Runners from all over the country gathered in Bryn for the start of the famously punishing Beast of Bryn run. Named not only for the difficulty of the course, the race is also known as the Beast of Bryn following a number of big cat sightings in the area. More than 200 runners took part in the challenging 15-mile race.
Taking in the spectacular scenery of the Margam and Afan valley, the course is often used by international distance runners for endurance training. It follows parts of the route taken by the South Wales leg of the World Rally Championship Wales, as well as tracks in the Afan Mountain Cycle Tracks, which are rated among the top-ten in the world.
First across the line was Afan Humphries of Swansea Harriers in a time of 1:27:34, with Andrew Hunt winning the shorter 6.8-mile Beast race in a time of 41:02.
Among the runners were local boxers Gary Lockett, Lewis Rees and Jeff Evans, who claimed they were inspired by the former British bantamweight Billy Beynon. Beynon was a local hero 100 years ago, who would run around the hills following a shift in the pit, and who died saving his son’s life in an accident at Bryn Navigational Colliery.
Profits from the race go to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.
One of the organisers, Shaun Tobin, who works for one of the race’s sponsors, Tata Steel, and whose son Joe has Cystic Fibrosis, said: “Despite the weather, all the hard work in organising this wonderful event on an absolutely breathtaking course paid off, and everybody involved in making this happen should be proud that they have helped us to create something very special that is only going to get bigger and better in future years.”
Cystic Fibrosis Trust Regional Fundraising Manager Carolyn Holt said: “I’d just like to say a big thank you from the Cystic Fibrosis Trust to everyone on the organising committee for putting on such a great event. I was there on the day and saw a fantastic community pulling out all the stops to make the day the well deserved success it was.
“I’d also like to thank you for helping to raise funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust that we so desperately need for research into a gene therapy treatment.”
The race starter was Lowri Morgan, the Welsh presenter and ultra endurance challenger who became the only person in the world to cross the finishing line in a 350-mile race across the Arctic earlier this year.
To find out more go to www.bwystfilybryn.btck.co.uk