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Vale of Glamorgan Coastal Ultra Challenge

06-Apr-2019 Penarth, UK (Wales)


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Trail Race Race Terrain
48KM / 30Miles
1 Day - 200 Runners

Alternate Distances: 29KM/18M

DIFFICULTY Race Difficulty Intermediate  

Entry From £30 GBP

The Vale Of Glamorgan Coastal Ultra challenge is to complete a 30 mile linear route along the entire coast of the Vale of Glamorgan. It is suitable for both runners and fast walkers. There is also a short course option of 18.5 miles taking in the second half of the route.

The Route

From here the route follows the Wales Coastal Path, almost entirely on trail.  It hugs the clifftop passing numerous hiden and rugged bays all the way to the splendid beachside resort of Ogmore-by-sea. The route itself passes 19 beaches, with the final 14 miles travelling along the Glamorgan Heritage Coast with its dramatic cliffs, amazing rock formations, romantic coves and rolling countryside.

The short course option of 18.5miles starts at 1030 from Porthkerry Park.  It joins the ultra course and following along the Wales Coastal Path.


The route follows the marked Wales Coastal Path along the entire route. The Vale portion of the Wales Coastal Path is the closest to the sea and the route is very easy to follow. Whilst the route is self navigation, as long as you follow the clifftop and sign posts it is very simple. All of the route follows the coast and the paths are very well marked by Coastal Path signs. It is possible to navigate the route completely using these signs but all competitors will be provided with a marked map and detailed route explanations to help you find your way around the course. A gps file will also be available.


There will be 4 manned checkpoints (2 for the short course) which will provide refreshments, usually water, flat coke, tea & coffee, sweets, biscuits, crisps, nuts etc. Exact details of which will be sent out closer to the event.


As the route is linear you will need to either get dropped off and picked up or park your car at Ogmore-y-sea beach car park and catch one of the busses provided to the start of the event. The bus will leave Ogmore-by-sea at 06:30.  If you want to catch the bus you need to select this option when you sign up.

Time Limit

The time limit for the event is 10 hours (6pm) so it is suitable for anyone who can maintain a good running/walking pace of 3mph. The time limit for the half course is 7 1/2 hours so is suitable for anyone who can maintain 2.5mph!


There are two race distance options available for competitors. There is also the option of adding coach transport from the finish to the start.

Full (30 mile) Race only (£30)
Half (18.5mile) Race only (£24)
Coach Transport (£10)

You can select the appropriate options when you sign up to the event online.

What your entry fee includes

Professionally run event
Checkpoints with refreshments
Event T-shirt
Event Medal
Physiotherapy and First Aid Cover

We also organise:


Event Organiser
Joe Timmins



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 Vale of Glamorgan Coastal Ultra Challenge

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09:15 11-04-18

My legs are just getting over the 34 mile ultra I ran this last Saturday. Last October I joined my brother for a small part of the Gower 50 organised by the same group. I was so impressed by the volunteers, the route organised and the overall atmosphere that I just had to try one out for myself.

And so just over 6 months later I toed the line on Penarth pier in the rain with around 250 other runners and walkers keen to get going. From the beginning at Penarth pier (which is a fantastic starting line as you walk down one end of the pier and race down the other) the race makes its way round the coast through and round Barry Island. Whilst mostly on road for this section, it allows for a nice fast start to the race as your legs ease into the Ultra. A nice touch was the support from the Barry Island Park Run crew as the route takes you through their finish line. The support from the running community not even associated with the event was such a boost!

After Barry Island and the Knap, the other half of the Ultra gets going. The weather this year leading up to the race was rain, snow, rain and more rain. The organisers were fantastic with regular updates on email and social media in relation to the condition of the trail and therefore I knew in advance that aggressive trail shoes (read 'fell' shoes) were a must! And boy they were. From Porthkerry park onwards the route was either flooded (running round Aberthaw Power Station in water over your shoes was definitely unique!) or very very muddy and with some steep ups and downs so grippy shoes in those conditions was a must.

Fortunately my shoes made easy work of the route and the views over the Vale were stunning.

As the route progressed the aid stations became more frequent and had more in stock. I was so impressed with the thought into their placing. Less at the beginning (where you don't need cup of coke to get you through) and then more at the end to ensure I had just the right amount of caffeine, water and sugar to keep me going. The volunteers were amazing too. Always so friendly, helpful and encouraging. I'll never forget the words of one of the volunteers at Aberthaw Power Station, who, as I was commenting on the 18.5 mile runners who were now running past the Ultra runners and looked so fresh - and how I wished I was one of them - reminded me that I had already run more than 18.5 miles and was doing great! Off I went, still with tired legs, but a smile on my face.

The Vale of Glamorgan trail section has some incredible views as you hug the coastline and tests those tired legs as it repeatedly takes you from up on the coast, down on to a pebble stone beach and up again. Fortunately for us the weather cleared between Aberthaw and Barry and therefore got to enjoy some gorgeous views (rather than just fog and rain).

The final checkpoint is at Southerndown, which whilst it hits you first with a hill climb out of the beach, the reward is a 4-5k run down to the finish line. Its here that with the finish line in site, that I could put all the remaining energy - with the help of gravity - into my tired legs and really go for that finish line. Due to the popularity of the beach for walkers, it also meant there was plenty of people watching and cheering everyone as we came into the finish line.

Overall for someones first Ultra a fantastic event, organised by a group of people who clearly love running and putting on these events!

Already planning on registering for their Gower 50 in October! The changed route looks like it should be a great one!

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01:15 13-04-16

Registration was fairly straightforward (once you realised it was alphabetical by forename rather than surname!) .

The first mention of the lengthening of the course was in the pre-run brief (apparently the 2 extra miles were thrown in for free!).

The route was well marked through the "urban" bits (round Barry) and was then following the Coastal Path, and there was only one point where the path forked and myself and a fellow runner were unsure of the path to take, but luckily I had loaded the GPS file into my watch which pointed us true.

The feed stations were good, lots of support and cheer from the marshals, water and flat coke with sweet and savoury goodies to choose from.

It was a shame we couldn't get a hot drink at the start, but the café owners may well have decided that no one sane would be out in the morning rain!

The camaraderie of the fellow runners was brilliant, lots of praise from those doing the 18.5 miles for those doing the full ultra, and some kind souls also checked to see if I had enough water/gels/food as I was doing the long route and they were only doing the "short" route! Lots of chats with runners along the course, which is really great to help pass the time.

Quite a few hills on the second half, including the "V" shaped valley where most of us had to slide down on our behinds, but wonderful scenery in the second half. Obviously there's nothing wrong with the delights of Barry Island, nor the power station security fence, but the seascape vistas really came into their own later on.

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10:34 13-04-16

I'll start by saying the course was great! Once you got through Barry the views were lovely. The bad weather churned parts of the course up making the hills an extra difficult challenge on this particular day, but thats part of the experience! The support and well wishes you receive from all the support staff was excellent as ever too! However, having run the Gower Ultra with the same organisers last year i was looking forward to top notch organisation. Unfortunately, there were a few areas where this one was let down. Simple things like advertising before-hand that there was Hot Drinks to purchase at the start, which never materialised, and the promised 'Taste of Wales' hot food at the end was no-where to be seen, seemingly having left before all runners had finished. I also pre-ordered my t-shirt size and was told at the end that they had run out... just bizarre. Some of this is forgivable, however what really rocked the boat on the day was the addition of 2 extra miles to the route but no update to the cut-off times. For me and the small group of very concerned runners around me this caused much concern and pain as we hit checkpoint 3. While we were maintaining a steady 4mph average pace, a speed that should land us well inside the finishing times, we were really rocked when told at around the ~20mile point that we had only 1 hour to get to the next checkpoint 5.5miles away. Well, nothing unites an ultra running troop like a crisis! So myself and a number of others had to up our pace considerably for fear of being unexpectedly timed out of a race we all thought we were on track to complete, with a bit to spare. As we dragged ourselves to the next checkpoint (checkpoint 4), we were rightly put at ease that we were well within the cut off due to the 15 mins late start and the addition of 2 miles - relive and bitterness arrived at once! It really needs to be understood the mental strength required for some to complete an Ultra and i think the organisers need to really look at how they handle the information they give out to participants for next time. Having said all of that, i do believe in the Organiser and am hoping these were one-off hiccups, I hope they get stuff like this tightened up for next time!

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08:47 12-04-16

This was my first ultra and I loved it , helpful fellow runners who gave me plenty of hints and tips before and during the race as well as the volunteers at the checkpoints who were more than happy filling up my water and offering snacks and more encouragement, gorgeous scenery and a testing at times course , I'm glad my next ultra is again with the same organisers

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06:48 14-04-15

Fantastic event. I did the full 30 and really enjoyed it. Stunning scenery. Well organised with enthusiastic marshals who even arranged for the rain to stop and the sun to come out just as the gun went off. Fairly well signposted with official coastal path signs and some added event ones at the more tricky parts. There were a lot of styles and a few sets of steps making for a fair bit of climbing and a challenging run but definitely one to do.
Only downside was the really strong headwind that stayed with us for the whole race but that's Mother Nature's fault lol

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12:04 14-04-15

Great event. Did the 18.5 having done lots of trail events before and this was one of the best. Great course, good food at aid stations, great marshals and good value too.
Good have perhaps done with some salty things at the aid stations, but that's pretty much my only criticism!

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11:38 14-04-15

Awesome awesome awesome. I did the 18.5 as my first trail running event and now my only regret is that I didn't do the 30 mile race! Views amazing, signage easy to follow (we were also supplied with maps though didn't need them) and marshals/checkpoint supplies were great. There's a generous cutoff time so I didn't feel any pressure which was also a bonus. Thanks for a great race.

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10:44 14-04-15

Fantastic, scenic well organised event, but could I please request less of a headwind for next year! The race started on the wonderful Penarth Pier (pier of the year 2014), then a 4-5 pretty miles through Lavernock, Swanbridge and Sully followed by the only major road section to Barry Island. The final 20 miles were all undulating (steeply) trail via Porthkerry, Aberthaw, Llantwit and Sotherndown beaches finishing in Ogmore. Really well marshalled and well supported by organisers and walkers on the course. A couple of my friends walked it briskly and finished well within the cutoff time. I will definitely do it again next year, and hope to do the Run Walk Crawl Brecon to Cardiff Ultra in May.

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09:37 13-04-15

I ran the 30 mile ultra in 2015. The course was spectacular in terms of scenery - really beautiful, particularly once you left Barry, and had a whole variety of terrain. It seemed well organised (though I've never done an ultra before), the kit check seemed fairly relaxed and there was at least one point (just beyond Aberthaw) where the impossibility of putting signs on a beach meant that a marshall stationed on the beach might have been a good idea. However, a really good race, well organised.

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07:56 13-04-15

I ran the 30 mile ultra and really enjoyed it. Conditions were a bit tough with a strong head wind. The course was well marked with coastal sign's and where there was a chance of miss direction the organisers put thier own sign's out. The check points were well manned and had plenty to eat and drink. The last 10 miles were a lot more up and down than the first 20. Overall a very well organised race and the cut off times are very generous for people thinking of doing thier first ultra. I would recommend this if you like "undulating" trail running

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