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Machen Trail Races: Half and Full Marathons event image

Machen Trail Races: Half and Full Marathons

Machen Trail Races: Half and Full Marathons event image Machen Trail Races: Half and Full Marathons event image

Machen Trail Races: Half and Full Marathons

Caerphilly, Mid Glamorgan

Machen Village Hall & Social Centre, The Crescent, Caerphilly, CF83 8ND, United Kingdom

Sat 25th November 2023

Starting at 08:00

2 races

£32.00 - £42.00

Organiser's Description

A scenic marathon and half marathon route with a wide range of trails (from mountain to forestry) to ensure this event offers the perfect blend of adventure, variety and challenge.

With 4,600ft of elevation for the marathon and 2,500 ft for the half, whichever race you choose, you will experience challenging climbs, sensational views and fast and thrilling descents.


  • Machen Trail Races: Marathon


  • Machen Trail Races: Half Marathon




  • Machen Trail Races: Marathon


  • Machen Trail Races: Half Marathon



Course Details

The half marathon
Starting in Machen, the route winds its way through some beautiful single track trails to Rudry Common. Once over the common, a short trip into Caerphilly Forest, then over the hill and a glorious downhill belt to the Cefn Onn Checkpoint. Once through the checkpoint, a long climb back to the top of the ridgeway, passing Llysfaen Trigpoint. A very special trip through woods leads you to Ruperra Castle. Down into Draethen, where sadly the pub is shut, and the final climb up into Machen Woods, leading to a final trail back to the start and a well earned rest.

The marathon
A tough start to the Rhymney Valley Ridgeway. Once on 'the top' there is good track running for several miles, which should warm you up! Bomb down to the right toward Wyllie, and right again onto the Sirhowy Valley Walk. A very enjoyable downhill trot on single track to the bottom. After a few tricky turns and a steep ascent back onto the ridgeway, good running again takes you to the highest point of your day, and Mynydd Machen Trig. A quad bashing decent back to Machen, then picking up the Half Marathon Route.

Relax, the route is now marked allowing you to focus on pace, but there is a sting in the tail, Immediately after Ruperra Castle, as you see the half marathon people head for home the short way, a two mile detour via Graig Ruperra brings your race distance nicely up to a marathon - wouldn't want to short change you!

What's Included

Professional event
Professional first aiders specialising in off-road rescue (CAVRA)
Aid stations with water and snacks
Friendly volunteers
Tracker (marathon only)

Every finisher will receive a 'Finisher's medal'. There will be prizes for:
1st, 2nd and 3rd male
1st, 2nd and 3rd female
1st male veteran (over 45)
1st female veteran (over 45)

  • Not for profit event
  • Eco friendly medals
  • Experienced first aiders with offroad vehicles
  • Limited field sizes to protect trails
  • South Wales's best routes

How to Get There

Unfortunately there are no trains directly to Machen. Please car share if you can. Machen is about 15 minutes from Newport and 20-30 minutes from Cardiff by car.


There is parking at the venue and plenty of parking in Machen.


Machen Village Hall
The Crescent
CF83 8ND

on the day

Marathon Race Start: 8.00
Registration Opens: 7.10
Registration Closes: 7.40

Half Marathon Race Start: 9:00,
Registration Reopens: 7:45
Registration Closes: 8:30

There will be a kit check at registration – no kit, no entry.

kit list

Kit lists
For races less than 10 miles

No kit necessary unless otherwise specified.

For races less than 26 miles between May and October
Suitable sized pack/bag to carry kit
Container for at least 500ml fluid
Thermal / wicking long sleeve top or Space Blanket
Waterproof Jacket, with taped seams* (If the weather is dry, and no rain is forecast, we will notify you on the day if this is not necessary)
First Aid Kit: including minimum of plasters, sterile dressing and bandages
Mobile Phone
Hat or Buff

Optional Equipment
Sun Block
Additional capacity for carrying water or cup
Food appropriate for the time you expect take.

Our races are cupless. We do this to reduce our impact on the environment. To get water from the check points, you must bring a 500ml container, as stated above

Please wear appropriate shoes. If the conditions have been wet (it is in Wales!), please bring shoes with grip.

For all other races and navigation sessions
Suitable sized pack/bag to carry kit
Container for at least 500ml fluid
Thermal / wicking long sleeve top (may be worn)
Full Length Trousers/Leggings (may be worn)
Space Blanket
Waterproof Jacket, with taped seams - or with at least 10,000 hydrostatic head
Waterproof Trousers, with taped seams - or with at least 10,000 hydrostatic head
First Aid Kit: including minimum of plasters, sterile dressing and bandages
Mobile Phone
Hat or Buff
At least 500 calories food, to be used in Emergencies only (i.e you must have it at the end)

cut offs

For the half marathon, cut offs are generous and allow for approximately 2.5 m.p.h progress – which is fast walking. Remember there are some hills, so this is quite a challenge if you are considering walking the whole route.

Race Start: 9:00
CP1 Cut Off: 12:00 (6.8 Miles) [3 hours]
CP2 Cut Off: 13:30 (10.5 Miles) [4.5 hours]

Race Finish: 14:30 (14ish Miles)

For the Full Marathon, since we see this as a race for the more experienced runner, there will be an overall time limit of 8 hours for the full marathon route. This equates to about 3.25 miles per hour.

Race Start: 8:00
CP1 : 1.5 Miles
CP2 Cut Off: 10:45 (9.1 Miles) [2hr 45 minutes)
CP3 Cut Off: 11:40 (12.2 Miles) [3hr 40 minutes)
CP4 Cut Off: 13:45 (19 Miles) [5hr 45 minutes)
CP5 Cut Off: 14:50 (22.7 Miles) [6hr 50 minutes)
Race Finish: 16:00 (26ish Miles) [8 hours]

Final Race Cut Off: 16:00


Verified Purchase

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·2 months ago

Great route, very scenic and varied in terrain/ scenery. It was a crisp cold day which helped, although underfoot was still very boggy in places, so I'm not sure how it would be on a very wet day. Compared to previous trail races I've done it was a little harder to navigate, so you had to keep your whits about you looking for signs to turn off main paths (ended up adding a couple of km extra due to a missed turning, but I have a terrible sense of direction!). Should have had the GPX file on my phone to check. Hills-wise, it's quite challenging, with lots of ups and downs rather than any big climbs that you get over and done with. The beginning was a little crowded, I held back so as not to go out too fast but found I was then stuck behind people in a few places at the start. Would recommend finding your pace group better than I did. Checkpoints were well stocked with sugary treats and water. Overall a great morning out!
Thanks for the feedback Lucy - we really do appreciate people taking the time, every one helps us improve. In terms of signage , sorry you took a wrong turn. On the half, we try to get a balance of enough signs to avoid the need to navigate, yet not so many that there is a feeling of being on an adventure and a sense of 'exploration'. Glad you enjoyed the route, it is one of our favourites too
Ridge Runners

·2 months ago

By far the hardest half trail event I’ve done, also great to see a cupless event. Probably the best event route I’ve done this year too, the views along the route were incredible… even if I was too tired to take it all in The hills really are hills in this event with 2,500 ft of total elevation. Consider yourself warned! You are required to carry kit in case of emergencies which may require a bigger bag so a pre race treat yourself to kit day could be useful for anyone looking to participate Can’t recommend this event enough, much better than the bigger events out there and the volunteers/ organisers were fantastic Thank you :)
Thanks for your kind words Alex. We genuinly mean 'by runners for runners'. We only put on races we would want to do ourselves. Your feedback helps us know that we are putting our efforts in the right direction. Thanks again
Ridge Runners

·2 months ago

Awesome event but not for the faint hearted. I hurt so much today (day after). Definitely signing up for next year!
Thanks Rita- such a useful response. We really don't know how to let people know about our events. We don't wish to get into hyperbole about the toughness of the events - we fear that will put people off. We do know that people find the tough, but we also hear that many find them very rewarding and create a real sense of achievement. Its why we put so many running marshals on, we know how important their support is to making everyone's day fantastic Thanks again
Ridge Runners

Who's In

See who else did this event

bruce barnes

Charles Noblet

Jacob White

Kieran Needle


Caerphilly, Mid Glamorgan

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