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Runners with Benefits 23/02/2012

The connection between a new bouldering wall at a Llanberis primary school and the Snowdonia Marathon isn't an obvious one. But it was money donated from this iconic race that helped build it.

Last year the organisers behind the not-for-profit Marathon Eryri Cyf, gave 14000 from the event to local causes and the wider community. This is aside from the money spent by runners and supporters staying in the area over the weekend.

With the 2012 event filling up in record time and with a bigger field than ever before, race co-ordinator, Jayne Lloyd, is confident that the community is set to benefit again.

She said: "Our 2000 runner entry limit filled up in record time so we extended it to 2200 and this was reached in only a few days, so by Thursday this week we were full-up again. We can't safely go any higher without road closures."

Jayne added: "Without community there is no event. Being able to give something back is one of the most important aspects of my job. The money the race brings into the local economy is great but if people living here can benefit more widely it's even better."

"I don't feel entirely comfortable with event organisations outside of Wales using Snowdonia to stage events for financial gain without giving anything back."

Generally around a third runners who've entered the race don't turn up on the day. Organisers were concerned about this and for the first time last year, made it possible for runners to officially give their place to someone else.

Jayne explained: "It costs 28 to enter and each individual has access to their own on-line entry which they can change. From the local economy point of view we want the same number of runners turning up on the day that have entered, so we've created a Facebook page where runners can effectively 'advertise' their place if they can't make it, say because of injury in training. Otherwise they can contact me and I'll try and sort it out."

The marathon has steadily grown in popularity. This year is the 30th race although it's in its 31st year - it was once cancelled due to severe weather. In 2007, the entry limit was 1500 and in 2008 they stopped taking entries on the day.

Originally set-up by the National Trust, they organised the event until Marathon Eryri Cyf was formed and took over in 2007. The National Trust still supports the race and they receive a 4500 donation towards their conservation work in the region.

Jayne said: "The National Trust staff and around 150 volunteers that make the race happen work incredibly hard. First Hydro have been an important sponsor for many years."

The 2011 event won the accolade of the 2011 UK Marathon of the Year from top U.K. running magazine, Runner's World. This year's Marathon Eryri takes place on Saturday 27th October and prides itself on its 'green' credentials. The commemorative t-shirts given to runners are organic, finishers get a locally sourced slate coaster and supplies such as tea and coffee are Fairtrade, while competitors are encouraged to share transport.

A series of junior events will also be held on the day with free entry for Gwynedd residents and 2 to all others.

Topic: Snowdonia Marathon, Marathon Eryri, Running in Snowdonia.

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