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Devil’s Staircase Ultra Trail Race returns for 2023

The challenging Devil’s Staircase awaits runners on April 1.

A busy year of wacky and wonderful outdoor activities in Llanwrtyd Wells, reputedly the smallest town in Britain, continues with the challenging Trailhead Get Jerky Devil’s Staircase Ultra Trail Race on April 1.

Held for the first time last year, following a delay caused by the pandemic, the endurance race covers around 31 miles with a total ascent and descent of about 4,700ft.

Most of the race, designed to test endurance and stamina, is off road with some short road sections, including the hellishly steep 25% ascent of the iconic Devil’s Staircase.

Starting and finishing at the Neuadd Arms in the centre of Llanwrtyd Wells, the race route combines a mixture of tarmacadam road, forest tracks, bogland, farmland and river crossings.

Local landmarks along the route include St David’s Church which dates to the 12th century, an old drovers road to the Abergwesyn Valley, the Devil’s Staircase, Soar y Mynydd Church, built in around 1822 and claimed to be the remotest chapel in Wales and Llyn Brianne Dam.

The course will be marshalled and waymarked with water points and two feed stations providing cold and hot drinks, bananas, biscuits and sweets. Waiting at the finish will be Welsh cawl and a vegetarian alternative.

Each runner will receive a unique devil medal and there will be prizes for the first three male and female runners. The entry fee is £45 and commemorative technical t-shirts, in a variety of sizes, can be ordered at time of entry for an additional £15.

Runners can enter online until Friday, March 24 but entries will be accepted on the day. Further information at https://www.green-events.co.uk/index.php?dstenter

The race is sponsored by Welshpool-based Get Jerky snacks manufacturer Trailhead Fine Foods, whose managing director Arwyn Watkins, OBE, was brought up in the shadow of the Devil’s Staircase and his family still farms there.

Llanwrtyd Wells has developed a reputation for organising a series of off the wall outdoor activities since 1980 under the leadership of Green Events.

Thousands of visitors enjoy annual events such as the Rude Health World Bog Snorkelling Championship, Whole Earth Man versus Horse race, the Real Ale Wobble and Ramble and the World Mountain Bike Chariot Racing Championship.

Ancient Welsh tradition is also celebrated with the Mari Llwyd, a wassailing folk custom that involves a giant horse’s skull  being carried from house to house during the festive season. Local people and visitors alike can enjoy the delights of the Roman Festival of Saturnalia with a Winter Warmer Real Ale Festival.

A new event has been added to the list this year in the shape of a Bogathlon on August 26, which replaces the Bog Triathlon. This sprint triathlon is designed to be more fun and accessible to a wider group of athletes.

It starts with a 60-yard bogsnorkel followed by a two mile cross country cycle and finishes with a one mile all terrain run which will probably involve water hazards. Athletes start the time trial event at three minute intervals.

The other events planned during the year include: the famous Whole Earth Man v Horse Race on June 10, Drovers Walk on June 24, Cider Cycle, a non-competitive event for mountainbikers on August 12, the World Bogsnorkelling Championships  August 2, International Four Day Walking Festival from September 20-23, the Ron Skilton Memorial Half Marathon to raise funds for research into MND on October 22, the Real Ale Wobble, a non-competitive event for mountainbikers through local forestry and other trails, on November 18, the Real Ale Ramble, comprising gentle walks through the surrounding countryside, on November 25 and 26 and the Mari Lwyd New Year Walk on December 31.

Green Events is a member of MWT Cymru, an independent organisation representing around 600 tourism and hospitality business across Powys, Ceredigion and Southern Snowdonia.