Race Recce

Runner's World (UK) - - Contents -

The Ban­gor Half Marathon: a lovely loop around one of the UK’S small­est cities

Race direc­tor Chris Yorke guides you on this North Wales race that loops around one of Bri­tain’s small­est cities.

START Join the throng of run­ners as they gather be­side the red-brick Vic­to­rian clock that stands in the city cen­tre. As it strikes 10, you’ll head off along the long­est high street in Wales (it stretches for 1.6km).

MILE 1 After reach­ing the coast, you run out and back along The Garth. (A) It’s a 470m-long, Grade ll­listed wooden pier that stretches into the Me­nai Strait, the nar­row rib­bon of wa­ter be­tween main­land Wales and the is­land of An­gle­sey.

MILE 2 Still on the coastal path, you can en­joy views out to Llan­dudno and Puf­fin Is­land. This rocky out­crop is home to many se­abirds, in­clud­ing a large colony of cor­morants.

MILE 3 You’re now pass­ing through a pretty wooded area. The path fol­lows and then crosses the wind­ing Afon Ce­gin, the river that flows into the Me­nai Strait.

MILE 4 This sec­tion is rather un­du­lat­ing; you’ll pass Upritchard Park, Ban­gor’s rugby ground, where sev­eral Welsh in­ter­na­tional and Bri­tish Lions play­ers have been pro­duced over the years.

MILE 6 Quiet coun­try roads bring you to the tiny com­mu­nity of Tal-y-bont. Take a mo­ment to look to­wards Snow­do­nia Na­tional Park, more than 2,000 square kilo­me­tres of stun­ning moun­tain­ous land­scape.

MILE 9 As you head north, Pen­rhyn Cas­tle (B) comes into view; you will even­tu­ally do a cir­cuit of its ex­ten­sive grounds. Now a Na­tional Trust prop­erty, it’s an eye-catch­ing mock-nor­man cas­tle built in the 19th cen­tury. It con­tains a one-ton slate bed made for Queen Vic­to­ria’s visit in 1859. She said it re­sem­bled a tomb­stone and so re­fused to sleep on it.

MILE 12 You’ll see Port Pen­rhyn ahead. From here lo­cally quar­ried slate was shipped around the world dur­ing the in­dus­try’s boom years up un­til the end of the 19th cen­tury.

FIN­ISH You re­trace your steps back into the city and en­joy a slight down­hill fin­ish to­wards the clock tower and the city’s sixth-cen­tury cathe­dral that sits be­hind it.

IN­SIDE STORY Chris Yorke says: ‘We started the 10K race in 2012, but only staged the first half marathon last year, run­ning both events on the same day. We felt run­ners would travel fur­ther to do a half but maybe not for a shorter race, so were keen to add one here. Ban­gor’s small for a city but it has a huge stu­dent pop­u­la­tion. Be­cause the races are held soon after the new aca­demic year starts, stu­dents and uni­ver­sity staff who en­joy run­ning or want to feel part of the wider com­mu­nity en­ter them as a bit of an ice­breaker. Hav­ing the race on a Satur­day means some peo­ple make a whole week­end of it and af­ter­wards visit the sea­side or Snow­do­nia. The Garth is cer­tainly a novel as­pect to the race; the sound of all those run­ning shoes on the wooden deck­ing is fan­tas­tic and the pier sec­tion of­fers stun­ning views along the coast­line.

Run it The 2016 race is on Oc­to­ber 8. For more de­tails, visit run­wales.com

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