Pembrokeshire has become ‘the place’ to host triathlon and endurance events in the last decade or so.
The rolling landscapes and juxtaposition of the coastline make the region perfect for holding both small and large-scale endurance events, 10k-runs, triathlon events, marathons and the bulging events calendar is punctuated by the annual showstopper of the IRONMAN Wales event.
Many use the other smaller events in the calendar as training for the larger events, such as IMW, or Long Course Weekend, which traditionally takes place in July, and many events which have been running for a number of years are seeing increased entry numbers and a higher profile, due to the increase in enthusiasm and participation in endurance events nationally.
Let’s take a close look at the types of events that you can compete in when visiting West Wales.
Consisting of a 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim, a 112-mile (180.25 km) cycle ride and a marathon 26.22-mile (42.20 km) run, IRONMAN Wales is the epic event that serious endurance competitors and locals alike look forward to on a yearly basis.
Held in Tenby since 2011, the event actually spans a vast majority of South Pembrokeshire, taking in roads from Tenby, out towards Pembroke, up to Narberth and back through Wiseman’s Bridge and Saundersfoot, finishing in illuminated glory, on the famous Tenby Esplanade.
If IRONMAN is considered as one of the most grueling endurance triathlon events in the world, Tenby is often cited as one of the toughest IRONMAN courses out there. But it is a day to be enjoyed, and local support is always on point, with crowds there every step of the way for all of the 2,000+ competitors.
The Long Course Weekend is set on the west coast of Wales in Pembrokeshire, with Tenby once again playing main host. The event follows the basic IRONMAN event principle, but splits the individual swim, cycle and run up into individual events that take place on subsequent days.
As such, the event attracts over 10,000 athletes – which is around 4 times the size of IRONMAN, and around 35,000 supporters from 45 nations, compete over three incredible days. Within the event’s, the organisers host both ‘The Wales Marathon’, ‘Half Marathon’, ’10K’ and ‘5k’ events, which allow for multi-discipline participation which really tests each athlete, regardless of their chosen distaces.
Traditionally an early July event, many competitors descend on Tenby to make the most of the unique course layout, in preparations for IRONMAN, or other long-endurance events they may be taking part in.
The TenFoot Swim is an event in which competitors complete a 5km sea swimming course from Tenby’s North Beach to Saundersfoot’s main beach with a half way safety and feed point at Monkstone Beach.
Swim/running is one of the fastest growing extreme endurance sports in Europe. Competitors swim sections of the course and run sections of others non stop, without transitions or changes of kit on a course between Tenby and Saundersfoot.
The course is a distance of roughly 10km, made up of 4km of swimming and 6km running split into 3 swim and 3 run sections.
The FootStep Run is a mass participation community event with two separate races for children and adults.
Fancy dress is optional and prizes are on offer for best dressed!
Routes follow the Saundersfoot to Stepaside trail, heading up The Strand through to the old railway tunnels along beautiful Pembrokeshire coastline.