It’s just five weeks now until the Vale of Glamorgan Ultra Marathon so Amy and I headed out to check out the last section of the race, Porthkerry to Penarth.
The first thing to great us was the infamous steps at Porthkerry Country Park. I was dreading them after hearing everyone else’s warnings but actually they weren’t that bad. I may change my mind on race day though having already covered 30 miles by the time we reach them.
I was surprised how quickly we reached the Knap. After a swift downhill section we were at sea level. Charlie joined us for the next 10k.
It was then onwards to Barry Island. This is one of the tricky bits of the route as it can be quite confusing navigating this section. I’d downloaded the Bike GPX app that Rhys had suggested and also downloaded the last available route so with the combination of the two we managed to get round the island successfully. It was definitely worth doing so on race day we have an idea about some markers to look out for. Also I hadn’t realised that there were toilets at the end of the promenade. Definitely a preference on race day as the main toilets are likely to be very busy if it’sa nice day.
Soon enough we were off the island and into Barry Town. This isn’t the most picturesque section of the route but it is a lovely break for the legs, running on pavement rather than on trail.
It didn’t take long to reach the McDonald’s which is the marker for us to turn off and into Sully (and no we didn’t stop but apparently people have popped in for some chips mid race!).
We needed the app again as I wasn’t sure where the path actually ran. Soon enough we were heading down a tree route lined path past some sheep then all of a sudden the sea was out in front of us. I think it was made all the more beautiful having run through the town and part of an industrial estate.
Then we were back onto the trail paths across towards Sully Island. This section also had big pebbles like part of last weekend’s run. I’m very glad I wore my trail shoes, although if it’s dry this part of the trail could comfortably be run in road shoes.
We went up past the Captain’s Wife pub them up towards the caravan park. Most of this section is on roads other than a small bit running through the fields.
Again all of a sudden you pop out through the trees from the woods and there’s another stunning view of the sea.
The last couple of miles is then a mix of decent road and trail. There are some uphill sections there and at parts it’s quite difficult to run because of the path breaking up and the size of the stones but before too long the path comes out at the top of the cliff and there’s a short stretch up to the cafe.