GO COAST TO COAST FROM NORTH TO SOUTH ON A MULTI-SPORT ROMP THROUGH THE WILDS OF WALES.
The first multi-sport crossing of Wales on a route that stretches across the whole country. 350km of mountains, valleys and classic Welsh landscapes.
SIGN UP NOW FOR ONLY*
*price per month, depending on departure date when you sign up in March, click here for more info on pricing
24 - 28 JULY / 2024
43 MILES (70 KM) ON FOOT + 170 MILES (274 KM) ON BIKE + 11 MILES (17 KM) ON KAYAK
5 DAYS / 4 NIGHTS
DIFFICULTY RATING: CAN I DO THIS?
This adventure is for anyone with a decent level of overall fitness.
4 nights accommodation / B&B and camping.
All meals included as standard, at hotels and in camp, cooked up by our expert catering crew
Kayak and all associated equipment rental include.
GUIDES AND SUPPORT
Professional support boats, water safety staff, mountain safety, mechanical, medical and welfare
Professional local and UK safety staff, medics, drivers, bike mechanic, route safety staff and Rat Race experts on hand throughout. Audited and accredited to BS8848 expedition safety standard.
Flexible transfer policy.
High quality medal, rat rag and premium t-shirt for all participants.
RAISE £4000 AND GET UP TO £2000 REFUNDED
We studied our route for a good few years before we laid down ‘the line’ and what has been produced is (what we think is) the first multi-sport crossing of Wales, on a route that stretches across the entire country from north to south. Packing 350km of mountains, valleys and classic Welsh landscapes you will run or trek, bike and kayak from Bangor to Cardiff, via Snowdonia and the Ogwen valley, over Bwlch Tryfan, across the Dovey Estuary to Aberystwyth via some stunning coastal trails; before heading inland on your bikes across incredible landscapes to reach the Brecon Beacons and an ascent of Pen-Y-fan. From there, take to the Taff trail to descend all the way to the south coast and finish next to the Welsh assembly in the heart of the Capital at Cardiff Bay.
Arrive in Bangor and register at our hotel venue between 1500 – 1930 to collect your adventure pack and have your kit checked. Then meet your fellow ratracers at our introductory dinner/briefing at 8pm.
DAY ONE: WEDNESDAY
You will be collected early from your hotel and we will whisk you to the startline at Bangor Pier. Be good to go by 0600! Total Day Stage is 81km on foot and on bike. Total combined ascent for the day approx 2645m
Leg 1: 24 km on foot from Penrhyn Castle along the Ogwen valley and up and over the miners’ track and Bwlch Tryfan in the shadow of the mighty alpine-esque peak of Tryfan.
Leg 2: 57km on the bikes, using tracks and country lanes from the historic Pen y Gwryd hotel to Dogelleau.
MEALS: Early ‘grab n’ go’ breakfast, Pit Stop support during the day, evening meal at a pub in Dolgelleau.
DAY TWO: THURSDAY
After a hearty breakfast, you will take to the bikes once again. Today will see a total of 58km on bike, foot and on the water. Whilst the combined distance is relatively short, the variety is high! Total ascent for the day is approx 1135m
Leg 1: 30km on bike form Dogelleau to Tywyn using some classic biking trails and lesser known tracks, including a superb off-road descent towards the coast.
Leg 2: 6km Run/ trek along the coastal path and beach to Aberdovey.
Leg 3: 2km Exciting kayak crossing of the Dovey Estuary.
Leg 4: 20km run along the stunning coastal path to Aberystwyth, high above the cliffs for much of this fantastic route.
MEALS: ‘Breakfast at the hostel, Pit Stop support during the day, evening meal at a restaurant in Aberystwyth
DAY THREE: FRIDAY
Today sees a total of Total of around 95km on the bikes from Aberystwyth to Builth Wells. Having had a good dose of what the coast has to offer we head to the hinterland of Wales. Our route will incorporate good national trails, country lanes and some fun hard-packed tracks and byways. Total ascent for the day is approx 1746m (there is some downhill as well?).
MEALS: Hotel breakfast, Pit Stop support during the day, evening meal downtown Builth Wells
DAY FOUR: SATURDAY
Leg 1: We set out from Builth Wells in the boats with our flotilla of kayaks covering around 12km of quality river paddling, some light rapids and one or two portages.
Leg 2: Having left the kayaks behind, we set back out on the bikes again for around 35km of very riding on largely quiet country lanes to reach our destination just south of Brecon with sweeping views of the peaks of the Brecon Beacons National Park – our destination for tomorrow! Whilst we are not in the high mountains now, the ascents are short and steep. And plentiful! Total ascent on the bikes is around 1000m.
MEALS: Hotel breakfast, Pit Stop support during the day, dinner around the campfire at our quirky campsite.
DAY FIVE: SUNDAY
Today is journey’s end, but we first have to negotiate a total 78km on foot and bike; plus some paddling. We will pass through the Brecon Beacons national park, then follow the River Taff to ride downhill into Cardiff for a finish in front of the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff. Total ascent for the day is 1728m.
Leg 1: 14km on foot up and over the mighty Pen y Fan via its broad north ridge.
Leg 2: 57km on the bikes along national bike trails and woodland tracks.
Leg 3: 6km on foot along the Taff Trail into Cardiff, via some icon Welsh sporting landmarks.
Leg 4: 3km paddle into Mermaid Quay to finish at the foot of the breath-taking Wales Millennium Centre in Roald Dahl Plas.
ACCOMMODATION: Not included. You are free to accommodate in Cardiff or to make your own way onwards from here.
MEALS: For those staying, we will have a final celebratory dinner and drinks in Cardiff on us, plus awards ceremony. It’s optional; but it’ll be a fitting end to an incredible journey.
We will use a selection of good hotels, hostels, B and Bs and one stunning campsite location. In all locations, your accommodation is inclusive within your entry fee.
Brekky will vary with our location day-to-day. When we are stating early (which comes part and parcel of such an epic journey!) then we will provide ‘grab n’ go’ materials – pastries, fruit, porridge pots, yoghurts and other simple items that you can either eat before the off, or take with you on the initial portion of the route that day. When we are staying in hotels and guesthouses, we will endeavor to provide ‘The Full Welsh’ and other cooked options.
Each night we will eat together at a restaurant or pub, or we will provide catering on-site. At all times, Rat Race will provide a hearty main course. If you wish to augment with other selections in the pubs and restaurants, you may do so. You will settle the bill for your own drinks. On the final night in Cardiff, for those staying however, the first round is on us!
During the challenge you will have access to our Pit Stops multiple times throughout each stage. These will have a minimum of the following available:
Water – Ensure you leave with water bottles and bladders filled so you have enough to get you to the next Pit Stop.
Sports Ration Pit Stop Bars – Yummy flapjacks.
Salty snacks – such as crisps and peanuts.
Savoury treats – We will feature sandwiches, savoury pastries and other goodies at selected pit stops, around lunchtime.
A fruit option – Either oranges or bananas.
Sweets – such as Haribo and Skittles.
A variety of sandwiches, pastries and cakes.
Hot drinks will be provided at selected Pit Stops subject to forecast weather conditions.
Our Pit Stops are there to help supplement any personal sports nutrition plan you may have. If you have any special dietary requirements then please plan for this and pack your kit accordingly. Rat Race aim to offer Pit Stop snacks that are tasty and functional for as broad a mix of needs as possible. We have options available that are suitable for vegetarian and vegans and availability of this will depend on demand. If peanuts are served these will be in individual portioned bags to reduce the chance of contamination but Rat Race cannot guarantee that the food does not contain contamination from allergens such as nuts or gluten in its preparation or serving.
Please make sure you sanitise your hands prior to eating any food. Please, please, please take care with your trash and help us in our aim of leaving these incredible islands tidier than we find them. This is even more critical in this environment, with any lost trash instantly becoming a choking hazard for the marine life we are here to admire.
The date-range is set and the route is tried and tested. However, our challenges unfold in some of the most spectacular places on Earth. Sometimes we do have to change plans on account of weather or other unforeseen factors. If we do have to do so, you will be informed and usually, these unforeseen changes simply add to the flavour of proceedings and provide for a good story to tell at day’s end! That having been said, our route is likely to remain largely intact, regardless of any on-the-ground changes.
Click ‘Buy Event Voucher’ and go through the sign-up process, you’ll then be issued with an event voucher which will automatically reserve you a place in the event you have chosen.
Rat Race require you to be over 18 on the day of Registration for this adventure. If you wish to participate as a family group or with a responsible adult and you are 16+, we will consider applications on an individual basis. Please contact us if this is the case.
Getting to the start line is important and we are there to help you as best we can. However, if you feel on reflection that it is just not your time yet, we do have a transfer system that you can use to transfer out, receive Rat Race credit and come back again next year or do something else. Credit is typically valid for 12 months and there is a fee to be paid for transferring out in this way. We want to be really clear that this option is there for you if you need it, but it does have a deadline. View our full terms and conditions here.
The latest kit list will be sent to you before the event within the Essential Event Information Document.
Of course. If you run for Children with Cancer UK and raise the target amount for this event per person, we will refund your entry fee up to the amount of £2500. You are of course more than welcome to fundraise for any cause close to your heart.
Yes, you can. We welcome support on almost all of our events and if you do decide you want to come and work with us, we will make sure we look after you. Click here to find out more about volunteering for Rat Race.
We’ve put together a fantastic new instalment plan that allows you to choose how many months you want to spread the cost of this brilliant adventure over. You can pay it off all in one go or spread it over as many months as you like, totally interest free. There is no credit check required to use this facility. When you sign up to the instalment plan Rat Race will then set up a reoccurring payment and your card will be debited on the same date each month. If there is an error with your payment you will receive reminders from Stripe, our payment provider, and also the Rat Race customer service team. After 3 attempts to contact you if the outstanding balance remains unpaid we will assume you wish to cancel your entry and will withdraw you from the event and you will not be eligible to enter our transfer process and no monies will be refunded.
Add Refund Protect to your booking during purchase and receive a full refund of your entry fee if you are unable to attend the event due to a qualifying unforeseen circumstance. PLEASE NOTE this protection is with our 3rd party partner Refund Protect and NOT Rat Race. In the event you make a refund application this is administered by the Refund Protect customer service team, Rat Race are not privy to the application and cannot intervene on your behalf to influence the outcome determined by their team.
To check the full list of qualifying unforeseen circumstances that are protected please click here to view Refund Protect terms and conditions.
To add Refund Protect (administered by a 3rd party) to your Rat Race booking simply select this option when presented during the entry process. Refund Protect cannot be added retrospectively. Rat Race will then send you name and booking details to Refund Protect in order to protect your transaction with them. If you opt to pay in instalments and transfer your entry before the entry cost is full paid you will be liable to ensure the cost of Refund Protect has been fully covered. This total amount will be deducted from any Rat Race credit due through the transfer process or you will be invoiced by Rat Race for the outstanding amount as Rat Race have paid this on your behalf to Refund Protect at point of entry.
Once you’ve signed up, you will receive a confirmation email. After that, you will be kept in the loop closer to the event when we will send out our Essential Event Information approximately 12 weeks ahead of the event, detailing the full itinerary, what you need to bring and other important information relating to the specific event you have signed up for. We will also host webinars which you will be invited to (again, closer to the event), where you will have the opportunity to ask questions and go through your kit. There will be a final email one month ahead of the event, just to check you’ve completed all the important forms and are ready for the event ahead.
If you have chosen to pay in instalments, we will also get in touch with you if any of your payments have been missed.
Rat Race have been audited and accredited to the prestigious BS8848 expedition safety standard. We have firm emergency protocols and response systems in place whilst out on our adventures. Our main priority above all else is to keep you and our staff safe. Before we leave for each trip a comprehensive in-country risk and threat assessment has been conducted by the Head of Expeditions. All protocols are put in place relating to those assessments. We make sure that the staff involved have the highest level of first aid training; a higher level of medical cover is also put in place if needed; all instructors have qualifications and/ or competencies to match the adventure we will undertake. In the event of an emergency, Rat Race staff and appointed contractors have comprehensive knowledge of procedures which will rapidly be put in place. If needed, our staff will provide first aid and then further medical assistance and evacuation if needed in line with a published Medical Procedures Plan. We have medical back-up and Clinical Directorship provided by a specialist events medical company and we have further emergency response support services provided by competent contracted partner. All our cover is available 24/7 while operations are underway. We use our knowledge and emergency procedures to provide the best possible care in our often remote and austere environments. Before leaving on a trip, we will advise on the insurance cover you are required to have in place for the trip; we will ask for a copy of these insurance details before the departure date.
Race entry includes a glorious finishers medal and bespoke event Rat Race tee. We will request your t-shirt size and this will be the size you will be given at Registration.
Unfortunately for this style of event, we cannot accommodate any supporters.
If you have left a car in Bangor, we do have an optional road transfer service (surcharge of £49pp applies) to get you and your gear (and your bike if you have one with you) back to Bangor. Journey time by road: Approx 4.5 hrs.
We have designed this challenge so that you may travel at your own pace. See below for our notes on route-finding and guidance. There may be locations where we will ask the field to halt and re-group if we decide this is in the interests of safety. There will also be some cut-offs, but in the true Rat Race tradition these will be generous and we will always look to help you to achive your goals in finishing this challenge, vs having to pull out. But, if you need us and if you need to be collected from the route for whatever reason, we are there for you. We also have no problem whatsoever if you wish to bypass a section and re-start later, logistics-permitting. The absolute key is that you enjoy this amazing journey across Wales at your own pace and within your own limits.
The route is a spectacular combination of foot, bike and kayak sections. We want you to concentrate on the views and the hard work of putting one foot (or pedal) in front of the other. So we don’t want you to be staring at maps or navigational aids any more than you have to. We classify the route as ‘self-guided’ for the most part, with some assistance from our staff and some signage in the trickier sections, such as in the mountains and the off-road biking sections. We will use some arrows on the route, plus we will station people and vehicles at key junctions; but this is not a fully waymarked route from Bangor to Cardiff.
The main mechanism for following our route will be the issuing of a route file that you will be able to download onto your smartphone. You will follow this ‘line’ when on foot and when on the bike and we will augment this with the assets outlined above.
Don’t worry – you won’t get lost. But if you do – support is never far away.
We will use a mixture of guides and support vehicles and will support you at intervals by our mobile ‘pit stop’ team. We will have multiple vehicles at our disposal, plus multiple staff members, snacks and drinks to distribute. So, if it does get too much, if you overheat, get too cold, need sustenance, mechanical support or otherwise, we should be able to assist. When we are in the mountains or on the water, we will also augment our safety systems with ‘real people’ – guides manning checkpoints in the hills and on the water to ensure you are in good hands at all times.
This is a hard week in the saddle, on foot and in the boats. BUT the Rat Race ethos is to extraordinary challenges for ordinary people. You do not need super-technical skills or to be a seasoned endurance athlete. You need a good base fitness, train in all 3 disciplines and accept that you will be active for several hours for multiple days. It’s a tough week out in Wales, but it’s designed to be ‘doable;’ and not a sufferfest. You have it in you. We will ensure we support you the very best way we possible can. There is enough time to trek the foot sections and unless you really are off the pace, we will try not to cut you off.
Very varied. For the foot stages, you will be on rough trails, mountain paths, tracks, tarmac rex-railway paths and everything in between. In general, the surfaces for the foot travel stages are very good.
On the bike, the machine of choice has to be a mountain bike. Whilst there are significant sections where you will be on smooth and quiet tarmac roads and lanes, there are other significant off-road sections, ranging from singletrack to land rover tracks to bumpy off-road routings. The mountain bike will ‘do the lot;’ any other machine will struggle with some sections of the route.
For the kayaks, you will experience estuary, river and sea paddling (the sea stage is in fact in tidally-protected Cardiff Bay, so there is no tide – it’s not really ‘the sea’ proper!).
We will collect you via the Sweeper vehicles and move you forwards on the course. We are unable to transport you backwards (i.e. we cannot take you back to the start). If you want to re-start later on that day on another stage, we will do our best to accommodate that. If you want to be moved forward to end of the stage and re-start the next day, no problem (subject to medical advice if it is a medical issue that has forced you to pull out).