The Brecon Titan Triathlon has been running for a few years now and is well established in the race calendar for triathletes in South Wales. The triathlon is run by DB Max Events who also organise the Cotswold 113, Classic and 226, demonstrating their experience of running large events which is evident with the Titan. In 2016, DB Max also introduced another Titan race, at Weston Super Mare, so it’s important to note that this review details the Brecon Titan race only. The race is run over middle distance (1.2mile Swim, 60 mile Bike and 13.1 mile Run), with the swim and run hosted at Parc Bryn Bach in Tredegar, and the bike route taking in the Brecon Beacons National Park. This region highlights some of the most stunning locations in South Wales but do not come to the event expecting a flat route and an easy ride. Parc Bryn Bach is situated at the heads of the South Wales Valleys, and although picturesque is flanked by hills and woodland.
The swim takes place in the 36 acre lake at Parc Bryn Bach which is close to the car parks and visitor’s centre. Transition is right beside the lake and it is a short run (50m) from the water’s edge; this is mainly over grass until you get to the hard standing of the transition area. There are toilets in the visitor’s centre for any last-minute nerves with HQ situated in the same building. I collected my race pack the night before because I live local to South Wales, but I’m sure there would be no issue collecting this on the morning of the race. The race started at 7.00am, which meant I hit no traffic travelling up from Cardiff, with little to no queueing for the car parks.
A wetsuit is needed for the swim and it is advisable to acclimatise yourself with the water beforehand, if anything to get used to the reeds when you first enter the water. The Swim is a two lap course of the lake around the island situated in the middle. It is a mass start but athlete numbers at the event are low so there isn’t the normal pandemonium found at events such as Ironman Wales.
Once out of the water and through transition you skirt the northern towns of the South Wales Valleys before heading north into the Brecon Beacons National Park. The 60-mile bike course could be classed as ‘epic’ because it does get quite hilly in points. Part of the course takes in quiet country roads near to Brecon before heading towards Sennybridge and re-joining the same route back. Then at roughly 45/50 miles you climb Llangynidr Mountain; which is a 3-mile slog that zaps your legs before the run. Get this wrong and say goodbye to any energy for the run.
Getting back into transition is a straight forward affair before you set off on the 3 lap half marathon around the lake and park. This element is superb for spectators as they can see you on the course multiple times with very little walking in between. Just when you thought the hills were left behind on the bike, you run around the lake only to be confronted by more hills to run up.
The run course is challenging but aid stations are well placed and couldn’t come quickly enough for me. Refreshments at the aid stations are varied and as usual the volunteers are fantastic.
If you really wanted to challenge yourself, or are training for a difficult Ironman race, then you won’t go wrong with The Brecon Titan. I struggled on the bike and I think left my legs half way up Llangynidr Mountain which really affected my run. Although thoroughly difficult, I loved this race, which was helped by good weather. I would imagine if the weather wasn’t great, this would make a difficult race even harder, but most triathletes are bonkers enough to probably still enjoy it.
Verdict: for anyone training for Ironman Wales, sign up now. For anyone wanting a flat course, try the Cotswold 113.