SW100 03/06/2016 (South Wales)



I've signed up to this event, my first attempt at 100 miles.  Completed a 50+ miler, mountain marathon and numerous Ironman events, but this is a significant step up.  

The SW100 is a 100mile ultra-trail footrace starting and finishing in Cardiff, crossing the South Wales Valleys and the Brecon Beacons!  It is a demanding test of endurance over varied and challenging terrain and is only suitable for experienced and competent ultra-trail runners. The route has approximately 6400 meters of ascent and is over 90% on trails.

I'll be entering a few 'shorter' ultra's as part of my training, and practicing on the course, night time running, and navigation.

It's definitely a soiree into the unknown, nut an exciting one


  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭

    Hi, MTri.  My comment from L100 thread in case you don't go back on there:

    Ha!  So you've entered! Training is marathon training but the long run much longer. This can be done in normal training or enter some shorter ultras and treat them as training runs/experimenting with gear rather than racing them - you'll need a couple of 50 milers at the very least.

    The main approaches to the distance are either back-to-back long runs building up to a max of 20+30 miles, or single very long runs.  I'm in the latter camp since the single long run more replicates what you are going to have to do on the day.  Back-to-backs would seem to me to more suit multi-day ultras.  The longest run I did when 100 training was 60 miles (from my house to the summit of Pen y Fan and back).

    Nutrition is about eating fairly constantly, right from the beginning, and never letting your stomach empty.  You will almost certainly want to use real food rather than endless gels and sugary things which will make you nauseous.

    You will need much more fluid than you would ever imagine, especially on a hot day.  

    You will need to spend a fortune on different shoes and socks looking for the elusive combination that does not cause blisters (and still end up not finding it, but hopefully finding some combination that more or less works).

    Unfortunately I'm not running 100s at the moment.  I have had two DNFs with rhabdomyolysis and don't want a third, when I could do irreparable kidney damage. (You might want to look that up - it is a risk for ultrarunners, largely caused by lack of conditioning or dehydration, or both).

  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭

    I could be looking to do the 50 but won't know if I'm free for that w/e or not, and won't for a long time.  Places might have gone by then. We'll see.  I could enter and then claim a refund if not possible ...

  • TRex, I did read the post. This course starts almost from my front door, and I regularly run bits of this course, so I felt it would be almost rude not to.

    It's probably not an ideal first 100, but then none probably are, so now I've got 10 months with this as the main focus. With a few shorter ultras as build up events.

    As to kit, after 6 years of Ironman I spend my life (and all my disposable income) on kit, so something new to research. But having already done some ultras it's not completely new territory.
  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭

    Good luck with your prep.  You have heard of and presumably get kit from Likeys, do you?  Best place to go in S Wales (and possibly UK ...)  They sell things in there you never knew you needed.  Why buy a rucksack when you can carry everything you need in a specially adapted vest?

  • GeeeMGeeeM ✭✭✭

    Good luck MTri, I'm also Cardiff-based. I won't be entering the SW100 but can vouch for the RunWalkCrawl crew having met them, and marshalled at the Vale Ultra earlier in the year. Ben and Joe know their stuff and are veterans of UTLD and Dragon's Back amongst others image

    You probably already know about the MCN, (Might Contain Nuts) events - ideal prep for the Brecons section and you'll meet a lot of people doing SW100 on those days. 

    The Beacons are only 45 minutes away, so lots of opportunity to get familiar with the territory - especially the sections in the dark, it should be a cracking course - about time South Wales had a really good 100!

  • Warm up races are:

    Oct Snowdon Marathon 26m

    Nov Endurancelife Gower Ultra 34m

    Dec MCN Brecon Ultra 43m

    Apr Vale Ultra 30m

    May Brecon to Cardiff 42m

    + the recce days for the course, so a mix of distances and terrain.

    Just need to find some night runs.
  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭

    Yes, you could do with one more run a little more 'out there' then these, and about 50 miles if possible.

    10Peaks Brecon Beacons 55 would be ideal but is too soon for you, I would imagine, like in 4 weeks' time.  Unless you are fast you would still be on high ground after nightfall.

    You'll just have to go out on your own for a night run.


    Well done on all those IMs.


  • Good luck MTri, I think it'll be cheekier than people think.

    I'd swap Octobers Snowdon Marathon for the LDWA Where Ravens Dare, and the May ultra for the LDWA Rhondda Rollercoaster, both are much more indicative of the terrain....and with a navigation component.

    Or better still, throw them in as training runs as they're awesome routes.

    I'm still undecided on next year (apart from maybe LL100 again and Offas Dyke race) but really want to be involved in the SW100 in one way or another. Can't help feeling that I should be doing something different.
  • the LDWA rhonnda rollercoaster and the ravens dare are good calls.....




    this race has copied virtually every detail of the successful lakeland 100.........the main dfference is the surface underfoot is so much easier on this one......these surfaces are runnable


    I hope the organisers have better success than me in getting the local footpath reopened.......the farmer cut the trees in the forest down and blocked the pathway down to the woods..........he got rid of the stiles......the council seem to be working on them but nothing has happened.........we have taken a number of attempts to actually learn a path through and this still involves climbing over logs and sweezing under them......hopefully the organisers can go up there with a chain saw and clear a path  and remove the padlocks off gates....I wouldnt want to go through that farm land on my own in the dark   image  image

  • I'm a backup runner fan.........long on saturday of over 25 miles and a backup run of around 12.........

    we roughly followed the Ultraladies 100 plan but made some of the long saturday runs longer.......

    and it meant we took all the weekend runs slow and then did the long midweek run and more speed.

  • Thanks for the tips on the LDWA events. Where Ravens Dare is early Oct and Snowdon late Oct, so can do both. Rhondda Rollercoaster looks ideal as well.
  • Taith Torfean challenge walk is another great LDWA one too. I done it solo earlier this year and it's a super testing 50 that forces you into using a roadbook/map.

    I'm pretty sure they're doing it as an event next year too, but as a toned down version, might be worth a gander, but don't burn yourself out before the 100.
  • looking at the route the ravens dare only shares a few hundred metres of the route but is really good to give you the idea of the miles through the valleys.the shorter climbs and terrain....

    I am tempted by this...but unlike the lakeland 100 where i dedicated a whole years training to I would  have to just do this fitting into other training. eg marathon training and triathlon training.....


     decisions ... decisions...

  • I was thinking road book/ simple nav training as much as anything else. It really is a fantastic route sub 6 hours would be very quick.
  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭

    I've done the Taith Torfaen southern loop several times as a training run and have found some of it almost impassable and badly overgrown, so a few more people running it would help!  Never done the northern loop.

    Done Where Ravens Dare four times, once when it was 25.5 miles and three when 26.5. That really is on my local patch.  I ran without a map or guidebook since I knew the paths so well.

    Clashes with the Cardiff half marathon which I have been doing, one year doing both in the same weekend and by mile 12 of the half getting into serious difficulties!

    We need to find MTri an offroad night run 50-miler between now and June.  I can't think of one.

  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭

    Don't ditch Snowdonia marathon - it is epic.  A nice little bit of offroad towards the end.

  • yes... snowdon is good.......the sleepwalker if it still running in november will help with some night work and covers some of the route......backwards   image

    I'm in for ravens dare again and I have done it  afew times as a training run.......we meant to do it as a night run but never got around to it  image

  • just noticed they are being a bit fussy with the spare clothing....a thin baselayer isnt acceptable must be mid range.......that will take up some spare space......it is June  

  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭

    Just done a bit of browsing on swales ldwa site - Taith Torfaen it is.  52 miles, 9 April.  A mid pack runner will probably have a couple of hours of twilight/darkness, but if they have a late start for runners (which I suspect they might - they were very firm about a 4-hour late start in the Valleys 100) that would be ideal.

    Only a week after Vale ultra which might cause an issue, MTri?  I would advise no running at all in the week in between - just plenty of bike and swim ...

  • i am aiming for an april marathon PB...so will have to watch any ultras in april  image


  • Excellent. Looks like my 2016 plan and diary are almost full.

    As to Snowdon, can't miss it. I'vegitt unfinished up there, and it's an excellent event
  • Interested in this one.. Looking at the route, it could be one hell of a race. 

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