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Radyr & Morganstown Trail Races
CardiffCardiff Harlequins Running Club, Diamond Ground,Forest Farm Road,Whitchurch,Cardiff, CF14 7JN
Sat 7th May 2022
£25.00 - £33.00
We understand that some people love a mass start: We also understand that being in close proximity to others is a risk: We are therefore offering all entries the choice of individual start or mass start. Race times will all be considered as one event, but competitors will be free to choose how they start the race. Face masks must be worn when in close proximity to race marshalls e.g. at checkpoints.
These are very special races, travelling through several SSSIs, ancient woods, and over hills. With breath-taking views from the Brecon Beacons to the Severn Crossings and Devon. You'll find these some of the toughest trail races around with 650m climb for the half, and 1400m for the full marathon. We allow generous cut offs, so you can take your time and enjoy the beauty of the South Wales countryside
The half takes in the Garth Mountain, the fairy tale Castell Coch woods and finishes along an old canal. The route is a fully marked course. The marathon, just takes it up a level, with two more mountains thrown in.
Trail Full Marathon
Trail Half Marathon
Trail Full Marathon
Trail Half Marathon
How to Get There
Should you need to bring your car, please try and car share. There is ample parking at the venue.
The course will be signed and should not require map reading or navigation skills. However, due to the length of the race, and wishing to keep the ‘exploring’ feel of being in the countryside, runners should expect distances where there may be no signage. Signs will be at junctions and pathway choices.
Despite the best laid plans, some runners may still lose their way. For that reason, we will be providing a map of the route on Ordinance Survey 1:25000. An ability to understand these maps will be helpful.
We have employed the services of CAVRA for our medical support. They are also a fully trained and very experienced search and rescue team. If you do get lost, please contact the emergency number provided on the day, and we will get you back on the right path.
The race contains 2 checkpoints, with water and light refreshments.
The course will follow the route of the half marathon for the first seven miles, which will be well marked. The marathon loop to Rudry will not be significantly marked. There will be a few arrows at crucial junctions, though there will be an expectation on runners to be able to navigate.
There will be compulsory clip markers on the summits of each of the hills, and at pertinent locations to ensure runners travel at least the full marathon distance. A map and gpx file will be provided with the marathon route.
Be warned, the marathon route is not easy. It is not a route for a 'first marathon'. Last year, the half marathon took runners an additional half an hour to an hour longer than their road race times. That easily means three hours of racing for the half. If you have not completed a three hour race such as a triathalon, then consider the half route. If you do fancy going for broke we will try to support you, even if it is your first try. You have been warned :-) The cut offs are there to ensure that we can check runners medical fitness at appropriate points around the course. We do want runners to achieve thier goals, but we also bear in mind it is meant to be a beautiful day in the country.
The race contains 3 checkpoints, with water and light refreshments.
Marathon Race Start: 8:00, 7th May 2022
Registration Opens: 6:00 (for both races) (details on Friday registration will be published later to support COVID safety)
Registration Closes: 7:30
Half Marathon Race Start: 9:00, 7th May 2022
Registration Reopens: 7:45
Registration Closes: 8:30
There will be a kit check at registration – no kit, no entry.
mass start or individual
There are two races, a trail half marathon, and a trail full marathon. Due to COVID we are allowing competitors to choose between a mass start or an individual start (i.e. a time trial). The first individual start runner will be set off 10 minutes after the mass start and subsequent individual start runners at 5 second intervals after that. Whichever start option you choose, all competitors for each race will be in the overall results for that race.
Pack 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
Hat or Buff
Additional capacity for carrying water or cup
Food appropriate for the time you expect take.
The race will be 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.
The route briefly passes Forest Farm, and soon crosses the Taff River. The crossing is the site of the old ford from Radyr to Whitchurch. Due to the shallow water, you may see people fly fishing in the river. There will likely be Herons and a variety of other water birds. If you are particularly lucky you may see a blue flash upriver as King Fishers often visit.
Once through the village of Radyr, and the Radyr & Morganstown Festival, venue for the concert later, the first climb of the day, up through the Golf course. Skirting around the edge of the course it quickly becomes apparent how close to true country side our capital is. Crossing stiles and agricultural fields we glimpse the Garth Mountain in the distance.
A brief downhill alongside the motorway brings us to our first woodlands, where hopefully the bluebells will still be in flower. A tricky left turn (don’t miss it!) takes you to the left of Morganstown, and into agricultural land proper.
A very steep, but thankfully brief climb to the top of the woods, which eventually leads us past the Quarry. The route then dives downhill through Garth Wood, taking us to Coed-y-Bedw SSSI Nature Reserve.
The route leaves the deciduous woods of Alder, Oak and Birch and enters Coed Rhiw'r Ceiliog, a conifer plantation, with the eerie quiet the pine needle floor brings. The long climb up through the woods eventually takes us to the first Check Point on Routes Des Alpes.
Leaving the relative comfort of the Check Point we begin our final climb to the highest summit of the day, the infamous Garth Mountain. The route does not pass the trig point, but if you wish to summit the hill we will understand. The view on a sunny day is spectacular. With the Capital City of Wales at your feet, you can clearly see both Severn Bridges, the coast of England and the highest peaks of Southern Britain – Pen y Fan and Corn Du.
After all the roots of the woodlands and the climbs of the Garth, you can now get some easy miles under your belt, a long descent to Gwaelod -y-Garth, down the Zig Zags and across the river to Taffs Well.
Going past the football ground the route climbs up to the higher level Taff Trail. Following the trail for a while the route comes to Castell Coch woods, site of the Fairy Castle.
A sharp left leads to a steep gully, taking us to the top of the hill, and a woodland sculpture trail. As you pass over the summit and begin the decent, the welcoming site of Check Point 2, our final stop, and under 5 miles from home, mostly downhill.
The descent now takes us through Fforest ganol and follows a very pretty stream, which if the day is hot, will be almost impossible to not have a paddle in.
The last climb of the day, is short and sharp, past the café nestled in the woods. A tricky technical descent leads to the road at the base of Castell Coch. Next to Tongwynlais, past the pub where the cyclists meet, and we join the Taff again.
Veering away from the Taff, the route passes the pretty Glamorganshire Canal, the third Nature Reserve of the day. Then the final mile sprint back to the club house and a well-earned rest.
The route for the marathon follows the half marathon route until it reaches the Taff Trail High route, where the half marathon turns left toward Castell Coch.
At this point we split from the half marathon route, taking a right turn at the higher Taff Trail. After a half mile or so, turning right again onto the Ridgeway Walk. This is where the true challenge of the Marathon Route becomes apparent - with a climb of Craig Yr Allt, a second stiff climb for the day.
After descending the hill , bearing left on the road, then right at the dog kennels, we now travel up our third significant hill, Caerphilly Mountain. From here you can see the whole route, looking back to the Garth and Craig Yr Allt, and forward to Rudry Common, with our return route along the Ridgeway on the right.
A quick sprint down the hill, and past the cafe on the common, and into the woods of the Warren. Following the route all the way down to Coed Parc Y Fan, and our last eastward hill climb over Rudry Common.
Finally arriving at the pub in Rudry, we join the Ridgway Path. An easy navigation back to Castell Coch woods.
Just before we join the half marathon route again, a quick tour of the Wenallt woods, which are breathtaking if you are lucky enough for the bluebells to be still out.
Once back in Castell Coch woods, you'll reach your third checkpoint (which is CP2 for the half marathon). Here we rejoin the half marathon route to the end of the race.
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.
CP1 Cut Off: 11:10 (5.35 Miles)
CP2 Cut Off: 13:00 (10 Miles)
Race Finish: 14:30 (13.6 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.
CP2 Cut Off: 12:30 (15.5 Miles)
CP3 Cut Off: 3:00 (22.5 Miles)
Race Finish: 16:00 (26.3 Miles)
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