The hidden heart of trail running in Wales, by Rhys Jenkins
RHYS IS A SEASONED ULTRA MARATHON FANATIC HAVING SPENT THE LAST DECADE COMPILING AN IMPRESSIVE REPERTOIRE OF RACE COMPLETIONS. HE HAS SURVIVED THE EXTREME CONDITIONS OF ICELAND, TAMED THE SUFFOCATING HEAT OF DEATH VALLEY AND CROSSED THE USA. HE HAS COMPLETED MANY CHALLENGES INCLUDING THE BADWATER 135 MILE OFFICIAL RACE, THE CANALRACE C.I.C.’S 145 MILE GUCR, 145 MILE KACR AND 130 MILE LLRC CANALSLAM AND A 2,000 MILE RUN FROM BOSTON TO AUSTIN.
Check out the fantastic Pegasus Ultras here.
'For years I’ve heard people talk about the epic trails of Colorado, the stunning vistas of the Dolomites, the monster climbs in the Alps. If truth be told, we have all of this and much more, right on our doorstep.
Wales is fast becoming a Mecca for trail and ultra running. We have the golden coast of the South, the lost valleys of the heartlands and awe inspiring peaks of the North. For such a small country, we pack a big punch.
Here are my top 4 locations for trail and ultra running in Wales.
Black Mountains / Y Mynydd Du - often overshadowed by its busy neighbour - the Brecon Beacons, the Black Mountains offer up a refreshing alternative. Mountains like Waun Fach, Pen y Gadair and Penybegwn are easily accessible and surprisingly runnable, Gwryne Fawr Reservoir is a true highlight and if you don’t come across a pack of Wild Horses, I’d be very surprised.
If you are in search of a new place to explore, then the Black’s would tick all those boxes and more.
Llyn Peninsula - stretching out into the Irish Sea, the Llyn Peninsula is blessed with some of the best views in Wales. The cliffs raw out of the water without mercy and the trails dance along the coast without question.
If you are on the lookout for a rollercoaster of a run then the Llyn is for you.
Ceredigion Coast Path - Sometimes ignored because it isn’t a national park, the Ceredigion Coast is a sleeping giant. Heritage coastline and well marked trails, really allow for a true modern day adventure. On a clear day, be sure to take a moment, turn right and you will see the north, turn left and the south will be waving back at you.
If you want a rugged alternative to the famous PCP, the Ceredigion Coast path is yours for the taking.
Beacons Way - with all the trails knocking around the Beacons, you’d be forgiven for not knowing about the Beacons Ways. Traversing 98 miles of the golden trails and mountains of the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons, this trail is a step back in time. From Abergavenny in the East to Llangadog in the west, this protected landscape will live long in the memory (and feet).
If you want a bucket list item to explore, then the Beacons Way is up there.
All of these locations and trails are easily accessible, with a little bit of planning involved if you want the real experience.
Best wishes, happy running and see you on a trail in the not so distant future!’
Any questions or issues then please get in touch.