What is the Preseli Beast ?
Is there really a savage Beast that roams this beautiful landscape of ours? No one knows for sure, but there are stories of old!, and the odd comment on my grizzly appearances at times!!!
The Preseli Beast race is actually a tough, scenic and exciting circular off-road/fell running race set in the heart of the stunning Preseli hills, North Pembrokeshire, West Wales. This year it is on Sunday7th May 2023.
Yes, it’s finally back. The proper Beast.
The 24mile Preseli Beast race started in 2012 with many commenting on how fabulous the race, route, prizes, and the many cheerful marshals are. And not forgetting the cake too! The start and finish is in the small ‘bustling’ community of Maenclochog, North Pembrokeshire. The route itself takes in parts of the Preselis, the picturesque steep-sided wooded Gwaun valley, spectacular views over Newport Bay from Carn Ingli, and not forgetting the infamous… Beast’s Lair!
The overall distance of the Beast is approx 24 off-road miles, with approx 4,700 ft. (1420 m) of ascent. That’s nearly one and a half times the height of Snowdon! There is a mixture of trail, fell, wooded paths, the odd boggy bit!, some steep climbs!!!, and water/feed stations approx every 5 miles.
If 24 hilly miles isn’t enough for you, then there is now the mighty 32 mile UltraBeasT. Not convinced it’s hard enough??? Come and do it if you dare! It does all the Preseli Beast route until the second to last top, Foel Feddau. It takes a good mental attitude to head away from the finish line knowing you’ll be returning towards the same top in an hour or two(or even three!!!). It’s all worth it though as you’ll be taking in the amazing broad ridge known as ‘The golden road’. With amazing sections of single track it heads east to Carnalw, and to the bronze age fort, Foel Drygarn. It then returns via bluestone country, before rejoining the onslaught to the highest point. You definitely get your monies worth on this one with approx 6,000ft of ascent!!! You really do need to be on your game to tackle this one, you have been warned! Don’t be fooled to think that the UltrabeasT’ extra loop is an out and back on the same course. Apart from about 300metres near Foel Feddau, the rest is different.
Then there’s the sublime Beast Bach (Small Beast). It may be smaller than the other two, but again, don’t be fooled if you’ve not run it before. The Beasts Back itself has broken many a runner. The hill has many false summits, and if you think you’ve reached the top, then think again!
The Beast Bach (Small Beast) This is a mere (he says) 11 off-road hilly miles with approx 1,700ft (540m) of ascent.
All routes share the same start and finish, and take in the highest point of the Preselis, Foel Cwmcerwyn.
The Beast Bach doesn’t take in the Gwaun valley(twice!), or views of Newport bay! It runs over the same first 3-4 miles, and final 6 miles as the Beast, and is less taxing overall! (Although some of the Beast Bach runners would disagree with me on that one!!)The Beast Bach will remain fully marked, whereas the Preseli Beast and UltrabeasT will require navigating! The first and latter part of both Beast and UltrabeasT shares the same route as Beast bach, so it will be marked. It’s the bits in-between that you will need filling! You never know, you could find routes that I didn’t know existed!!! The road crossings/water stations will have marshals, and there will also be some markers in and around these areas.
Category Prizes? Well, there are a few! At least a prize for the winner of each category. 1st male/female-18-39; 40-49; 50-59; 60+
Please note the cut off times below!
Preseli Beast cut off times.
- Race start 10AM
- Cut Off Point: CP3/Newport(11.6 miles) – 2hrs 45 mins (12.45)
- Cut Off Point: CP7/Road crossing(17.3 miles) – 4hrs 30 mins (14.30)
- Cut off Finish approx.- 6hrs, at an average of 4mph.
Please Note: If you don’t think you can make the times, then please enter the Beast Bach.
Beast Bach cut off times.
- Race starts 12.30 PM
- Cut off point: CP6/Road crossing (5 miles) – 1.5 hrs (14.00hrs).
UltrabeasT cut off times.
- Race start-10.00hrs.
- As the previous cut offs for Preseli Beast route, but also-
- Cut off point Foel Drygarn(23.5miles/36.5km) – 6hrs (16.00hrs)Pleasel head down with the marshal for a drive back to race HQ.
Finish approx- 8hrs, at an average 4mph.
Fantastic Goody Bag
So, you might ask what do you get for the money and hard efforts. A marked course, cheery marshals, category prizes, a fantastic goody bag(Incl the above slate coaster), cawl/broth with roll and cheese, tea/coffee, and a table that groans under the weight of cake!!! It’s why we all run isn’t it. lol. There is also the chance to purchase on the day a unique Beast in the buff!
To enter, please go to the online entry page
Princes Gate water has also agreed to sponsor all you thirsty runners with water too. Thank you.
Just to whet your appetite, here are some videos done by young Jacob Martin who lives in the village. 😉
Here’s just ‘some’ past comments! I didn’t want to post them all, I wouldn’t have the space!
“Caz. Many thanks to you, and your army of assistants. This is a fantastic race, 3 distances all converging together for parts of the course and finishing at roughly the same time. Everything about this event was great and the village of Maenclochog really embraces having its life changed for the day and makes everyone welcome. Supporters playing drums, clackers, beeping horns and that was just the start as the runners followed the quad bike. The finish could not come quick enough for me as I blew up around the half way point and really suffered so started going backwards. Back at the finish, the village green was a most welcome sight along with the commentary. Not to mention the goodies, refreshments and food at the end. This is a great race with fantastic views of the gentle rolling Preseli Hills and the coast. The support throughout the race was fantastic from the very start to the finish post. I have never seen so many markers and marshals so very little chance of going off track even in poor visibility. 3 races for anyone of any ability and very friendly makes it easy to recommend, I hope to be back in the future. Thanks Caz for a memorable day, and a top quality race.”
“I just wanted to say THANK YOU. What an event. I think this is going to become the highlight of my year!! Although I think your name and a few swear words were mixed together as I traversed the base of the Preselis on the way back!! Only for a bit though! A brilliantly organised race! The Maenclochog community were fantastic. They made the event very very special, from the marshals who made me smile at every station, to the boys who high fived me in the last couple of miles, to the wonderful refreshments at the end, and to those hooters all the way around! Their support was brilliant and so much appreciated.”
“Caz, that was awesome! It was a fantastic event and probably the best organised event I’ve ever been too!”
“What a run!!!!! That was incredible! Can honestly say that was the hardest run I’ve ever done and I’ve been running since I was 8 haha. I 100% totally underestimated what was involved and in a way I’m glad I did as it challenged me the whole way. The route really was fantastic and I can’t thank you enough for really renewing my motivation and putting on something that will hold me in good stead for Comrades too. Everyone I spoke to en-route said what a challenge it was, but at the same time glancing over the hills with the sea in the distance and being at one with the elements made the whole thing worthwhile – is that really on my parents door step?!!!! Amazing.”
If you have any questions then please don’t hesitate to contact – details in footer.
And if that’s not all, there’ll be the ‘After Race Party’ in the evening at 7pm with music, hot food buffet, and a cheap licensed bar!!! Some of those who have entered are staying(roughing it basically!) in one of the three spare rooms in the hall so that they can have an enjoyable night!!! There are however more luxurious places to stay in the area, and these can be found on the accommodation page. I would need to know if you’re staying for the evenings entertainment so that we have an idea on how many to cater for.
Now for some more important stuff from the WFRA!
Please see the following summarised safety requirements for competitors noting that:
The Race Organiser (RO) has a duty of care to competitors but competitors must accept that race monitoring arrangements, e.g. marshals and checkpoint recording are primarily designed to ensure ‘fair competition’ and must not be considered a ‘safety net’.
No individual has an absolute right to enter a WFRA registered race – all competitors must be able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the RO that they have an appropriate level of skills and experience to complete the race safely and in a reasonable time, and of course have the appropriate kit/ equipment. ROs have been instructed to decline entry to those who cannot meet this requirement.
A competitor enters a race on the understanding that they are responsible for their own safety. The competitor must obey all instructions from the RO and officials and must equip and conduct themself accordingly.
Whilst fell racing is clearly a competitive sport, it remains essential that all competitors treat others, whether they be other competitors, marshals, race volunteers and members of the public with courtesy and due respect. Competitors are expected to go to the aid of any individual in distress, even if this means forfeiting their race.
All competitors are expected to treat the countryside, property and livestock with respect. For the avoidance of doubt, it is contrary to the sport for any competitor to cross and/ or damage any wall or fence except by means of a stile, gate or other reasonable crossing point (unless explicitly advised by the RO).
A deliberate or accidental breach of any rule or failure to follow an instruction from a Race Organiser may result in a competitor being disqualified from future WFRA (and FRA licensed) races for a period determined by the WFRA Committee (or a disciplinary panel convened by it).
WFRA Summary Code of Conduct
The WFRA aims to ensure a welcoming and equal space for everyone involved in the sport of fell running. All WFRA members, and all who participate in WFRA events must abide by the WFRA Code of Conduct (full version here: https://www.sites.google.com/site/welshfra/policies). This includes:
Taking primary responsibility for their own safety, upholding the values of fair and sporting competition, complying with the race Safety Requirements, and treating the countryside with respect.
Avoiding abusive, racist or inappropriately sexual language or behaviour, and challenging inappropriate language or behaviour by others.
Behaving with respect, dignity, and courtesy to others, including fellow competitors, marshals and officials.
Avoiding inappropriate physical contact with other runners.
Maintaining high standards of behaviour on WFRA and related media. If you’re uncertain whether something is appropriate – don’t post it.
Please see the following summarised safety requirements for competitors.
- The WFRA have set out minimum safety requirements which you must comply with, (shown on the WFRA
website). The key points are that you:
• Comply with these safety requirements and with the RO’s specific health protection related
requirements. Follow the procedures described by the RO if you fail to start or if you abandon the race.
• Obey all instructions from race officials.
• Be aware of the serious disabling consequences of hypothermia, dehydration and heat exhaustion and
act appropriately during the race.
• Take sufficient kit, e.g. head, full body and leg cover, safety/ navigation equipment, food and drink to be
able to navigate and provide protection from hypothermia, or dehydration and heat in the worst
foreseeable weather conditions during the race, noting that rescue could take a long time.
• Take note of the length and severity of the race and local weather forecast for the day and judge your
• Consider how any health impairments may jeopardise your safety or of others and act accordingly.
• Take specific note of the RO’s information on the nature of the terrain on the race route, checkpoints to
be visited or course to be followed and any restrictions to route choice.
• Have the skills and experience required to comply with the RO’s navigation and safety requirements,
having assessed conditions on the day noting that the use of GPS devices for navigational purposes is
• Take reasonable care not to create hazards that may cause harm to other people and go to the
assistance of anyone in distress, even if it means forfeiting your race.
Race Incident Form
In the event of an incident occurring during a race, for example an accident, damage to property, an injury or indeed anything which concerns you, please report this to the Race Organiser or other race official either on the day or as soon as practicable afterwards. The rule of thumb is, the more serious the incident, the more promptly it should be reported. In certain circumstances such incidents may need to be reported to the police, another emergency service or relevant authority.
So, what kit should you bring???
*For the Preseli Beast(PB) and UltrabeasT(UB), then you need to carry full waterproof top and bottoms, a map covering the route, compass, whistle, water container, gloves, and a hat/buff. Depending on weather forecast on race day, then i may decide to lower some of this to not having to carry waterproof bottoms.
For the Beast Bach runners, then you need to carry all the above also apart from ‘having’ to carry a map and compass, but depending on weather conditions, I may reduce having to carry full waterproofs to having to carry a windproof top instead.
Rule of thought is to bring everything with you in the car on the day, and see what I decide/announce on a notice board on the day depending on weather forecast/conditions.
So, thanks for looking, and get entering! 😉
Caz, the hat.