2023 Race Report

The Snowman, known as the toughest triathlon in the UK, and certainly one of the most spectacular, returned to the National Outdoor Centre at Plas y Brenin once more.

The winds were strong and the skies grey, but racers were ready to take on the course, producing some great racing in 2023!

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 Eryri (Snowdonia), and a mountain run on Moel Siabod, it’s hard to argue.


It was a breezy but bright start for the Sprint Triathletes & Duathletes who entered racing on Saturday, defying the weather forecast to show off the beauty of the area.

Despite the wind, there was some strong and fast swimming in the Triathlon. Huw Jack Brassington was first out of the water, 48 seconds ahead of the female leader, Anwen Nesham.

Huw was on his way out of transition when the second place open category competitor, Scott Mackenzie left the water. Huw increased his lead in every stage, leaving the battle for 2nd and 3rd behind him. Dean Taylor's fast bike section brought him up the ranks after the swim, but it was his run that secured 2nd place for him in 1h 57m 21s, ahead of Gary Stretton who finished 3rd in 1h 59m 41s. Huw's win in 1h 44m 10s saw him cross the finish line over 13 minutes ahead of the next competitor, and marked 10 years since he last took part, and won, the Snowman Triathlon!

Anwen lead the female category throughout the race, being chased hard by Jessica Denman. In the end it was Anwen's traditionally fast transition times and strong performance on the run that brought her the win in 2h01m50s, 6 minutes and 26 seconds ahead of Jessica, who finished in 2h8m16s. Coming out of the water 50 seconds behind Jessica, Amy Edwards earned third place with a strong & consistent performance in each leg, finishing in 2h 9m 15s, just 59 seconds behind Jessica.

The Duathlon began with a sting in the tail. This year's run started up the steep climb into the woods of Bryn Engan, before descending the shallower gradient of the woodland fire-roads and across the bridge to T1, where the race joins the same course as the Sprint Triathlon. James Hards set off at a determined pace, and lead throughout the race, with a finish time of 1h 54m 53s, over 6 minutes ahead of second place athlete, GOG Triathlon member Andy Jones. It was Andy's quick transition times and ultimately his final run that saw him win the battle for second place with Caron Rees Jones. In the female category, Cat Eassom finished first, over 40 minutes ahead of the next placers, Felicity Aires and Ffyon Davies, who finished within 12 seconds of each other.

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 must be one of the most stunning open water spots in the UK. The 1000m winners were Medi Lewis, followed by Scott Mackenzie, 'fresh' from the Sprint Triathlon in the morning The 2000m race also saw a female overall winner, with Eliza Radclyffe leaving the water first, followed closely by Matthew Pye, winner of the men's race. The final event of the day, the 2.4-mile swim, was won by Paul Guest, with Alice Cundy taking the win for the ladies.

View all the race photography at Sport Pictures Cymru.


On Sunday, we were welcomed by high winds and grey skies. The Legend triathletes were the first in the water at 7:00am, with a strong wind blowing down the lake from Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon).

In the Open race, it was a battle between Luke Goldsworthy and Tom Williams. Tom put in a superb performance in all three legs, coming out of the swim in first place, which he held into the run. Goldsworthy put in a similar time on a fantastic bike leg, moving from 4th place to 2nd. His strength in the run saw him overtake Williams to cross the line and claim the win. Williams was 2nd and Henry Sleight 3rd.

In the ladies' race, each leg of the race changed the standings. Bethan Wooton was first to leave the water, but a quick transition and blisteringly fast bike section saw Elizabeth Docherty break away, entering T2 with a 20 minute lead over the closest athlete, Lucy Cartwright, who had herself passed Phoebe Beer to claim second position. Lucy then put in the fastest run seen in the race, eating into Elizabeth's lead, but it wasn't quite enough to take first place. Elizabeth crossed the line in 1st place in 7h 21m 19s, with Lucy just eight and a half minutes behind in 7h 29m 48s, taking 2nd. Phoebe Beer's strong and consistent performance over every leg earned her 3rd place in a time of 7h 52m 50s.

The standard triathlon wave started at 08:30am, with the windspeed lessening from the earlier Legend start. The Standard race is always an incredibly competitive distance and this was no exception. The honours went to Ashia Reeder, having lead throughout. The battle for 2nd and 3rd place was a closer-fought affair; with Lucy Scott and Jessica Denman leaving the water and leaving T1 almost simultaneously, we were in for an exciting bike section! In the end though, it was Rebecca Waterfield' bike section and performance in the run which earned her 2nd place, 2 minutes & 25 seconds ahead of Lucy Scott in 3rd place. Jessica Denman came in 4th place, winning the weekend's Savage Series (both Sprint and Standard Triathlons) in 6hrs 54m 05s.

Daniel Madden took the win in the Open category finishing just over 10 minutes clear of 2nd place James Reeder, despite James putting in the fastest run of the category in his bid for first. Daniel Orr took advantage of his strength on the bike to make up for being last out of the water. A good run secured his podium position, taking third place behind James.

The Standard Duathlon was back for a third year. James Brayford convincingly took the top place in the Open category with Louise Toach taking the first place in the women's race.

The Savage Distance triathlon is a 2-day event that combines the Sprint on Saturday and the Standard on Sunday. As mentioned above, Jessica Denman won the women's race, with a 20-minute buffer from 2nd placed Christine Howard, who finished in a combined time of 7h 14m 11s. Thrid place went to Julie Ogilvie in 10h 19m 18s. Scott Mackenzie moved up from his 3rd place in 2022 to take first in the Open category this year. Jack Easthope and Frank Holmes were hot on his heels thiugh, with just minutes seperating the three accross the weekend's racing.

Always Aim High Events Director Tim Lloyd had this to say about the weekend's racing “The Craft Snowman is such a great event that just gets better every year. It was 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, even braving the rain on Sunday afternoon to make sure finishers received a cheer in recognition of the awesome achievement that completing the Snowman undoubtably is.

“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.

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 2023 Craft Snowman Triathlon & Duathlon Results

Sprint Triathlon Female:
🥇 Anwen Nesham 2:01:50
🥈 Jessica Denman 2:08:16
🥉 Amy Edwards 2:09:15

Sprint Triathlon Open:
🥇 Huw Jack Brassington 1:44:10
🥈 Dean Taylor 1:57:21
🥉 Gary Stretton 1:59:41

Sprint Duathlon Female
🥇 Cat Eassom 2:13:14
🥈 Felicity Aries 2:55:42
🥉 Ffyon Davies 2:55:54

Sprint Duathlon Open:
🥇 James Hards 1:54:53
🥈 Andy Jones 2:01:27
🥉 Caron Rees-Jones 2:02:10

Standard Triathlon Female:
🥇 Aisha Reeder 04:19:27
🥈 Rebecca Waterfeild 04:37:39
🥉 Lucy Scott 04:40:04

Standard Triathlon Open:
🥇 Daniel Madden 03:33:22
🥈 James Reeder 03:43:58
🥉 Daniel Orr 03:46:41

Standard Duathlon Female:
🥇Louise Toach 05:53:48
🥈 Jenny Bringloe 07:12:34

Standard Duathlon Open:
🥇 James Brayford 04:31:37
🥈 Nadeem Saddique 04:55:12
🥉 David Gennaway 05:06:28

Legend Triathlon Female
🥇 Elizabeth Docherty 07:21:19
🥈 Lucy Cartwright 07:29:48
🥉 Phoebe Beer 07:52:50

Legend Triathlon Open
🥇 Luke Goldsworthy 05:28:36
🥈 Tom Williams 05:32:36
🥉 Henry Sleight 06:04:05

Savage Triathlon Open
🥇 Scott Mackenzie 06:34:52
🥈 Jack Easthope 06:38:51
🥉 Frank Holmes 06:40:31

Savage Triathlon Female:
🥇 Jessica Denman 06:54:05
🥈 Christine Howard 07:14:11
🥉 Julie Ogilvie 10:19:18