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Last Updated: Sunday, 26 October, 2003, 15:57 GMT
Runners brave mountain race
Snowdonia Marathon
The Snowdona course is among the toughest in Europe
One of Europe's toughest marathons took place in Snowdonia on Sunday with more than 800 runners taking part.

In contrast to last year's event which was cancelled due to stormy weather, Sunday's gruelling race took place in glorious sunshine.

The route, which includes a circuit around the base of Snowdon is regarded as among the toughest marathon courses in Europe.

The winner of this year's men's race was student Martin Cox of Leicester.

His time of two hours, 38 minutes and 44 seconds was nearly six minutes ahead of the 2000 winner, Phil Nicholl of Altrincham, Cheshire, who came second.

First through the tape in the ladies race was Alison Steadman of Belle Vue Racers in Manchester.

Anniversary race

Her time was three hours, 11 minutes and two seconds.

The Snowdonia Marathon celebrated its 21st anniversary this year and has been organised by the National Trust since 1984.

The race attracts runners from all over the world and helps raise money for the Trust's Snowdonia Appeal.

The marathon started at 0930 GMT at Nant Peris on the A4086 and then climbed to the top of Llanberis Pass.

The course followed the A498 to Beddgelert and continued along the A4085 to Waunfawr.

There was then a rapid climb of around 12,000ft at Bwlch y Groes before a downhill finish in Llanberis.

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