Ultra marathon from Brecon to Cardiff goes ahead despite Storm Ciara

While the rest of us were closing our windows and putting the kettle on, there were some people who remained undeterred by the wind and rain this weekend.

Group of runners preparing for the ultra marathon
Hundreds of runners braved the storm. Cc: @david_jasper.

A forty-three-mile ‘ultra marathon’ went ahead on Sunday after six months of planning, with roughly half of the six hundred who registered in the first place taking part amidst the challenge posed by Storm Ciara.

David, 37, who works in insurance, finished the run in roughly eight hours. Giving up never crossed his mind, nor was not attending ever an option for him.

“Because it’s an ultra marathon, it’s a little bit different. The people that tend to do that are a little bit, er, a bit more robust, a bit more resilient than the average person so they’re happy to take it on.”

The route of the ultra marathon took those running all the way from Brecon to the edge of Cardiff. Although the route was altered slightly at the last moment, participants ran a little over forty-three miles in total.

Participants were notified a few days in advance that the ultra marathon would not be cancelled or postponed, though this clearly represented an additional incentive for some. Other nearby runs originally intended for the weekend had already been called off, including the Llanelli half-marathon.

After some running seven miles along a canal, the event quickly transitioned into running up to the top of a mountain in the middle of the Brecon Beacons.

Runners going up a mountain path
The route took David up the steep inclines of Brecon’s peaks. Cc: @david_jasper.

 “I was thinking at the time, how bad would it have had to be to actually cancel the whole thing, because the wind and rain was just, you couldn’t run in it, you were just walking, head down. I saw someone at the start of it with goggles on. At the top, I was like, well, I could do with goggles now because the wind and the rain blowing in your face was something ridiculous to be honest.”

According to David, the only thing that could have stopped the ultra marathon from taking place would have been a red weather warning, which means a risk to life and possibly widespread damage to property and infrastructure, according to the Met Office.

“After the briefing at the start, they gave us some safety advice. And the advice was, if you see something old and wobbling, then watch out,” David said. “I’m surprised how many trees there were, especially at the start across the canal path.”

Overflowing canal bank in South Wales
Trees were collapsed in the middle of the path. Cc: @david_jasper.

“There were loads of trees that had fallen down and at one point we had to wait about two minutes because you could only have one person across the tree at one point, so there’s quite a bottleneck where everyone had to climb over this tree.”

When asked if it takes resilience to enter, let alone finish an ultra marathon in those conditions, David said, “Yeah, I think it’s the type of person that does a race like that and they’ve probably got a bit of an addictive personality.”

“I know there was a point this summer where I did a race, I wanted to take a month off running, but I told myself I couldn’t take a month off running so after a week I was sort of itching to get back and only took off like a week and a half. I just found that I needed to run, I was getting a bit…”

“I wanted to just do the next challenge and just take on a challenge that seemed massive. […] That’s not really normal, off the main comments I’ve had on social media. People saying, like, ‘you’re mental, you’re not right’. It’s not a normal thing to do, so… but I just enjoy it, I just want that challenge to push myself, really. And I need a goal, really, to work towards.”