WildeRover's South Wales 16.3 mile (26.2 km) pre marathon training run - 28 Feb (anyone invited)

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I'm going for a training run on 28 February of 16.3 miles (26.2 km) as part of my marathon build up and anyone who wants to join me is invited.

This article is owned by WildeRover

In 2010 I am planning on running a spring marathon. This means that, along with everyone else, I will be looking to up the mileage and put in some long runs. There don't seem to be any events between half marathon and 20 miles, so I thought that around 16 miles would be the ideal distance. The fact that the route I planned happens to be 16.3 miles (26.2 km) long is pure coincidence and in no way influenced by certain trademarked pre-marathon events that are being held in various places around the country.
So, the plan is that I am going to run my 16.3 mile route on Sunday 28 February and anyone/everyone is welcome to join me.
Let's be clear about what this is not. It's not an organised race. It's not an officially measured course. There will be no water stations. There will be no marshalls pointing the way. There will be no St John's Ambulance. There will be no mile markers painted on the road. There will be no finishing line. There will be no medals, no t-shirt and no goody bag.
There will be me, plodding away, giving directions and a hearty well done when we all finish, if I have the energy. (With a possible recovery pint in The Rising Sun). You're welcome to join me, or not - it's up to you.
How do I see it working? I have worked out a route, which I have tried to keep as safe as possible, while as simple as possible. The current plan is to break the run up into two halves. People set off from the start in groups of similar pace people on a handicap basis, i.e. group of the slowest people first, group of the quickest people going last. The plan is to get everyone to halfway at around the same time. We'll stop there (try to persuade someone to bring drinks from the start to this point - and someone even said something about cakes) and wait for everyone to arrive (which - if I've got the handicapping right, shouldn't take long) and share brief "wow isn't this hard work, but great fun" comments. Then we all set off together for the second half hopefully meaning the quickest ones don't have to wait too long for the slower ones to arrive at the finish.
Yes, this does mean that the quickest people spend a while standing around waiting for the slower people. Yes, this does mean that it will turn what some people might have done in 2 hours into a 3 hour run. Yes, it does mean that we make sure that no-one gets left behind in a ditch somewhere.
Where am I going?
Roughly, the plan is to start at the 14 Locks Car Park, about 1 mile north of Junction 27 of the M4. (The road to the 14 Locks Visitor Centre is actually the third right after heading north from J27 up High Cross Rd and is signposted with one of those brown tourist attraction road signs.) Group 1 will go off at 10:00 - Group 2 at 10:15 - Group 3 at 10:30. From there we will follow the back lanes to the top of Twmbarlwm (Cwm Lane then Mountain Rd). Then it will be round Cwmcarn Scenic drive. Finally joining the canal for the final 5 miles back to the 14 Locks.
Link (roll over me to see where I go)
Link (roll over me to see where I go)
(I will add a more detailed route description later)
Route Description
From 14 Locks Car Park, run along Cwm Lane for 0.6m
This is the stretch of the route I am least happy with. Cwm Lane is a moderately busy kind of lane, with no pavement. There are other routes I could use to cover this stretch - but this is the only one that I am confident of no-one getting lost, so I have settled for simplicity. It's only 0.6m and the rest of the route is far nicer.
Turn left into Mountain Road and follow to the cattle grid near the top of Twmbarlwm 2.45m
After about 0.6m of Cwm Lane you come to a junction with a signpost in the middle of a triangle of grass - very distinctive. It is the second of the two lefts at this junction that is the start of Mountain Road (not the very sharp one that doubles back). From there it is pretty much a case of following Mountain Road all the way up the mountain.
Head for the top of Twmbarlwm 0.7m
About 1/4mile after the cattle grid we head off Mountain Road on a path that heads for the tump. From here to the top of the tump it is off road and some of it is very steep. Most people will be walking some of the uphill bits, and most people will want to pause a minute or two on top and admire the view (and pat themselves on the back for getting up there). Less than 4 miles in.............and it's downhill all the way from here (OK it isn't, but there is a lot more downhill than uphill).
(NOTE - If the weather is particularly bad to make the top of Twmbarlwm dangerous, I do have an alternative route pencilled in to loop around it)
Down the other side 0.45m
After the top of Twmbarlwm, we drop down the steep track on the far side down to the stile taking us onto the Scenic Drive.
Scenic Drive 5.2m
The next two miles will be very familiar to anyone who has run the Scenic 7, because it is basically the loop from the water station, round the mountain and back to the water station, staying on the Scenic Drive. The next 3 miles will also be familiar, but in a slightly odd way, because instead of heading down from the crossroads as we do on the Scenic 7, we are actually going to go straight on and run the first 3 miles of the Scenic 7 route in reverse.
(NB Anyone struggling a bit, or looking for a shorter route - although if they are things could get complicated - at this point there is a 2 mile shortcut instead of the 5.2m route, which would turn the total distance into roughly HM.)
Visitor Centre 0.75m
From here it is about 0.75m to the Scenic Drive visitor centre.
This is where I am planning to have the "halfway" stop. OK, it isn't halfway. It is about 10m in with 6.3m to go. However, it works quite well as a pit stop. If I have got things right, then all the groups should arrive here at about the same time-ish.
Scenic Drive Exit 0.85m
After the stop, we will carry on down the exit road of the Scenic Drive to the main road. Once you reach the exit, the start of the canal is across the road and about fifty yards to your right.
Follow the Yellow Brick Rd 5.4m
For the next bit, you follow the canal. This is followed by going along by the canal. Then you cross a road and follow the canal. Then you repeat this a few times. Basically, if you are running uphill or downhill......you are going the wrong way. If you are running on a flat path with stagnant water on your left.....you are going the right way.
14 Locks
After about 5 miles you will notice a long wall on your right and at one point you will see The Rising Sun just over the road...............last few hundred metres to go. The finishing line is pretty unsensational, as I intend finishing just before exiting onto Cwm Lane, by the 14 Locks shop. The most distinct feature will be that the canal at this point will have the first Lock gate that you have seen since you started. Hopefully, only the first person to get there needs to know this point - because everyone else will stop when they see other people have stopped. While waiting for their start time, Group 3 can cross the road and check it out, so that they know what to look for and when to stop.
Possible Entrants (Indicative HM time)
Group 1
Ruth (non Fetch) 2:05/2:10
Broenin 2:00
Miss Piggy Wiggy
Dai Bank
Group 2
WildeRover 1:50/1:55
Rhion (non Fetch) 1:50/1:55
Ian (non Fetch) 1:50/1:55
TavisH 1:50/1:55
Nicola (non Fetch) 1:50/1:55
HD 1:50/1:55
Group 3
The Saint 1:35/1:40
Che Dragon
Hanneke 1:40/1.45
Assuming everything goes to plan (and no injuries), I have at least one person in each group, who is familiar with the route. I will also do some maps with some notes on, just in case.

Recent Updates User Comments
Feb 2010 Zoom
Jan 2010 WildeRover
Jan 2010 WildeRover
Nov 2009 WildeRover
Nov 2009 WildeRover Updated the "How do I see it working paragraph"
Nov 2009 WildeRover Being as it's in her race portfolio, I've stuck Smash on the list in Group 1
Nov 2009 WildeRover Some more list and route updates
Nov 2009 Mrs Muckyhands
Nov 2009 Hanneke
Nov 2009 Tav H
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