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Last Updated: Sunday, 31 October, 2004, 12:08 GMT
Runners tackle 'tough' marathon
Snowdon general
The Snowdonia Marathon is known as the toughest in Europe
Around 1,000 runners have taken part in the Snowdonia Marathon - reputed to be the toughest race in Europe.

Locals lined up with people from across the world to start the north Wales marathon at 0930 GMT on Sunday.

The event was organised by The National Trust to raise money for the area's upkeep.

The route encircles the base of Snowdon - the highest peak in England and Wales.

First to cross the line on Sunday was Dennis Walmsley of Bourton-on-the-Water in the Cotswolds.

He repeated his success of 1999 and 2001 to win his third Snowdonia Marathon.

The current record for the fastest marathon ran is two and a half hours.

Mr Walmsley was outside the record by more than 10 minutes.

Runners started the 26 mile race at 300ft before eventually reaching 1,200ft at Bwlch-y-Groes

It's reputed to be the toughest marathon in Europe
Fflur Roberts, The National Trust

Fflur Roberts from The National Trust says the constant up-and-down of the marathon is what makes it so difficult.

"The race is run around the base of Snowdon," she said.

"It's reputed to be the toughest marathon in Europe and we do it to raise the profile of what we do in Snowdonia.

"The National Trust own 10 of the 14 peaks over 3,000ft in Snowdonia and we spend the money repairing footpaths, restoring buildings etc.

"They start at 300ft, they climb up to 1,100ft at Pen-y-Pass, they drop down to Beddgelert and then up to 1,200ft at Bwlch-y-Groes," she added.

Ms Roberts said The National Trust has "unlimited costs" and the money raised from the marathon helps their conservation work.

Last year 12,000 was raised.

Two years ago the race had to be cancelled for the first time in its history because of bad weather.

However, Ms Roberts said Sunday's marathon got underway as planned.

Many runners have travelled from across the world including 12 from Paris and a few from the United States.

The inaugural Snowdonia Marathon was held in 1982 and the winner is given a cup to keep for 12 months.

Plant clear up in Snowdonia
27 Sep 04  |  North West Wales
Trust aims to shed 'twee' image
17 Mar 04  |  North West Wales
Runners brave mountain race
26 Oct 03  |  North West Wales

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