Posted on 16/04/2019
Towpaths are a popular spot for joggers – after all, they’re a lot safer and more pleasant than running beside roads, and routes are usually fairly flat too! If you really love running and are up for a challenge, there are even ultra-distance races to compete in, such as the 145-mile Kennet & Avon Canal Race from Bristol to London this July.
But if you prefer to mix things up a little, why not take part in a canal-based triathlon – an event that brings together running, cycling and watersports in a single package? The Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal’s ‘Canalathon’ bills itself as a challenge rather than a race. It takes place over 35-miles of the historic Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal, following the Usk Valley into the heart of the beautiful Brecon Beacons National Park and concluding in the historic town of Brecon.
The event requires teams of four, who are asked to complete the distance in 12 hours. It begins at Pontymoile Basin with a six-mile open canoe stage to Goytre Wharf. Next comes an 18-mile cycling section over the generally flat towpath from Goytre to Llangynider. The race then concludes with the 11-mile walk or run, which ends at the Brecon Theatre in the canal basin at Brecon. Fans of extreme-distance running can also participate in the Beacons Ultra, a 46-mile run through Brecon Beacons in November, which includes canal and road running as well as mixed-trail and mountain running.
if you’re not up for a run and, let’s face it, all this exercise can seem a little out of keeping in the peaceful surroundings, the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal is a wonderful waterway that’s popular with nature-lovers. With its theatre and shops, the basin at Brecon makes a great base for exploring the canal and the town of Brecon is only a short walk away. A stroll along the canal provides plenty to see, from historic aqueducts to wildlife. Make sure you don’t miss Goytre Wharf, with its old lime kilns, visitor’s centre and woodland walks for those who like to get some fresh air without breaking out in a sweat.