Race route and map
The route is subject to final confirmation.
The race starts at the famous Cardiff Harlequins rugby ground. This is also the home of your hosts, Cardiff Harlequins Running Club.
Trail Half Details (Marathon Detail Below)
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.
Trail Marathon Details
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.