I do love a long Sunday club run. The scenery is guaranteed to be stunning, whatever the weather, everyone is friendly and there is cake at the end! Perfect. Starting from Parc Bryn Bach (PBB), they are usually around 13 country miles and you can always expect a hill or two to be thrown into the mix.
Having run a few routes already I’m becoming increasingly familiar with the area but we were all going into today’s run blind. Not knowing where you are heading does add a bit of mystery to the run but on the way back to base you do wonder how far you have left to go.
Leaving PBB we ran along one of the usual paths out so I was on familiar territory but we were soon attacking our first hill in Sirhowy. It’s not particularly steep but it’s a long drag that thankfully descends down into Ebbw Vale. Being a townie I never realised that Ebbw Vale was so close to Tredegar so didn’t realise that we were in a different town.
The route passed through the old steel works area which has had a large investment adding a hospital, school and leisure centre and onto Waun-Lwyd and a tough, tough climb.
Silent Valley Slog
The long climb heads up Cemetery Road before hitting a hairpin bend and ‘rewarding’ you with yet another climb up towards a disused refuse tip. The climb was relentless but not steep enough that you needed to walk.
At around three quarters of a mile, the climb served as good training and reaching the top you can catch your breath on a trail that offers stunning views of the valley.
Need a Sugar Rush
Descending back into the valley the route headed back to the old steelworks and instead of heading back the same way skirted around Beaufort and Rassau. At this point my legs were struggling and it was a long climb back to a point that I recognised. The mints and jelly babies I brought with me were just what I needed at this point.
Back on familiar territory I knew where we were and roughly how far we had to go before reaching PBB but at this point it was one foot in front of the other. As you get closer to a finishing point it’s surprising how you manage to find just a little bit of energy to push on and up a final ascent and back into PBB. It must have been the prospect of cake!
Route Map and Profile