The Brecon Beacons National Park sprawls for more than 500 square miles and offers something for almost every type of runner. It’s a diverse landscape with miles of trails that often act as training grounds for international-grade ultra-marathons. The SAS is known to train in the area which may give some indication as to the difficulty of the terrain.
The Brecon Beacons are simply remarkable – breath-taking views of steep escarpments blanketed in greenery make it a very popular spot for runners and tourists alike. There are so many trails available (and of diverse length and difficulty) that you can choose to run alone or share the paths with others, even during peak periods.
If you’re interested in running long distances, there are two linear trails that offer a significant challenge. Beacons Way covers 95 miles of scenic countryside and gives runners a chance to experience a little bit of everything the Brecon Beacons have to offer. The South Wales Traverse is shorter at only 73 miles, but it requires a bold commitment from runners – 31 summits must be conquered with approximately 5000ft of overall elevation to be managed. To truly conquer the Traverse it must be completed in less than 24 hours. Alternatively if you want the support of an event take a look at the Exodus Ultra Marathon
For those who are avid trail runners but don’t feel the need to conquer every peak there are plenty of lower paths to explore. The Taff Trail offers a tour of the valley floors, and there are canals that can take runners through idyllic villages and countryside.
Of course, the diversity of the area means that you can map out almost any combination of climbs, descents and flat areas in either a linear or loop form. The Brecon Beacons National Park custodians have trail maps and suggestions available online and there is a strong online following for fans of the area.
The weather on the Brecon Beacons should not be underestimated. The temperature can drop very quickly, and low cloud can form almost without warning. It is important to have some basic navigation skills and equipment if you are venturing away from popular areas. It would not be unwise to carry sufficient water and emergency survival equipment, particularly if you are attempting summit climbs.