Race the Train: Tywyn
No equipment needed – just you, your trail running trainers and a hunger to beat the historic Talyllyn Railway steam hauled train. The Tywyn Rotary Club was the first to hold an annual Race the Train event each August, alongside the train on its journey to Abergynolwyn and back. The terrain for runners varies throughout the course, and includes a mixture of public roads, lanes, mountainside tracks, agricultural land and rough grazing pastures; so prepare to get wet and muddy. There are several races to chose from, from the Toddler's Trot, 5k, 10k and the big one - the 14 mile Rotary Challenge race.
Ask your family and friends to jump on the train - the course is so close to the railway line they will be able to shout out encouragement from the window (or anything else!).
The Talyllyn Railway was the first railway to be rescued by a preservation society and is now one of the Great Little Trains of Wales - perfect for a family day out after the event if you want to show off your achievements.
Steam train vs paddleboard race: Bala
Another Race the Train event takes place in Bala. Combining two ways to drink in the incredible scenery of Eryri National Park, this four-mile race along Llyn Tegid sees the stand up paddleboarders puffing to race the vintage Bala Lake Railway steam train, which runs alongside the lake.
Paddleboarders are grouped into men, ladies and novices, and set off at three-minute intervals, with the male group setting off at the same time as the train. Llyn Tegid, the largest natural lake in Wales, regularly plays host to other water sports including sailing, kayaking and canoeing.
If paddle boarding seems too strenuous for a spring day out, visitors can follow the race from the train itself, which departs from Llanuwchllyn.
World Bathtubbing Championships, Bala
The premise for this race is simple: all you need is a bathtub, an open water location and a paddle. Once you’re up and tubbing, the race is open to groups or individuals and is just 100m long, so bring along a rubber duck as your mascot and take your chance to become a World Champion.
For more details, visit organisers Green Dragon Activities.
World SUP Jousting Championship
Experience the fun of a stand up paddleboard (SUP) while jousting at the World SUP Jousting Championship in Bala.
Green Events, Llanwrtyd Wells
Whole Earth Man vs Horse
Like all the best ideas, this one started over a pint in a pub. Back in 1980, the then landlord of the Neuadd Arms Hotel overheard two customers debating whether men or horses would fare better running over the local mountainous terrain - and the Man vs Horse race was born.
The race starts from Llanwrtyd Wells town centre and winds its way through the incredible scenery of the Cambrian Mountains, with steep inclines, mud and water crossings making the race even more of a challenge. Not just for men, there are categories for female runners and trophies for horse and rider entrants too.
It took 25 years for a runner to finally beat all the horses, and it has only been achieved twice in the race’s over 40-year history. As an incentive, there’s an annually increasing cash prize for the next hardy runner who does it.
Battle of the Bog (Snorkelling)
For a muddy race with a Welsh twist; head to Llanwrtyd Wells in Powys for the World Bogsnorkelling Championships in August. Contestants don a snorkel and flippers and take to the Waen Rhydd bog on the outskirts of the town to swim lengths through a peat bog trench. Fancy dress is encouraged; and peaty participants must get through the race without using traditional swimming strokes.
The event has become so popular Lonely Planet described it as one of the 50 must-do events in the world. The weekend’s festivities also include the Rude Health Bog Triathlon, with an 8 mile run, a 12 mile mountain bike ride and 60 yards of bogsnorkelling.
The Wales Swimrun (Beat the Tide)
Originating in Sweden in 2002, Swimrun has gathered significant pace in the past few years. In 2014 the event was only held in Sweden, now more than 20 nations including Wales fly the Swim Run Flag.
The Wales Swimrun takes place in July, in Pembrokeshire. Starting on the cliff tops above Freshwater East, the race will move east taking in Manorbier, Lydstep, Tenby and end in Amroth Village. In total, competitors will run 26km of the beautiful Pembrokeshire Coast Path and swim 7km to complete the race.
The Wales Swim, Tenby
If you’re going to throw yourself in the sea, you may as well make it this sea. The annual Wales Swim takes place in June; when the Pembrokeshire coast is at its sparkling, freshest and finest.
The race is open to all who feel able and is made up of two events - a 1.2 mile and a 2.4 mile swim starting on North Beach, Tenby. An exhilarating event, with Tenby’s iconic harbour as a colourful backdrop, you won’t be short of places to have a celebratory bite to eat or drink after the race, with a host of cafes, pubs and restaurants right on the shore.
IRONMAN Wales, Tenby
Regarded as one of the toughest events of its kind, IRONMAN Wales more than makes up for its brutal nature with some of the best scenery in the world to distract its tough participants. Taking in a two-lap swim from North Beach Tenby out into Carmarthen Bay, followed by a bike course through the scenic countryside of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, the running leg ends the race through the medieval walled town.
The winner of a host of awards in 2017, including Best Host City Experience and Best Race Venue, IRONMAN Wales is a bucket-list experience for any keen athlete.