 2000m and 2.4-mile distances. Continuing to grow in popularity, it’s a pleasure to watch the swimmers compete in what is one of the most stunning open water spots in the UK. The 1000m winners were Jason Cook and Sarah Roberts – showing her strength in the water once again, having led the pack during the swim in the triathlon earlier in the day. In the 2000m, last year’s winner Rhian Roxburgh was back and proved she was as strong as ever, cruising in in 29.36 ahead of the male winner Wray Shewell-Cooper who finished in 33.38. The final event of the day, the 2.4-mile swim, was won by Adam Crewe with Sasha Jones taking the win for the ladies.
Snowdonia delivered near-perfect conditions for the Legend and Standard athletes on Sunday.
The legends were the first in the water at 7.00am.
In the men’s race, it was a battle between Luke Goldsworthy and Matthew Braybrooke. Braybrooke put in a superb performance in all three legs, coming out of the swim in third and heading out on the bike in second place, where he moved into first, holding the lead into the run. Goldsworthy put in a similar time on a fantastic bike leg, moving from 11th place to 2nd. His strength in the run finally saw him overtake Braybrooke to cross the line and claim the win. Braybrooke was 2nd and Thomas Campbell 3rd.
In the ladies' race, Nerys Jones once again showed her strength and endurance over the middle distance, being first out of the water before building a good lead on the bike which saw her stay ahead and take the tape. Linda Duncan and Lucy Commander battled it out for a second, with Commander going into the run behind Jones, but Duncan put in the time of the day for the ladies in the run and moved ahead to take second.
The first standard triathlon wave started at 08.30 with two more waves following behind at 5-minute intervals. The Standard race is always an incredibly competitive distance and this was no exception, with 160 athletes finishing. The honours went to Frances Owen, taking first place for the ladies and also overall, moving from 60th (overall) to first in a blisteringly fast bike and holding the lead to the end. Helena Sherwood was second for the ladies and third overall with an excellent performance across all three legs. What a great statement these ladies are making for women’s racing. The ever-consistent Sarah Harrison was third, competing in her third race of the weekend.
Nicholas Hayes took the win for the men finishing just a minute after Frances also proving that in this sport, consistency is key. Jake Jamieson was 2nd and Daniel Wellings 3rd, moving up four places in the run to the summit of Moel Siabod.
The Standard Duathlon was back for a second year, growing to 27 starters. Richard Williams convincingly took the top place for the men with Katharine Harris successfully defending her title, winning the ladies category for the second year running, with an equally comfortable 13:42 lead.
The Savage Distance triathlon is a 2-day event that combines the Sprint on Saturday and the Standard on Sunday. The women’s race was convincingly won by Lauren Munro-Bennet ahead of Louisa Williams, with Christine Howard in third. Nick Lord took the top spot in the men’s Savage event ahead of Peter Rought in second place and Scott McKenzie in third.
Always Aim High Events Director Nigel Kendrick had this to say about the weekend's racing “The Craft Snowman is such a great event that just gets better every year. This was our biggest Snowman yet and It was also great to be back with our friends at Plas y Brenin; a stunning venue that provides such a friendly vibe and an unparalleled finish line backdrop! It was great to see so many people on the hill cheering the finishers and enjoying the atmosphere.
Conditions once again varied between the two days with Sunday bringing us some glorious sunshine for the legend and standard athletes.
“We’d like to extend a massive thank you to all our athletes, who continue to support our events and make them what they are with their talent and sportsmanship. We’d also like to thank Plas y Brenin and the community of Capel Curig as well as our event sponsors and partners for their continued support.
Another thank you goes to our local authorities of Conwy, Gwynedd and Anglesey councils as well as the Welsh Government for their tremendous support during the pandemic and for helping us on our road back to events. Lastly, and importantly, we’d like to thank our world-class marshals and volunteers, without whom the race just wouldn’t be possible”
View full Saturday Craft Snowman race results.
View full Aquasphere Snowman Swim Results
View full Sunday Craft Snowman race results.
View race photography courtesy of Sport Pictures Cymru.
Selected 2022 Aquasphere Snowman Swim Results
1000m Female Swim
- Sarah Roberts 15:36
- Claire Jamison 18:09
- Gemma Moore 18:24
1000m Male Swim
- Jason Cooke 15:25
- Simon Blane 19:24
- Andrew Goodbourne 20:10
2000m Female Swim
- Rhian Roxburgh 29:36
- Katie Gormly 36:36
- Andrea Crofts 39:18
2000m Male Swim
- Wray Shewell - Cooper 33:38
- Eugene Gormly 35:50
- Guy Hussy 36:01
2.4 Mile Female Swim
- Sasha Jones 01:00:51
- Ellie Griffin 01:00:57
- Alex Aldous 01:02:23
2.4 Mile Male Swim
- Adam Criw 00:57:43.200
- Andrew Gore 00:57:43.263
- Tom Lamb 00:57:51