Race directors Adam & Graham are passionate about individuals fulfilling their dreams and developing their potential. They Both personally sees all runners off at the start and move around the course offering encouragement and advice. There are no human barriers to entering or completing the Great Celtic TrailMarathon.
We also utilises as many local suppliers and contractors as possible and aim to ensure that the local economy and south-Wales community is affected in positive manner by the event, with that support hopefully being reciprocated ensuring that the GCTM is an event that the local and national Welsh community can be proud of in one of the most beautiful areas of the UK.
Being on a Saturday, we also hope that may runners and families will stay on for the weekend in one of the numerous local hostels, cabins, hotels and bed and breakfasts in the area.
Ok. I did the half marathon
I need to do this review in 2 parts.
Firstly including my emotion.
I really enjoyed the race, the course was difficult. Man made forestry roads that had gone to ruin made for a technical course. The weather was bleak and the hill spread everyone out so spent most of race running on my own. Which was fine with me. My race went well. And I came in much faster than I hoped.
Looking objectively. And taking out the traffic accident which I won't go into. But meant course was missing marshals.
We entered into course through a gateway and naturally started lining up. Then told there was a delay in the start. If it had been sunny not a problem but today was wet. So everyone went under the tree to keep dryish.
15 minutes later we are called again, only to find we were all facing wrong way. Cue chaos as everyone squeezed to face right way.
Could easily be fixed by moving start forward 200m.we ran 13.5miles so room to spare.
In fact I would move the start to nearer to margam castle. Which we run past at mile 12.it has visitor attractions, toilets, a cafe and a park. Much nicer for any spectators or family
Ok. Nearly ready.
My pet peeve is having slower runner at front. And due to the previous chaos this happened. So when we started I spent 1st mile to get thru crowds. Then the hills. Mile 2-4 hill, A down and back loop from 5-6 thru woods. Drink ration at mile 4, was also a station for mile 6. All good.
At this point everyone is spread out, mainly running on forestry roads. Stones in some areas but generally level. The rain has made some muddy patches as well as river flowing down roads. This is Wales so fine.
There are now no spectators which is to be expected we are at top of mountain, weather is shit. I wouldn't want anyone up here supporting me.
The marathon course splits off around here.
At mile 8 we start a downhill. This track was difficult. I like trails so would describe this a very technical, the path was a river, lots of rocks and uneven. This was a trail run after all. But to inexperience runners this could have been dangerous. Again can't control weather, but if you want to be inclusive id use different path.
9-10 back up another hill.
10-finish is part of same route we came out on, plus a route near the castle. (See above about better race village start point)
Nice and flat into finish.
Some support here for last 500m. Fair dos.in that weather.
I finished received my medal. Only 1 lady giving out medals and welcoming you in. This didn't bother me, but if seen lots were. I didn't get t.shirt, later found out you had to go collect from a hut. Again not an issue to me, other might be put out.
Free parking,Loads of space, course was tough and as trails go was good. Easy access to you.
Areas to Change.
Move start/finish, village to by castle for all facilities there.
More toilets, only 7 available. But of by castle you would be able to use toilets there.
Parts of course which were difficult, should have signage or Marshalls.
1 drinks station unmade but think this is due to the accident earlier.
Better communication at end about t.shirts/medals.
Generally I think a few changes, some good weather and better communication And this race would be good.
Posted on 21.07.17
organisation was poor. No mandatory kit needed, which imo was poor given the route we were taking and how remote it was. Marshalls were nice but not many after mile 11, feed stations poor after this point as well and limited water. None of this was passed on prior to the race. Luckily I took my usual kit with me along with snacks etc. Route not marked well in places, several got lost. One guy was up on the mountain lost, 5 hrs 30 mins into run, no wet weather gear etc. I won't be doing a race organised by these again. There's more but this isn't the place for it,
Posted on 19.07.17
It's a truly beautiful spot, although due to constant rain and limited visibility I didn't see as much as I would have liked. Feed stations were pretty miserable really, organisers promised gels but I didn't see any at all, signs saying 'drinks ahead' when there weren't any drinks ahead, several feed stations had just been abandoned towards the end and runners were left delving in to boxes to dig out bottles of water for each other, there were a couple of places on the course which were badly marked and runners had to confer about which way to go. At the end you walk across the car park and find a shed in which are a couple of disinterested teenagers who will look up from their phones for a second and give you a t-shirt. A damp squib in more ways than one....
Posted on 16.07.17