Mountain & Trail Running in Wales

Article by guest blogger & trail runner Gina Paletta. (Above Photo by Sports Pictures Cymru)

Known for its iconic castles, picturesque mountains and stunning trails, Wales has been selected to host the 31st World Mountain Running Championships in Betws y Coed, Wales, Great Britain on September 19th, 2015. After successfully hosting the IAU Trail World Championships in 2013, it’s now time to welcome some of the world’s best athletes to the mountains of Wales.  The 4K course for the World Championships is challenging, as is fitting for a championship race. Climbing & descending 250 meters, this loop will be run 3 times in the men’s race, 2 times by the women & junior men and once for the junior women.

With some of the top competitors hailing from the USA, mountain and trail running have become increasingly popular throughout the country, meaning Wales would be a great place for a vacation for runners of all abilities to both support their national athletes and compete themselves. Betws y Coed is a picturesque Welsh village embedded in the Conwy Valley, flanked by the Gwydyr Forest.

During the week long festival of running anyone can compete in the open mountain race, the uphill only race to be held on Moel Siabod, or enter the WMRC World Masters Mountain Running Championships.  The World Mountain Running Championship races are limited to elite runners representing their home countries.  Between countless races and fun runs, the festival also plays also host to a number of mountain and trail running movies sessions, festival expos and seminars to cater to all needs.

As a native of Wales who currently resides in Portland, Oregon I can assure you of a warm welcome in my home country. Wales has more to offer than just the Championships, having more medieval castles than any other European country. There are excellent trails to run at Coed Y Brenin, the UK’s first bespoke trail-running center. Fancy venturing a little further? Make the short trip down the road and you’ll be follow the rocky route of the iconic Snowdon race, or run the grassy slopes of Moel Ellio. There are numerous mountain runs and walks in the national park that you’ll find yourself spoilt for choice. Still wanting more? There is plenty to explore across the nearby National Park.

Further information about the Championships and the weeks long festivities, as well as on line entry for the open & masters races, will soon be available on Information on accommodation and other attractions in the area for those interested  Elite American trail athletes interested in running for team USA must first qualify on July 25th at the USA Mountain Running Championships in Bend, Oregon. If you plan on staying in the UK for longer than the week you can check out other hill and trail races.

Gina is a breakfast loving distance runner from Wales. A recent graduate in marketing communications currently living and running green the trails of Portland, Oregon.  You can follow her on Twitter and read more about her adventures in #trailrunning on her blog