BLADE RUNNER ULTRA MARATHON SERIES
50km RACE THROUGH SAS SELECTION HEARTLAND
DELIVERED BY AEE
BRECON BEACON MOUNTAINS
SUMMER EDITION 2019 13th July
WINTER EDITION 2020 11th January
The Blade Runner Ultra Marathonis a 50km fully way-marked race set in the SAS Selection heartlands of the Brecon Beacon mountains. Staged in the deep winter and high summer months, each edition of the race will visit iconic landmarks steeped in SAS folklore and following in the footsteps of a history of young men in search of something out of the ordinary. Forged on memories and nostalgia for our past endeavours and struggles as we pitted ourselves against one of the world’s great endurance challenges, we could think of no finer culmination than to stage the finish at the iconic old red phone box via Pen y Fan summit, the highest mountain in the Brecon Beacons range, the outline of which is engraved onto the heart of every SAS man.For our DS team it was always far more than a challenge or test, it was a pilgrimage and the adventure of a life time and we’re honoured and humbled to be able to share a small part of our past with those who take on the Blade Runner Ultra marathon challenge.
All runners who complete the course by passing through each RV point and making time cuts will be presented with a special cloth patch by one of our former SAS staff at the finish line. Category champion prizes will be provided by Paramo and our other sponsors as well as a framed route map featuring original SAS insignia.
The Blade Runner Ultra Series will be a Clean Fatigue category only with no Load Bearing element. There will be Men’s and Ladies fields in the following age categories.
ROUTE INFORMATION & RV PROTOCOL
The Bladerunner route follows a sequence of forestry trails, hill paths and old Roman roads, negotiating 2200m of elevation gain over the 50 km course. Along the route you will pass through a series of DS manned rendezvous points where you will be required to log in to have your name and race number recorded and your suitability to continue assessed. RV points will be stocked with hot food and drinks, with robust medical support and off-road vehicle rescue support. Owed to the very real risk of adverse weather conditions and the requirement to cover ground in darkness for at least two hours during the winter edition, the opening part of the course will be illuminated with military grade cyalumes to provide enhanced route marking.
The Blade Runner route map is available for download and print on this page along with GPX files for your GPS device.
BLADE RUNNER ULTRA START & FINISH
The de-serviced old red phone box has marked the start and finish points of the Fan Dance for nearly sixty years of SAS Selection. It has now become an iconic landmark steeped in the finest history and tradition of our Special Forces. The Blade Runner ultra-marathon will also launch from the very same location and be a welcome site at the end of the race.
THE BATTLE FOR JACOB’S LADDER
The legendary climb up Jacob’s Ladder is synonymous with SAS Selection and can be especially challenging to negotiate when covered in snow and ice. The rocky and step like upper reaches of this southern face of Pen y Fan is steep enough to require hand and foot placements to reach the summit. Jacob’s Ladder will be one of the most well-known and famous segments of the Blade Runner course, rivalled by a number of other equally fearsome climbs you will have to negotiate.
The early part of the Winter Edition Blade Runner course will be run in darkness so head troches will be required. Head torches will be required unless the moon state is high with clear skies. Past editions of our Fan Dance night trail run have been blessed with strong ambient light conditions, increased further by the snow on the ground so there’s always a chance absorbing the spectacular scenery by moonlight.
BLADE RUNNER LEAGUE TABLES
Blade Runner will have a league table for each category recording every edition of the race, ranking each historical finisher in order of their finish time. The Fan Dance Race has a competitive Clean Fatigue/trail run race league table of its own which can be viewed to assess the competition:LEAGUE TABLES
GENERAL EVENT INFORMATION
The Storey Arms Outdoor centre will function as the event Base Camp, administration area and Command Centre. Accommodation and meals are also available at the centre (winter edition only) with drying room access. The centre is located on the A470 at the foot on Pen y Fan mountain and the nearest towns are Brecon (North, and Merthyr Tydfil (South), both within a 20 minute drive.Street view
Owed to the early race start time Blade Runner will stage two registration openings, both to be staged at the event Base Camp. Race numbers issue and kit inspection will take place during the timing windows detailed below.
Friday: 18:30 -21:00
Race Day: 05:00 – 05:45
Friday: 17:00 – 21:00
Race Day 05:30 – 06:15
Event car parking can be found opposite the Storey Arms Centre and Pont at Daf, 500 metres south of Base Camp. There are currently no parking fees with toilet facilities at both locations.
A detailed check list in full can be downloaded via the button/link under this section. Below is a quick reference outline and guide of the key items. Event Directing Staff will carry out a pre-race inspection.
*Warm jacket & waterproof jacket
*Hat & gloves
*Basic first aid kit
*Head torch & spare batteries
*Compass & Whistle
*Watch & phone
*Food and fluids
The nearest major train station is Abergavenny which is accessible directly from the North, or via Newport for anyone travelling from the South. The nearest minor train station is Merthyr Tydfil but services are infrequent and less direct. Buses run from Brecon town and Merthyr Tydfil to the Storey Arms Centre. Many of our event patrons arrange ride shares through our social media pages.
For those traveling some distance to the event, there are many excellent places to stay near to the event Base Camp. All registered Blade Runners will receive our dedicated accommodation guidemade up of trusted hosts who have cared for our runners over the years.
The Blade runner 50km ultra was the toughest event I have done, more challenging than a 64 mile ultra marathon I had run. The first two hours in darkness was mentally exhausting, but the enjoyment came from the pure challenge of the race. I remember looking at my watch at one point and thinking I may not actually finish. The staff at each checkpoint were amazing and really pushed me on, giving me the little mental boost I needed. The hardest thing for me was completing this event alone, I did not know the route and had no company to motivate me. However I met some other competitions on route and ran together for parts, which really helped. Overall, the blade runner was the toughest but best ultra I have run, and I will definitely be back!