Sunday, 4 November 2012

Ultra Brecon 40 & Brecon Beacon Trail Marathon - Winter Edition

Despite the colder, darker nights creeping up on us, we are delighted to say that all 150 places in The Ultra Brecon 40 filled up with several weeks to go. We have ticked a few boxes and decided that we can release a further 25 places on a first come first served basis, these are also going fast so if you are still debating then you need to make your mind up pretty sharpish, click here and get your entry in!

There are however plenty of spaces left for the brand new Brecon Beacon Trail Marathon which we will continue to offer as an option alongside the longer events for the 2013 race series.

The routes are now confirmed and the updated map complete with water stops can now be seen here. For those that have attended over the last few years please be aware that that there has been some changes to the route (and the start line) particularly nearer the beginning of the event. I’m sure you will be delighted to know that there will be even more climbing involved! With the extra climbing and an extra mile in distance the Winter 40 is now an official 2 point qualifier for the prestigious UTMB Alpine Ultra Marathon.

The Ultra Brecon 40 - Winter Edition Route:

The route is a single 41-ish and a bit mile lap which is pretty demanding both in terms of ascent / decent (over 2400 meters) and conditions under foot – especially soggy, steep and slippery in places! Weather will also play an important factor in how challenging the route on the day is.

There are with some ‘special sections’ with help from private landowners to make the route as entertaining as we can and still try to stick as close to 40 miles as we possibly can. To clarify, this isn’t intended as a navigational event, but the map will be useful to pace yourself, check out contours and work out your water strategy etc. There will be signs at strategic points i.e. junctions to help you on your way and as much as we can do to help you stay on the right route. We issue you with an A3 map printed on waterproof paper on the day.

Please don’t underestimate it! This route may not reach the same heights as our Summer Edition, but is still pretty ‘gnarly’ with plenty of ascent and descent and some slippery sections present in places - poles may be useful, for those that have some experience of using them but not essential. There are some exposed sections of hill which may produce some pretty testing times especially if the weather comes in. A few of those who came to our winter event 2 years ago probably won’t have forgotten it as the temperatures were about minus 12 on the start line and stayed well below zero all day! We‘re not sure at this stage what the weather conditions may do this time, but we will endeavour to keep you updated closer to the time with the relevant mountain forecasts.

Conditions underfoot could be soft and very muddy in places. (unless its frozen of course! ) Consequently footwear with decent grip should be high on your priority list along with everything else on the compulsory kit list as seen here. Inadequate clothing for the conditions is the main reason for the majority of retirements. Please note that the compulsory equipment is by no means an exhaustive list. Whilst you must abide by it, you also need to be confident that you have enough additional gear and food to match your ability.

The Brecon Beacon Trail Marathon Route:

The first 16 miles are identical to the Ultra Route where marathon runners will have a short road section before the return leg back through the Talybont forest. Further details may be seen here. As with the longer route, expect big hills, steep in places, slippery muddy conditions, fire road, small linking sections of tarmac, mud, rock … in fact just about anything!


There will be 7 manned checkpoints on route (4 for the Trail Marathon) of which all will have plain bottled water available in 2 litre bottles. The position of these checkpoints can be seen on the route maps. It will also be the case that the marshals at these checkpoints will need to record your number as you pass through. It is requested that you have your number clearly displayed at all times. If you do get asked for your number by a marshal, please don’t get ratty if you aren’t displaying it properly. This information is recorded for your split times and more importantly your safety on the hills. If you number is obscured as you don’t want to pin it on your jacket consider backpack or running tights instead. 

Please don’t make a number up (which has happened in our first event we hosted) as it gives the organisation team a massive headache!

It is up to individuals if they want to add their own hydration supplements to the water. Just to clarify; competitors must take care of their own food from the start. (water is available at all the checkpoints). This is not a supported event. Make sure you have enough food to last you the event – there are limited facilities anywhere on route and even with this in mind they might not be open when you get to them!

We can now confirm that the revised route qualifies for 2 points for the CCC / UTMB.

In addition we are delighted to announce that ‘Luffy’ will be demonstrating his culinary skills at the finish so its recommended that you have a few quid if you want to sample his menu. The Welsh Rarebit (not rabbit!) is highly regarded!

How to get here:

Post Code: LD3 7YP

We would be extremely grateful if you can register on the Friday night if at all possible. You can do this between 6pm and 9pm. If you are staying at the race HQ, don’t forget a decent sleeping bag or duvet though you’ll be pleased to know that the Talybont Outdoor Centre has great heating!


There is limited parking at the centre. There is additional plentiful parking available approx. 300 meters from the event centre up the road towards the village on the right hand side in the cattle market (look for signs). It is about a 5 min walk back to the centre. If you are staying at the centre, can we kindly ask you to drop you things off and move your vehicle up to the ‘official car park’ and not park on the pavements and /or in the road. This is to ensure that the Start area remains clear at all times and also to keep on the right side of the law who have always been very supportive of our events.

Friday November 30th: 6pm – 9pm at Talybont Outdoor Recreation Centre
Saturday December 1st: 6am – 7am at Talybont Outdoor Recreation Centre

It would help us and you enormously if you can register on the Friday night if at all possible. Please don’t turn up after 7am on the Saturday morning of the event as you will miss the start!

Registration will close at 7 am!

For registration you will need to complete 2 pieces of paperwork. Again it would be great if you can fill these out beforehand and bring them along to make things a bit slicker on the day.
  1. Entry Form -  here
  2. Ultra Brecon 40 - Winter Edition Compulsory Kit List Declaration - here
  3. Brecon Beacon Trail Marathon Compulsory Kit List Declaration - here
You will receive race numbers, pins and a map on waterproof paper (similar to what you see on the site) for checkpoint references etc. To clarify, this isn’t intended as a navigational event, but the map will be useful to pace yourself, check out contours and work out your water strategy etc.

Compulsory Kit:

This is for your own safety. In previous events the majority of retirements have been due to insufficient kit and cold / wet related conditions. Some of the route does include some remote and exposed mountainous sections.

The ability to keep warm and dry enough is more critical than ever on this round so please don’t over compromise in this department. This is clearly laid out on the kit list. Any questions or queries regarding kit, please ask sooner rather than later. It is highly likely that you will use your head torch at some point during this event. Whilst we deliberately don’t stipulate what kind of torch you need, it must be up to the task in hand particularly if you’re not a front runner you can expect to finish in the dark. We suggest that you get out with one in the next few weeks and make sure that you are happy with it. Don’t forget spare batteries!


The start will be at 7:30am for both the Ultra and the Marathon and at the back of the White Hart Pub at the end of Station Road about 10 - 15 minutes walk from registration. Please note that registration will close at 7:00am at the Centre.

Race briefing is at 7:20 am at the start line as above.

If you do decide to arrive on the Saturday morning please allow enough time to walk from parking to registration (5 mins) and then to the start at the back of the White Hart Pub (10 – 15 mins walk) from the centre.


This will be at the centre as in previous years. Be prepared for a final 100 meter ‘funnel’ to the balcony at the rear where you will be greeted by rapturous applause and a cup of tea and a biscuit if you look particularly green. 

Time Restraints & Retirements:

There is a 3:30pm cut-off time (24 miles in 8 hours) at Checkpoint 5 (Storey Arms) which must adhered to. If you arrive at CP 5 after this time you will be politely asked to retire.

After Checkpoint 5 competitors must complete the entire course by 9:30pm thus allowing a possible 14 hours to complete the event. If after this time the finish line isn’t in sight, we will politely ask you to retire.

If you do retire before completion of the event, please do so either at a checkpoint or inform us of your actions so that you can be accounted for.

Please, Please, Please, do not just disappear without notifying a member of the organisation of your actions as we assume that you are missing. 


As it’s a new course we’re not quite sure when the racing snakes might be in (probably about 2 pm - ish), but we would hope to announce the leading results at about 5pm at the event centre.

Food Before & After the race:

As we mentioned before we have ‘Luffy’s’ amazing cuisine available at the finish for a few quid which is highly recommended, especially the Welsh Rarebit.

Also, food at the White Hart Pub up the road is also excellent and very reasonably priced and tastes even better sitting next to the log fire with a local ale in hand. You may struggle though if you’re not there by 9:00pm.

For you own information ‘eating hours’ at the White Hart over the weekend are:

Friday 30th November 12pm to 9pm
Saturday 1st  December 11am to 9pm

Other things:

Top Training Tip: Do lots of hills, the steeper the better, and then do some more. Get used to walking on uneven surfaces with a bag on preferably in the rain! 

Do some training in the dark – Test your head torch.

Be prepared for hills, mud, snow, ice and anything else the Welsh Mountains decide to throw in (and then some more!).

If you need any further information or advice then please don’t hesitate to get in touch and we’ll do our very best to help you. (Please try and do this sooner rather than the days before as its always very busy getting ready for the big day),

Be nice to marshals (they have given up their valuable time to support you). If you do have any grievances then please take that up with the race organiser who will do his best to resolve any problems (Matt).

Remember to smile or at least grimace!

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