Finlay Wild Breaks Records for Welsh 3000ers and Snowdon Horseshoe

Posted by Sarah Stirling on 17/05/2019
Finlay on Foel Fras. Photo: Joe Hester

This week Finlay Wild set a new record for the Welsh 3000ers - a record that hadn't been broken in 31 years. His time? 4:10:48. The previous record (4:19) was set by under-the-radar fell running hero, Colin Donnelly, in 1988. On the same trip Finlay also set a new record for the Snowdon Horseshoe - avoiding the queues by getting up at the crack of dawn and charging round in 1:20:16 armed with just a gel and a windshirt.

"He hit the thing hard..." Colin Donnelly's record run in 1985, which knocked 10 minutes off the great Joss Naylor's time, had become the stuff of Welsh legends - unbeatable for 31 years. Until now.

Finlay wrote on his blog: "For years I’d wanted to make time to get to know the hills of Snowdonia, having only been down a few times before to race or climb. I also wanted to have a go at the Snowdon Horseshoe record which seemed likely to present a good mix of scrambling and fast ridge running which I was bound to love."

WATCH: Welsh3000s - Colin Donnelly's World Record

Finlay had two surprises on his trip: catching the most unbelievably glorious weather in one of Britain's wettest places (Crib Goch sees 176mm of rainfall a year) and finding that Snowdon really is one of the world's busiest mountains (750,000 visitors a year) - even by 6am on his Saturday recce, the Pen y Pass car park was full. 

The 34-year-old Scot set off very early on Sunday to avoid the queues on Crib Goch, armed with just a gel, a windproof and a water bottle hidden on the descent:

"Skipping along that airy ridge in the early morning light surrounded by space and further off impressive rocky peaks which I would soon be atop focussed me on the pinpoint of the present."

The record for the Snowdon Horseshoe was previously held by local hardman Gareth Wyn Hughes (see Instagram account of beautiful Snowdonia running images here), who set a record of 1:23:48 in September last year.

WATCH Britain's Mountain Challenges: Crib Goch scrambling on BMC TV

Finlay's background and achievements

Finlay is a mountaineer and ski mountaineer as well as a trail runner, who rose to prominence when he won the prestigious Ben Nevis Race in 2010 - a feat that he has now repeated to a tally of nine victories. The son of a mountain guide and an accomplished fell runner, he grew up with the Highlands as his backyard and now works as a GP in Locaber.

In 2013, Finlay broke the record for the Cuillin Ridge traverse, whipping along it in 2:59:22 - a record which is yet to be broken.

WATCH: Finlay Wild runs a sub-three-hour Cuillin Ridge Traverse in summer

In 2015, Finlay won the British Fell Running Championships but 2016 was the year that he really began to stand out: coming third in the Extreme section of the Skyrunner World Series, breaking the record for the Tranter Round and, along with Tim Gomersall, making the fastest-known winter crossing of the Cuillin Ridge - see our interview with Tim about that here. Their record was broken by Uisdean Hawthorn on a solo crossing in 2018 - see our interview with Uisdean here.

Multi-talented Wild was also the Scottish Skimo series winner in both 2014/2015 and 2015/2016, and the British ski mountaineering champ in 2016.

As if he wasn't talented enough, Wild is also an artist - some of his stylised, bold and bright acrylic paintings were displayed at the John Muir Trust's Wild Space Gallery in Pitlochry in 2016. His subject matter? His favourite wild places of course.

It's all going on in Wales...

Nicky Spinks is currently attemtping a Double Paddy Buckley round. We'll have a news item on that soon and you can follow her progress here:


Further reading

More about Finlay on his blog

Check out Finlay's Strava profile

Read Callum Muskett's 2014 interview with Colin Donnelly


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