Could You Take On The Preseli Beast?

A new hill race is coming to Pembrokeshire's Mynydd Preseli in spring 2013, and promises to be a bit of a handful.

Runners on the highest point of the Preselis - Caz is the one with the cheesy grin, 102 kb
Runners on the highest point of the Preselis - Caz is the one with the cheesy grin
© Carwyn Pillips

Organised by accomplished runner Carwyn Pillips (aka Caz The Hat), who's local to the area, the Preseli Beast is a circular 36km off-road running race from the village of Maenclochog, in the centre of the Preseli hills, to the coast at Newport (Pembs, not Gwent), then back via a different route with what is promised to be a 'real stinger of a last hill'.

Caz, who has logged some respectable times in recent years on classic hill runs like the Paddy Buckley, the Bob Graham and the mega Meirionydd Round, reckons his new event will be a fair challenge.

'It's got 1418 metres of climbing in it overall, which makes it quite a tough hilly mixed terrain route' he says.

Typical Preseli terrain on the penultimate summit of the Beast, 66 kb
Typical Preseli terrain on the penultimate summit of the Beast
© Carwyn Pillips

'It's a right mixture of trail, fell, wooded paths, the odd boggy bit(!), mud, and some steep climbs. Did I mention the Beast's Lair, the Beast's Back, the Beast's Watering Hole and the Beast's Teeth? These are just some names I've already given to parts of the route.'

'The Preselis themselves are usually quite quiet which is what I love about living here. And although not that big, the views are stunning at different times of the year and from different points on the landscape' says Caz.

'The race takes in some spectacular views of the sea overlooking Newport bay (If the weather is kind!), and then some amazing views from the last top Foel Cwmcerwyn, the highest point in Pembrokeshire. If it's clear you can see up to Snowdonia in the north, and North Devon in the south.'

The course will be partially marked with tape and arrowed boards in places.

Anyone looking to tackle the Beast will need to be quite fit, says Caz, with a good training backgound in off-road running. But if 36km seems a tall order the Preseli Beast Bach (Welsh for small) offers an easier 16.5km alternative course, treading some of the same ground as the main event.

There'll also be a 6km family-friendly waymarked route for those with time on their hands while their other halves are racing.

In terms of numbers Caz would ultimately like to see around 250 runners competing; but in its inaugural year he'd be happy with half that, he tells us.

'I'm organising the Beast to raise some much needed money for our local village hall, as well as giving runners a new experience of running in the Preseli hills' Caz explains. 'Hopefully in years to come the race will raise money for other local organisations and charities too.'

The Preseli Beast takes place 27 April 2013. Main Preseli Beast 10:30am, £15; Beast Bach 11:30am, £12

For more info and booking see the event blog or contact Carwyn Phillips by email.

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