The Epona 100 Race Report

100 miles. 5500 meters vert. 23 mountains. 30 intense hours.

The Epona 100 Race Report

A year ago Pegasus Ultra Running, my favourite event organisers by far, announced they were planning their first 100 mile race: taking in 23 mountains over 5500 meters of elevation around the beautiful Brecon Beacons & Black Mountains.

If I was going to do my first 100 miler with anyone, it would be with these folks. I signed up immediately.

Since then it's occupied my every waking moment, I've been obsessed with it: the training, the kit, the fuelling, the route, the strategy.

Now, after a year of anticipation, and 6 months of intense training, this Saturday was the big day. Here's how it went!


I did a series of posts about my training, kit breakdown & strategy so feel free to read those for more detail.

The night before I stayed in the lovely Abergavenny Hotel a short walk from registration. They were very accomodating, wishing me luck for the event and setting me up in the room the furthest from their bar to minimise any noise.

I walked over to the Cricket Ground where the race HQ would be for the weekend. Here we had registration, kit check then a briefing to ensure we could all get going early the following day.

It was a lovely vibe: lots of us had gotten to know one another over the last year through various recces and discussions on kit, so chatted away on the grass which helped dispel some of the nerves.

On the way back to the hotel I chatted to Mark: who had finished 56 100+ mile races in his time and would end up 3rd male on the day.

Despite all the anticipation / last minute panicking I did manage to get a good night's sleep, waking up at 03:45 refreshed and ready to get my gear on.

Lining Up

Arrived back at the Cricket Ground for 05:20 to have my tracker turned on, was told how to activate the SOS button on it too in case of emergencies.

Then it was chatting away with other runners on the start line in anticipation of the whistle being blown at 06:00.

Weather for the weekend was dry and sunny, with a little cloud cover that would help enormously later on.

06:00 arrived and off we went.

Start to Linda Vista

13 miles total

Pushed forward at the start as the path to Sugar Loaf gets a little narrow, didn't want to get stuck in a pack there.

First climb comes pretty quickly, here I was running next to Rhys Morgan, who I'd end up sticking with until the base of the Blorenge later.

Sugar Loaf we'd climb now, then it formed the last climb we'd make around 97 miles later before descending back to the finish.

Came off the mountain the wrong way and had to turn back, a good sign of our navigational skills 😅. Thankfully another runner shouted out to us and we got back on track. Made a crucial error here though of trying to go through the ferns back to the right path, only to get our feet soaked through at this early stage.

From here it was a nice downhill over the moors then some field crossings and a long lane stretch before reaching the base of Skirrid Fawr.

This climb was INSANE. It's a hands and knees scramble up the steepest side of the peak, and hearing Rhys' reaction to seeing it the first time was priceless.

From there we descended Skirrid along its long ridge, through the woods and back down to Abergavenny for CP1.

Realised here we'd both pushed far, FAR too hard on this first section. I had broken my rules of sticking to a 06:00/km or slower pace and keeping the HR in zone 2 for most of that stretch. That would have to change quickly.

Linda Vista to Clydach

24 miles total

Left CP1 to ascend the next peak: The Blorenge, a tough long slog up a steep woodland path, then around to the top with views over the previous 2 ascents we'd done.

On the way up Rhys and I met his friend Gav who was hiking with him for a stretch, we chatted away about fuelling for a bit, then our paces started to deviate, so I ended up pushing on ahead.

After the Blorenge it was a flatter stretch all the way to Clydach before descending into the valley for CP2.

The checkpoints were just outstanding: arriving here at the first drop bag point they had my bag ready, handing it to me when I arrived, then getting me set up on a chair.

Had a lovely cup of tea and cheese toastie here from the fantastic volunteers. Rhys came in shortly afterwards and we chatted a bit. His water bottle was broken so ended up lending him a spare I had, would definitely need both bottles in the later stages.

Stocked up on food and salt tabs, refilled the water, then got going.

A mistake here: I should have checked my feet out and changed my socks. They were wet from the first section but I pushed on instead, and that would cost me by the next drop bag point at CP5.

Clydach to Trefil

35 miles total

Immediately after the checkpoint was a long slog of a climb up to the Lonely Shepherd.

The heat of the day was starting to get to me here, and pushing too hard in the earlier stages caught up with my body.

I'd been using PH1000 salt tablets in my water, but my stomach was starting to reject them and I felt it begin to reject food too.

After that climb was a long stretch over the moors of the Brecons, with much of it exposed with no shade.

Developed a hot spot on the lateral side of my right foot, thought it was a blister but in hindsight it's bruised, a little worried about it still.

Long road stretch through the Brecons, then a longer moor section before finally descending to CP3. This one was the toughest so far, felt neverending, and I did start to worry how much I was struggling 50k in.

Thankfully CP3, as with all checkpoints before and after, was chock full of lovely friendly volunteers who couldn't do enough for you. I got me a cup of tea and Kev made me a bacon sarnie that really hit the spot.

Got a blister plaster and adhesive dressive over the hot spot and switched to plain water here now the salt tablets weren't working for me.

Trefil to Talybont

47 miles total

Walked out eating the sarnie and sipping some water to help my stomach settle.

This next section was horrid: it was mostly off trail crossing the beacons, you needed your map out the whole time and constantly had to change direction to stay on line, leading to a slow pace in the increasing heat of the day.

The hotspot I'd patched over wasn't feeling much better, it didn't sit under where my foot usually falls so I could cope with it, but when hitting the trail at an angle I knew about it for sure.

Eventually ended up at the last climb of the stretch up to a trig point overlooking Pen y Fan to the south and the Talybont Reservoir to the north.

From here we descending down to a 6 mile gravel track to CP4. I was not feeling good at all, even though it's a downhill stretch I was walking a lot, feeling exhausted and overheated.

When I got into the aid station the volunteers looked concerned: they helped me sit down, eat and drink something, we agreed it would be best to be checked out by the medics. I think it was heat exhaustion, it had got to me badly.

Thankfully by the time the medics had arrived a cup of tea, a rest in the shade, a good chat and some food had made the world of difference. They checked my vitals, blood pressure, blood sugar, and were happy I continued if I felt ok myself.

I promised I'd take the next section steady and take my time getting to the next checkpoint. It was only 14k away and I had plenty of time.

An extra special super thank you to all the volunteers at CP4 (Claire, Lee and the others!). They took amazing care of me, and I think if they hadn't pushed me to wait, reset and get seen by the medics my race would have been over during the next section if I'd foolishly pushed on. 🙏

Talybont to Crickhowell

56 miles total

Leaving the checkpoint I was faced with another brutal climb, so much for taking it easy 🤦‍♂️. The ascent of Tor y Foel was rough and went on for ages. At least the view at the top was great.

After this were was a long descent down over fields to the canal path along the River Usk, which continued all the way to Crickhowell.

On the descent I hit the halfway point, which felt absolutely mad after all we'd been through already, and not a little daunting.

Took it steady with a jeffing approach along the path. Even though it wasn't that long distance wise the samey nature of the canal made it feel like the stretch kept going on and on.

Was able to get a little food in here and some water, my stomach feeling better for the rest and rapidly cooling day.

Eventually reached Crickhowell for the biggest aid station, CP5 at 56 miles in. Here was the sleep station where people could rest, get some shut eye if they liked, and prepare for the hardest stretch of the whole race.

Did a lot of admin here: ended up putting three dressings on my feet alongside taping some smaller patches, changing my socks, reapplying anti-chafe and having a cuppa with a pot noodle.

The volunteers continued to be amazing, couldn't do enough for you. Given a warm drink, food, water bottles refilled, and some much needed company whilst resting.

I opted not to sleep here, instead just sitting down for a while before going out.

Last thing I did before leaving was brush my teeth, I'd heard it's a great way to refresh you mid race.

Crickhowell to Mynydd Du Forest

72 miles total

I left the checkpoint feeling restored. Considering I was skirting a DNF from seeing the medics and Crickhowell would have been a logical place to stop (drop bag in hand, easy place to be picked up by my partner, night hadn't set in yet), leaving it felt like a victory.

However things turned bad as I approached the night section. See up ahead was 16 miles, the longest stretch between aid stations, all over the highest point of the course, the Black Mountain range. Not only that but you have to climb up there first from the fairly low lying Crickhowell via Table Mountain on to Pen Cerrig-calch.

A belly full of food I thought myself set up ready for it. However my stomach quickly turned and, on the climb, I lost my dinner over a bunch of ferns. I was so pissed with myself. Rather than having the energy for the next stage I was instead going into the night on an empty stomach.

Here was the darkest moment of the race, both externally and internally. I had this dry mouth yet drinking water didn't satiate it and, if anything, made me feel more queasy. Food was straight out as an option, the night set up with some thick fog so I couldn't see more than a few meters, and I spent the whole of this stretch hiking, just trying to get through it.

Couldn't shake wanting to call it quits: I was telling myself I'll stop at the next checkpoint, then I was telling myself turning back and going to Crickhowell would be faster and safer, then I was worrying I'd get in trouble up in the mountains and how would I get down safely from Waun Fach. Honestly felt like my race was over.

The only thing that got me through was looking down at this, a LOT:

The hiking did me good, combined with the chill of the night my body temperature dropped and the blood returned to my stomach a little. I felt horrid all round the mountains themselves, however on leaving the ridge and entering the tracks in Mynydd Du Forest I was starting to feel myself again.

I started being able to drink water again and even took on some calories, strangely from the sugary pick n mix I'd packed as a treat from Chris and Laura.

Through the forest was a long zig zag of logging roads that lead slowly down towards the Grwyne Fawr river. I started run/walking this stretch to up the pace again and got myself closer and closer to CP6.

Amazingly, even though I had slowed right down, I didn't get passed in this section. I think during the night all the other runners has also slowed to hiking pace due to the poor visibility and tiredness.

By the time I crossed the bridge to reach CP6 thoughts of withdrawing had left, and I was just glad to see some friendly faces.

Here at the checkpoint were Catrin and Kyle, who rapidly got a cup of tea (I drank a lot of tea on this race huh) into my hands, Cat put a dry robe round me, and we chatted away for a fair while. Strangely my body was happily accepting rocky road bites so I had a tonne of them which got some much needed carbs into my system.

Was struggling to stay awake here, I think it was about 02:00-03:00 in the morning and my eyes were drooping (probably quite rudely as I was mid conversation with the volunteers 😂)

Kyle convinced me to take the poles in my drop bag with me. This would prove to be crucial as they helped loads that last stretch in rebuilding some momentum.

Huge thanks to these two, it must have been a tough checkpoint to run being so remote, with large gaps between runners arriving.

Mynydd Du Forest to Gospel Pass

79 miles total

Left CP6 clicking my poles away and feeling renewed. A good cuppa and some rocky road will do that to you.

This was a mercifully short stretch, rising gradually back into the mountains as the sun came up. Due to it being just past the Summer Solstice it was an exceptionally short night.

With the sun up spirits rose too. It started to drizzle a little but to be honest it was nice and refreshing.

Little to report here. I was moving, faster than expected, and powered by finally having something in my tummy to fuel me.

Reached Gospel Pass (fun fact: it's the highest road in Wales sitting way up in the mountains) for the penultimate checkpoint of CP7.

Things were looking up. The night was behind me. I was still moving. And from here there was only 2 more stages left to the finish.

Chatted away with the folks at CP7, who had set up a warm tent with sides to keep the wind off. Found out here that Jon had dropped out after seeing the medics: he'd pushed so hard despite coming into the race with an injury, I was massively gutted for him.

Another cup of tea, then off back into the mountains.

Gospel Pass to Llanthony

90 miles total

In what ended up being a theme, it was a big old climb straight out the checkpoint up to Hay Bluff. The poles made this significantly more manageable however and I was up before I knew it.

Once up to the Bluff it was a fairly straightforward stretch. Some short climbs but mostly a gradual descent along the ridge of the Black Mountains east towards Llanthony.

My pace increased along this stretch, thanks to the poles I was able to keep a better momentum and ran a good deal of it.

The switchback descent back down to Llanthony felt like it took an age though, it was narrow and technical, not what you want with 90 miles in the legs.

Coming down to the abbey I was filled with hope. Sure literally everything ached. Sure my stomach was the size of a pea. But it meant one thing: only 10 miles to the finish!!

Here at CP8 Claire and Karen were here for a good chat. It was great seeing Claire again after she'd done such a fantastic job making sure I was ok at CP4. Karen gave me some advice around chewing gum to help motivate your body to take in food, which worked well as I ate a whole bag of crisps before leaving.

Sat for a fair while here before getting up for one last stage.

Llanthony to Finish

100...flipping...miles total

You guessed it, immediately after the checkpoint, one heck of a climb. It was a beast, coming up the valley away from Llanthony. Breathtaking views, but brutal.

From the top though it was a nice gradual descent to the base of Sugar Loaf, all the time with that last climb looming ahead of you. Just need to get up Sugar Loaf one more time then I'm home free to a warm bath, vast quantities of pizza and a nice cosy bed.

Unfortunately my body was having other ideas. The day was beginning to get hot again now the morning chill was leaving. The fatigue, lack of fuel and water was catching up with me.

As I approached Sugar Loaf I caught up with Ben, Nic and Ed, who checked if I was ok. I couldn't keep up with them on the long ascent back up the mountain, and started feeling more and more queasy.

Stopped multiple times on the way up, sitting on the trail and calming my breath. I was feeling faint and genuinely felt like I was close to passing out.

After struggling up I'd managed to make it to the top. Lay down, then immediately threw up. All that was left in my stomach was water so that all came out. Lay for a minute longer, despite being only 4km from the end, needed a minute.

On the descent I bumped into lovely Colin, Kath and Rebecca, fellow Running Punks who had come to support. They were climbing up Sugar Loaf and gave me a good dousing in water to help with the final stretch. That splash helped me enormously as, even though it was all downhill, I still felt overheated and exhausted, I needed that to stay upright!

Last 4k I tried to keep a good pace but still needed to walk lots of it. Leaving the last bit of trail though it was time for a sprint to the finish on the road to the Cricket Ground. Was the road always this long? Where is the turning into the grounds? Which end in the finish line on??


I crossed the finish line holding my daughter's hand in 30 hours, 12 minutes, reaching 14th place out of 106 (Strava link)

Post Race

I was properly broken Sunday night, my partner got us some food on the way home, I had a bath then collapsed into bed, waking up with an especially painful lurch as my muscles seized up. A fitful sleep with lots of getting up to get more water (was very dehydrated), I did begin to feel better on Monday after moving round more, forcing myself to walk and refuel, feeling more like myself on Tuesday after my body was able to utilise that fuel to start the recovery process.

It still hasn't quite hit home yet, the scale of the weekend, actually crossing that line. There were so many points I thought for certain I wouldn't finish, so many times it seemed an impossibly daunting task.

What got me through was:

  1. The support of my family, that wonderful tag on my shoe reminding me of their belief in me
  2. The truly outstanding volunteers who made every checkpoint a reinvigorating, rejuvenating experience
  3. The blood, sweat & tears I'd put into preparing for this over the last 12 months, too stubborn to let that go to waste
  4. Not wanting to come back and do this all again next year!

What Went Well

  • First up the training: it paid of dividends in the end. My legs survived the whole thing, able to keep me moving up all 23 ascents. Of special note was all the hill hiking and vert work, which prepared me for the strain they'd be under both on the ups and downs.
  • Doing long recces of the course helped: it set expectations of what was coming and what I'd need to prepare for between each stage. There were definitely times when ignorance would have been bliss mind 😅
  • The COROS Apex Pro 2 watch did me solid. 30 hours constant tracking, no pausing, with a lot of map screen usage to boot, and it still had 20% battery at the end
  • The Merrell Agility Peak 5s: I was on the fence at the start of the year as to whether these were the shoes, but I'm so glad I used them. They kept me going, propelling me forward and protecting my feet with no issues to speak of
  • Bridgedale Lightweight T2 Merino Sport socks: probably a little too thick for the heat, I'll try the Ultralight ones next time, but they wicked moisture away from my feet well and, even though I did get blisters, my feet look pretty good after 100 miles all things considered
  • Poles, my goodness they made the last marathon of the event much easier. More psychological than anything: having something to do with your hands, the additional momentum, the poles clicking against the ground. Then for the ascents they helped me push up on tired legs. Shout out to Kyle for recommending I take them from CP6
  • Resting longer at aid stations, taking the time to have a cuppa and try to reset my stomach paid off, if I'd rushed it I wouldn't have finished
  • Dealing with blisters and foot care in general, switching socks at aid stations and carrying a blister kit to sort out any issues when I could

Lessons To Learn

  • Training for a 100 miler is prohibitively expensive. The increase in your food bill (fuelling all that training), the amount you spend on shoes (increased weekly mileage mean they last less time), running nutrition, trying out different products, anti chafe, and that's before pre race hotels and mandatory gear for the day
  • Keeping injury free and away from illness during training and on the taper for the event is a real challenge. A few folks had to defer due to injuries sustained during training
  • Weight loss and ultra training are incompatible. I gained a stone of weight during the 6 months of intensive training!
  • Years I've been doing this and I still haven't found a sodium product that works for me. The PH1000 tablets didn't work for me around the marathon mark and I was left using plain water throughout. That would be fine but I could feel the impact of reduced sodium in my system as the race went on and water wasn't going in as easily
  • In addition to the above, I really need a better alternative solution for getting sodium in that doesn't rely on the stomach, such as Salt Stick Chews which can absorb through your mouth instead
  • I should have changed socks earlier at CP2; knowing they were wet from early on it would have saved the increased blistering I experienced later on
  • Both for me and the other runners after talking to them at checkpoints, the biggest issue by far was stomach problems. Not being able to eat, to keep food down, or to even drink water without issues. I need to figure out a way to better sustain eating food on the move as the race goes on as food == mood
  • Heat exhaustion is a big thing that seems to impact me more than most, and I honestly don't know how I can prevent it next time. More rest in shade / checkpoints? You still then have long stretches in the sun between
  • Zinc tape isn't the best for blisters, doesn't stay on well. Use KT/Microporous tape instead for better adhesion

Injuries & Recovery

  • A few blisters but none particular bad. No toenail issues
  • Bruised medial side of my right foot, no idea what caused it. Slightly worried it's a stress fracture but could also be just some bruising and it's not swollen, keeping an eye on it
  • Extremely sore and achy, especially my back from carrying a heavier than normal bulky pack for 30 hours
  • Getting out of bed was painful Sunday and Monday, but refuelling and rest helped reduce this by Tuesday
  • My appetite didn't return until Monday night despite eating so little during the race
  • However, considering just how badly my hydration, nutrition and self care went, I think I got off lightly.
  • First walk on Monday, 2km to the shops, very stiff but the movement loosened me up and helped dispel some of that lactic acid
  • First run on Tuesday, 5km super duper slow. Felt a million times better afterwards

Thank Yous

First and foremost to my partner Zoe. It's not just the support on the day, or the childcare over the weekend, or seeing your partner collapse into bed after you've spent 3 days looking after the kids full time, but the months of weekend recces, increased training volume & constant, incessant obsession with this race that she has had to deal with. I could never have got close to the start line without her and am forever grateful. No more 100 milers for a while I promise.

To the god-tier volunteers from Pegasus who made it very hard to leave every checkpoint, they were just too nice. From hot drinks to refilled water bottles to toasties to chats to smiles to incredibly well organised drop bags, they were amazing. I arrived at most checkpoints an exhausted grey mess, and left them all reinvigorated and hopeful. Claire, Karen, Laurie, Chris, Kev, Catrin, Kyle, Clare, Bernie, Lee, Paul and the many many others whose names I didn't catch, thank you 🙏

To the Running Punks and their never ending support and belief on the run up to the race, with a huge shout out to the Bristol Punks along with Colin, Kath, Rebs and Jac for being at the finish line to cheer me on.

To the Epona recce crew set up by Mike: a whole community built purely out of our mutual insanity in signing up for this event. We had some great times exploring the route, comparing notes and keeping each other (relatively) sane on the lead up. It was great to catch up with everyone at the Cricket Grounds pre race.

And lastly but in no way least Rhys, Cerys and Nye for organising the event itself. The second they announced it I signed up, if I was going to do my first 100 miler with anyone it would be with Pegasus.


This event consumed me for a full year, and I'm not quite ready to do that again soon (nor is it fair on the family!) so I'll be putting a pin in 100 mile races for the time being.

Up next I'm revisiting the EDDUM in August to try and beat my last time, along with volunteering for the PIGUM and RIDUM to give back even a fraction of the support I received this weekend.


I recorded a video diary as I went around, mainly to help me remember things for this blog. It is basically the insane ramblings of an increasingly unwell looking man, however it's uploaded below if anyone wants to see the wide range of emotions I went through during the race.