Written by Marcin Krzysztofik - http://wolnybiegacz.pl

V3K (Vegan 3000 Ultra) is a mountain ultramarathon that I heard of for the first time about 2 years ago. Of course I got really keen to run it one day. Before I dive into the report, I can disclose that I finished the race. My result isn’t overly impressive, but I’m satisfied with my performance, considering this was my first such a highly technical race and the first ‘skyrace’ I took part in. My aim had been to finish the race, hopefully in a reasonable time somewhere around the middle of the pack. On top of that I had counted on beautiful views and had been excited to see parts of Snowdonia I’d never seen before.

Skyrunning

Skyrunning is a term for a specific kind of running events. These are generally mountain races with a lot of vertical gain proportionally to the race distance. Skyrunning encompasses a few categories: Sky (races up to 50k long), Ultra (races longer than 50k), Vertical (1000 metres of altitude gain) and Extreme (just hardcore 😊). Skyrunning originates from the Dolomites in Italy and over the years has become extremely popular, among others in countries such as USAUK or Poland.

V3K Ultra

V3K Ultra is the first race of Skyrunner UK National Series. V3K stands for Vegan 3,000s. Vegan, because the organiser is vegan and all participants of the race have to adhere to a vegan diet throughout the race. 3,000s, because the race route winds through Snowdonia and takes in all 15 Welsh summits over 3,000 feet tall. More on what these summits are can be found on Wikipedia. All of them are located in the beautiful Snowdonia National Park. The race is 54k long, while the sum of all ascents is over 4,000 metres, so considerable altitude gain. To make matters more interesting, there is a little bit of exposure and scrambling involved, so those with fear of heights might give this race a pass.

The day before

Together with my family we left Oxford on Friday morning (23rd June) and in the afternoon arrived at the event base in Tal-y-bont, just outside of Bangor. At 7 PM the race registration started. Before I started queuing to register I had met some friends: Maciek, Andrzej and Mariusz, whom I know from some previous races. Andrzej and Mariusz had ambitious plans to score high and finish under 10 hours. Maciek, similarly to me, pretty much just wanted to finish the race.

Maciek and I waiting to register

Once we collected our race packs we enjoyed some nice vegan carbo-loading to make sure we have enough calories to burn the next day. Then, just past 8 PM the race director welcomed everyone and delivered her race briefing, pointing out where to be especially careful, where not to cut short etc. After the briefing we went to our nearby Bed & Breakfast. I packed my race vest, prepared my clothes and went to sleep to get at least 4-5 hours of rest.

Start

The alarm rang at 3:30 AM (!). I ate some porridge and a banana, drank some tea, got dressed and just before 4 AM sat in a coach that was about to take all the runners to the race start in Nant Gwynant on the other side of the mountains. It took us about 40 minutes to get there. Then we experienced an onslaught of midges. I haven’t been exposed to them for quite a few years so I forgot how annoying they are. They quickly reminded me! I carried the bite signs with me even over a week after the race!

On the way to Nant Gwynant

Inspired by Andrzej’s and Mariusz’s plan I thought I’d give it a try too and stay not far behind them. To achieve that I made it to the start line and settled just a couple of metres behind them. At 5 AM 150 or so people set off!

Part 1: Snowdon

The race starts on a gently rising path which turns later into a tiresome climb up to the top of Snowdon. Over 900 metres of altitude gain, so no minor feat.

For the first few minutes I kept up with the front runners, but it didn’t take much time for me to realise that if I continued to maintain this pace I would be gone. Out of my league…

Snowdon conquered!

I continued at my own, slower pace, mainly walking uphill and letting others overtake me. After 1.5 hour from start I summitted Snowdon. From there a short and pleasant downhill run followed. Then a short uphill and summit no. 2, Garnedd Ugain was ticked off. Afterwards I enjoyed the most exciting part of the course: the knife-edged arete of Crib Goch, summit no. 3. Unfortunately, the rocks there made me realise that my Salomon XA Pro 3D shoes were inadequate for the terrain as they had no grip on the rocks. As a result of that I had to be extra careful and frustratingly slow; many runners overtook me on this stretch.

Crib Goch

Shortly the descent from Crib Goch started. On a scree slope Maciek appeared and quickly passed me and got out of sight: clearly, he was handling descents better than I was. With the scree out of the way I continued descending along a picturesque valley until I finally reached the A4086 road. After 2 km or so along the road I reached the first feed station where I replenished my water supplies, ate something and promptly continued.

Part 2: Glyderau

On the arduous climb to Elidir Fawr, summit no. 4 I caught up with Maciek and since then we stayed together for most of the race. With Elidir Fawr bagged we stayed on high ground, always above 700 metres above sea level. With a mix of walking and running we continued checking off summits 5, 6 and 7: Y Garn, Glyder Fawr and Glyder Fach.

Probably descending Glyder Fach

After a steep descent from Glyder Fach we scrambled atop Tryfan, the 8th summit. Another slow and rocky descent followed, this time down into the valley and the A5 road. Maciek reached the road a few minutes ahead of me, but I kept him in sight when we run along the A5 for a short while. We soon reached the second feed station where I arrived 3 minutes after him.

With Tryfan presumably in the background (in the clouds)

At the lavish feed station I ate/drank some soup and drank a cup of invigorating coffee. I ate a few roast potatoes and some sandwich as I was very keen to break the sweet taste of gels and bars. At this stage I felt pretty exhausted and my legs and back were sore, but on the other hand I was glad that ‘just’ one, last part remained.

Part 3: Carneddau

Maciek lingered on at the feed station while I set off, being sure that he will catch up with me later. This part begun, similarly to the two previous parts, with a long climb up to the high ground, concluded with peak no. 9: Pen yr Ole Wen. Similarly to the Glyderau section now followed a bit of a flat, or gradually descending terrain suitable for running.

Summitting Carnedd Dafydd (I think)

Having bagged Carnedd Dafydd (summit no. 10) I could enjoy a fair bit of running until I reached Yr Elen (no. 11). At the following ascent Maciek caught up with me and together we bagged peak no. 12: Carnedd Llewelyn. A gradual and runnable descent followed by a short ascent and Foel Grach (no. 13) was ours. Then another runnable descent, short ascent and Carnedd Gwenlian (no. 14) was ticked off. Shortly thereafter, maintaining a nice pace, we bagged the last summit: Foel-fras.

Enjoying the last descent

What was left was just a few miles of gentle downhill to the finish. Most of it was either a grassy slope, or a runnable path, so we pushed on as hard as sore legs allowed. We had a chance to finish under 12-hours, so every second mattered. This really kept me going. Admittedly, the fact that we overtook 3 runners on the last descent was also quite motivating.

Finish

After the last grassy bit we were left with a final stretch of a minor road. We made it across the finish line 3 minutes or so before our self-imposed target of 12-hours! At this point I really need to thank for Maciek for sticking together with me on the final descent. He was clearly capable of running faster and finishing a few minutes ahead of me, but decided to cross the finish line together as we did most of the day’s running and walking together. We finished at 82nd place out of 149 finishers, the last of whom needed just over 17 hours.

Here we are about to cross the finish line!

At the finish line my wife awaited with the camera ready to immortalise our finish. Andrzej and Mariusz were also waiting there. They had a brilliant run, finishing together in around 9 hours at a top 20 position. Respect! Even greater congratulations to their friend Jarek, whom I just met there. He finished as the 6th runner in 8 hours and 34 minutes! The winner needed just 7 hours and 25 minutes… incredible!

Post-race rehydration begins under the watchful eye of my faithful fan 🙂

After the finish and when I settled down I really started to feel how exhausted I was. I was drained, sore and could hardly force the delicious vegan food into me. Luckily, at our B&B accommodation we had a bathtub to our disposal, so I could take a hot and relaxing bath to regenerate a bit. I got so relaxed that I actually felt asleep for 15 minutes or so while there 😊

The Polish crowd at V3K!

Summary

After my good results in April’s Harpagan (6th place, race report here) and May’s Kierat (37th place, race report here) the reality hit me hard and showed that I’m no good in skyraces. I’d need way more training, especially hill training, to improve. Despite that, I’m really glad that I completed the whole course in reasonable time and without any injuries. Interestingly, on Saturday, a few hours after the race I felt quite good. On Sunday I was sore but it was rather fine. However, on Monday and Tuesday DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) hit me with a brutal force! I could hardly walk, not to mention sit. Suprisingly, not only my legs were painful, but also arms and shoulders. It does actually make sense if you think of it, considering all the scrambling when I heavily relied on my arms or descended on all fours.

New trophies to my collection: a coaster and an edible, already devoured, medal

I very much recommend V3K as a race worth running. It has a great atmosphere. Unlike many other races it doesn’t seem to be very commercialised and you can sense the organisers’ and runners’ passion of mountain running. Combined with a great setting in beautiful Snowdonia and a demanding, technical race, V3K offers a memorable experience.

The race route
The altitude profile. Height in metres, length in kilometres

All the best,

Marcin

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
Prev Next

South Downs Way 100 - Martin Bell

South Downs Way 100 - Martin Bell

Written by Martin Bell - https://thedeterminedrunner.wordpress.com Well where to start? Chris, John & myself were all to make the journey down south from Aviemore to take on our 1st 100 miler in...

Read more

2018 Hardmoors 60 and Subsequent Finding…

2018 Hardmoors 60 and Subsequent Findings

Written by James Campbell - https://jamescampbell78.wordpress.com Background My 2018 Hardmoors 60 Race Report is conspicuous by its absence from these pages. Usually, it’s a case of “James runs a race, race report appears...

Read more

2018 Hardmoors 110

2018 Hardmoors 110

Written by James Campbell - https://jamescampbell78.wordpress.com I came into the third race of the Hardmoors Superslam feeling really strong, which in a way is a good thing since it involved running further...

Read more

2018 Hardmoors 30 Race Report

2018 Hardmoors 30 Race Report

Written by James Campbell - https://jamescampbell78.wordpress.com It’s genuinely scary how quickly this race seems to have come around.  It feels like only a couple of weeks ago that I was embarking on...

Read more

Robin Hood 100 - 2018 ‘The Road To Spart…

Robin Hood 100 - 2018 ‘The Road To Sparta’

Written by Andy Day I’ve done a few of Hobo Pace events before & I’ve got to know the organiser Ronnie. He’s a genuine guy with a clear passion for running...

Read more

361˚ Sensation 3 Shoe Review

361˚ Sensation 3 Shoe Review

Written by Sim Benson www.jenandsimbenson.co.uk Price: £119.99 Weight per shoe: men’s UK11 335g women’s UK6.5 265g Find out more www.361europe.com/en Overview: The Sensation 3 is designed as a high mileage trainer with a good blend...

Read more

Don’t Stop Me Now: My Grand Slam Finish …

Don’t Stop Me Now: My Grand Slam Finish at Wasatch

Written by Katrin Silva - http://runkat.com “Hug me. Time to get comfortable getting uncomfortable.” My favorite aid station sign, and sound advice for finishing Wasatch The Wasatch 100 is the last race of...

Read more

La Sportiva Grand Tour of Skiddaw

La Sportiva Grand Tour of Skiddaw

Written by Richard Stillion - https://richyla.wordpress.com Pure Outdoors Events 1st September 2018 http://www.pureoutdoorsevents.co.uk/index.php/the-grand-tour-of-skiddaw Race Director Gaynor Prior Event HQ Chris Preston Event Manager Clare Shannon Race Winners: Andy Swift 6.35.40 and Sabrina Verjee 8.07.00 1976 – the drought year!  That was...

Read more

a long mARCh

a long mARCh

Written by Richard Stillion - https://richyla.wordpress.com Mud Crew Arc of Attrition http://mudcrew.co.uk/event/the-arc-of-attrition/ RD Andrew Ferguson 1st Female   Maryann Devally 32.26.32 1st Male       Steven Wyatt 23.44.18 *Some photos were taken in situ, some in more clement weather. Short version:  Up.  Down. Bog...

Read more

Mozart 100 - Ross Hay

Mozart 100 - Ross Hay

Written by Ross Hay Last weekend at 5am in the morning I was at the start line of the Mozart 100. How did I end up here for my longest race...

Read more

Liverpool to Leeds Canal Race – 130 mile…

Liverpool to Leeds Canal Race – 130 miles – 2018 and thoughts on the Canalslam

Written by Phil Bradburn - https://untrainingultrarunner.com This was the final race in the Canal Slam series – which includes the legendary Grand Union Canal race and the Kennet & Avon Canal Race – which are both...

Read more

The 2018 Kennet and Avon Canal Race 145 …

The 2018 Kennet and Avon Canal Race 145 miles

Written by Phil Bradburn - https://untrainingultrarunner.com With 7 weeks between Grand Union Canal Race and the second race in the Canalslam series – Kennet and Avon Canal Race – it was always...

Read more

Race Report: Jurassic Coast 100 Miler

Race Report: Jurassic Coast 100 Miler

Written by Jamie Chaffey - https://mountaintrailrunning.com The Jurassic Coast 100 follows the historic clifftop trails along England’s southwest coast. I’m in the process of accumulating points to eventually enter the UTMB one year...

Read more

SOUTH DOWNS WAY 100 – RACE REPORT

SOUTH DOWNS WAY 100 – RACE REPORT

Written by Luke Latimer - https://jurarunner.com I was expecting to find you hunched over your poles, headphones in, grinding through the dark miles with gritted teeth. Are you sure you’ve just run 85...

Read more

Spartathlon 2018

Spartathlon 2018

Written by Will Rivera - https://willrivera-ultra.tumblr.com “Pushing your body past what you thought it was capable of is easy; the hard part is pushing yourself even further … past what your mind...

Read more

The Arc of Attrition 2018

The Arc of Attrition 2018

Written by Jean Baptiste Rouvelin - http://jbrouvelin.blogspot.com Kit checked and got my number Well, where to start.  The Arc of Attrition is a point to point race which forms an arc following the South...

Read more

Love and Hate on the Lavaredo Ultra Trai…

Love and Hate on the Lavaredo Ultra Trail

Written by Tom Wright - http://life.tomwright.me.uk No medal, no finishers photo but I did complete the Lavaredo Ultra Trail. No really I did… I have my coveted bin bag to prove it!  (Note Lavaredo has a...

Read more

MB90k 2018

MB90k 2018

Written by Paul Baldwin - http://pbracereports.blogspot.com Let’s start with the finish I finished the 90km du Mont Blanc in 22 hours and 29 minutes, ranking 564th out of 1,142 entrants (49th percentile), and...

Read more

Share This

Follow Us