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Brecon Beacons Ultra Marathon (Beacons Ultra)

14-Nov-2020 Talybont, UK (Wales)


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Trail Race Race Terrain
75KM / 47Miles
1 Day - 150-200 Runners

DIFFICULTY Race Difficulty Advanced  

The Brecon Beacons Ultra Marathon starts at 7.30am and heads out along the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal before turning off to the Beacons and Talybont forest. It has a limit of 300 runners who will be able to register on Friday evening or early Saturday morning. Entry to this event includes a technical t-shirt, goodie bag, various prizes and a personalised race number.

The route is easy to navigate and marshalled, and there are checkpoints and medical support for all participants. The Talybont checkpoint will be in place for runners wishing to attempt a second loop and for this the cut off is 2.30pm. The race must be completed by 10.30pm.

There is a mandatory kit requirement and there will be random checks before, during and after the race starts. There are no refunds but it is possible to transfer entry to another runner.


Event Organiser
Jonny Davies



Elevation: Very little change < 500 metres. Benign running terrain, not technical.

Suitable for: First ultra runners completing a marathon or doing regular long distance running in the last six months.


Elevation: Increase of up to 1000 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed at least one ultra distance race (or similar event) or are doing long distance running (>26 miles) regularly, with elevation shown.


Elevation: Increase of up to 1500 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed several ultra distances or similar events, or are doing long distance running regularly, with elevation shown.


Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with some challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity or heat) and or technical terrain

Suitable for: Experienced runners who have completed at least regular ultra distances in last 12 months, or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races may be subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements.


Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with very challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity, heat or at high altitude) and or technical terrain.

Suitable for: Very experienced long distance ultra runners (min 3 years’ experience) or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races is often subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Purchase of specialist kit is often recommended for these races.

Endurance - Multi-activity

Type: An ultra distance race including at least two of the following activities such as running, swimming, cycling, kayaking, skiing and climbing. It may also include different climatic conditions (eg ice, snow, humidity, cold water, mud or heat).

Suitable for: Experienced multi-skilled athletes who have trained for the different activities included in this event. Admission to these races may be subject to receipt of a recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements and any specialist equipment required such as a wetsuit, skis or a mountain bike.

Global - Virtual

Type: A virtual race which can be run at any time shown on the dates shown, on any type of terrain in any country.

Suitable for: For runners from beginners to experienced as you choose your own course and challenge based on the guidelines and options set by the virtual race organiser.

Review Brecon Beacons Ultra Marathon (Beacons Ultra)

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Joely P

07:23 19-09-18

Top race, great aid stations and well organized. Some tricky hills and great scenery. Usually don't like lapped events, but this one was great. Will hopefully get the chance to do it again!

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05:02 15-01-18

2017 - This race delivers a great bang for your buck. A well organised, solid hill event. Being two laps is not as bad as you might think, so don't let that put you off. The Beacons offer super scenery, with long steady climbs and descents, a variety of landscapes and terrain.

I will no doubt be doing this event again, and would recommend it to runners of all levels.

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09:07 17-12-17

I was a little apprehensive going into this race. However I was very pleasantly surprised in many ways. Firstly the organisation of the event getting their parking up being briefed all seemed to go very smoothly from them, we were not organised.
Secondly and for me the biggest factor was the marshals, i have great respect for anyone who gives up their Saturday to help other achieve their running goals or whatever. But the conditions that day were not pleasant but the marshals were helpful kinds and encouraging. The scenery was amazing, the route fun but not too difercalt and atmosphere fun and friendly and serious all at the same time.
I will defiantly be back and would highly recommend this event to beginners and experienced runners alike.

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10:49 22-11-17

2017 Brecon Ultra - Was actually my first ultra, ever. Some thought it was a strange choice (not picking somewhere flatter) but I'd been to Brecon a few times and knew it would be a challenging but rewarding day out. I turned up early on the Saturday and made my way to the hall in-order to check in. The atmosphere was relaxed, the staff were very friendly and issued my number and tracker with minimal fuss. The rest of the runners stood around chatting or packing kit whilst I took longer than necessary to decide where to pin my race number. We had a quick chat/race brief then we were off to the start line. The day starts with a nice, flat run along the canal to warm up. Then its up into the the hills for some fairly decent climbs and a view of the Welsh countryside. From then on it was a mix of undulating tracks, paths and trails but no more punishing climbs which I was slightly disappointed about. Finishing the first loop of 23 miles gives you the chance to have a quick rest and a much needed coffee, before heading out for round 2. Checkpoints were manned by extremely friendly marshals who provided some delicious cake and treats + some good chat. Overall its was an enjoyable and interesting route which keeps you focused the whole way round. As soon as I'd finished I started thinking about which ultra to go for next. Even potentially considering signing up for next years Brecon 100....

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05:23 21-11-17

Had a great day. First proper ultra that was not chasing the corporate crowd. Totally under prepared due to injury. Longest run since September was one 17km run. No hill training what so ever. Decided at the last moment to use poles for the first time ever. First lap was tough but ok, ran the runable sections and used the poles on both the climbs and flatish sections. Came in 4:45 and was happy. Second lap started fine but at the top of the first big climb my legs decided to stop working on the decent. Took 21 minutes to get down. Was going to give in but wife on phone told me to walk. So walk I did and still seemed to pass people, especially with my poles. Then due to the cold my Raynauds kicked in and lost feeling in my fingers. Aid stations were great, they filled my drinks and feed me as my hands were useless. Still managed to hold onto poles with thumbs and straps. At the Gap I decided it was time for the headlamp as it was dark. Headlamp was crap and the descent was ‘interesting’. Nearly fell over numerous times but poles saved me. The last km’s on the roads and canal were uneventful parts but seemed to drag. Completed second lap in 7:03 for a time of 11:49. Chuffed. To finish off the day my car broke down on the way home and had to wait over an hour to be towed home. Still had time for beer and a bath. Great day and next year I will be prepared. Learnt so much and the organizers, volunteers were kind, supportive and patient. Still smiling thinking what an idiot I was.

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11:11 16-11-17

Strangely loved it. Cold, stormy, and really, really long.

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02:58 08-03-17

Low key but well organised event. Easy to navigate with one particularly nasty climb, which you have to do twice, and some technical quad burning descents. Aid stations were basic but a good fun, well organised event.

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10:03 22-11-16

Taking place in November, this event is two laps of 23miles of mixed terrain around the hills (or mountains depending on your view point) of the stunning Brecon Beacons. The route is marshalled, signed and easy to navigate with generous cut off times. You’ll encounter flat canal tow path, steep arduous inclines, forest fire trails, hard packed gradual ascents, gnarly bolder strewn descents, a sprinkle of road and if it’s a clear day, spectacular views. Aside from a very steep long incline the whole route is runnable in case you’re chasing a fast time and if you’re tackling this as a first time challenge then none of the terrain is sketchy enough to scare you away. Each lap totals nearly 3000ft ascent. The main bulk of the ascent is covered off in the first half of the lap with a very steep climb after the first few miles. The second half of the loop features a long quad cooking descent. Aid stations are evenly spaced and provide a selection of hot / cold drinks and snacks. However, this is a self-sufficient race so take what you need and don’t rely on the aid stations for anything other water. The weather can be varied, 2016 started in crisp sunshine and ending with heavy snow. Expect to need to carry comprehensive compulsory kit. You won’t be allowed to run this race ‘naked’.

This is a friendly, well organised, relatively low key event so don’t expect a ‘race village’. Registration is quick and simple with two options on offer (day before or morning of the event).

Add this to your ultra-running calendar, you won’t be disappointed.

(i knocked off a point for 'Course Uniquness' simply due to the lapped nature of the course - dont let that put you off).

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12:26 28-11-15

The race started with the typical hustle and bustle, the tangible nervous excitement growing by the second, as we all make our final adjustments and ready ourselves on the start that is a single track beside the Brecon canal. Everybody was suited and booted for the wonderful Welsh weather which as you would expect, delivered... by delivered I mean 40+ winds at lower levels peaking up to 80 mph on the higher elevations of the course.

After almost exactly 3 easy miles along the canal, just about perfect to get warmed up before getting your teeth stuck in, you come to the foot of the beast, Tor-Y-Foel, which may only be about 550 to 500m high is equivalent to doing Pen-Y-Fan from Storey Arms as most people do, Pen-Y-Fan is the highest peak in the Beacons but the car park is around the 350m mark so the first climb of the race is a decent slop, unlike the popular routes up Pen-Y-Fan this route had no defined path and is rather tough going as it is almost straight up, there is a few small level sections after a couple of teasing false summits which while not much of an issue in your first 4 miles into the race but when on your second lap can be quite demoralising, this course is 2 laps of a 23 mile route so you start and finish and pass mid race at the same point, anyway in the second loop which is far more interesting, the hill becomes a brutal slog just due to the lack of respite from climbing, but the weather struck around this time and it was severely cold, a wind chill of about -5 and was a strain just to remain vertical, it was sufficiently bad for me the runner to feel sorry for those on the mountain check point in their tent who looked like they had been having a hell of a time and were huddled inside their tent which they had to hold from within to prevent it from blowing away and I honestly expected it to do so, the top of the tent was flapping like a demented ghost and I was waiting for the moment it tore away from its base and disappeared into the mist... despite this they came out to great me, although their encouraging words got carried away into the abyss, their offerings of jelly babies didn't need any words and I quickly scoffed a few.

Feeling very cold and not able to move fast enough to create heat, I was really looking forward to running down this mountain which is also steep but I soon discovered this wasn't going to be happening, it was like ice, the grass was swimming in water and despite my Inov8 Talons chunky tread I couldn't get sufficient purchase to safely run with pace. I was at least looking forward to an easier time going down compared to the slop up... I was so wrong, the wind was riding up the side of the mountain that we were running down and created a situation that almost defied gravity, I was creating sufficient resistance for the wind to make it almost impossible to make downwards and forward moment so instead I resorted to lunging wildly into the air, and kind of leaping my way down the mountain having to rely on my body weight to penetrate the barrage. From there you hit some flooded gnarly sections that were petty entertaining to navigate.

Followed by a badly eroded and steep path down to a stream crossing and up the more eroded and rocky path on the other side, while usually I don't think twice about this I paused at reaching the stream in slight bafflement in regards crossing the now raging torrent, then on to is normally a rocky but fairly easy climb along the roman road up to the windy gap but a mixture of fatigue and the conditions made it feel like quite a struggle up to the gap but I didn't mind recovering a little year as I like to descend like a demon and it was pretty much downhill from there.

Started doing some mental calculations here to see if I could beat my previous time here of 8 hours, it would have been possible if not for the weather and the fact I pushed it a little too hard in the first lap and had needed a long time to recover from it; I decided it was possible but it was going to require a bit of a mental beasting so I gave myself a good talking to and started off like a madman down the severely rocky path on the north side of the windy gap, passing a few who has over taken me on the climb up to the gap I felt confident with my current second wind and downhill sections, however I soon discovered this year I wasn't going to be able to smash that downhill section with the same vigour as while it is downhill it is very rocky which usually I enjoy and can still move with pace over but the rocks were hidden from view by about 6 inches of rainwater and I wasn't able to maintain good foot placement and the odd stabbing pain in my Achilles as my poor feet were twisted in all directions as if the mountain enjoyed torturing me. I conceded and while still managing in the region of 9 to 9.5 minutes miles I had to slow down from my target pace, and the flooded conditions persisted for intermittently for most of 5 miles which didn't just slow me down but chilled me pretty good too. Finally I was massively relieved to hit the canal path without having gotten lost like last year and made my best effort to get in as quickly along about 2 or 3 miles of canal path.

Usually the views here are amazing, the reservoirs and infamous peaks, but today the beauty was of a different kind, as the peaks were coated in clouds, mist and obscured by the rain. While the race really beat me up a bit as I pushed to beat 8 hours in such weather and terrain, I felt pretty low on times and considered dropping out but at the end of it, I bloody loved it, the weather added to the excitement of the race and the challenge and I reminded myself that if you don't question why the hell you got yourself into this then what ever you are doing is not sufficiently challenging and I will no doubt return for a third time as it was thoroughly enjoyable, a great route and wonderful support staff and race hosts, by the way I managed 8 hours 20, while not beating 8 in those conditions I was pretty chuffed.

I would like to add, don't under estimate this route if you do it, especially if the weather is bad, I almost chose less kit thinking I would be fine, in the end I took more than I would have wanted to considering the weather but it saved me, I was severely cold and for the first time in my life and all my experience of running in the Beacons I had to put on all of my kit, waterproof over trousers, jumper, waterproof jacket and a woolly hat, I have never used such a hat or jumper as I usually find it easy to keep warm, without them I would have definitely been in danger and in fact I would have dropped out, it was so cold and wet that I was struggling in my usual running kit and it was my extra layers that allowed me to continue.

I apologise for the length of post but for someone unsure about entering the detail can sometimes help make you decide

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10:51 19-11-15

If your looking for a race that has every type of challenging terrain, steep inclines, rocky descents, muddy river beds, forest trails and roads, canal paths and field crossings look no further. With its beautiful views and extremely friendly atmosphere this race is a must. Which is why I have been back every year since a its inception in 2008. Every year the weather also makes the course challenging in a charity of ways from reasonable warm and dry to ankle deep in water and -8. Just try it and you'll be hooked.

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