Welsh Castles Relay 2017 (10-11 June)

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Welcome to The Castles, a 2 day, 20 stage, 211 mile, staggered relay race mostly on road but with many hills and mountains on route from Caernarfon to Cardiff with an overnight stay in Newtown. It is organised by Les Croupiers Running Club Cardiff.

Teams compete in one of four categories – Open, Ladies, Vets and Business House. Races within races are also a key feature as individuals try to bag individual Stage Wins (and the precious Yellow Castles shirt  awarded to a stage winner) and teams battle it out for both the overall category awards and the special 'mountain stage' prizes.  There are six mountain stages in all and three team mountain stages; the Kings (Open), Queens (Ladies) and Monarchs (Vets) Mountain team prizes.  

The 35th Welsh Castles Relay will be held over the weekend of 10-11 June 2017. Entries will open in January (the date will be posted here).  The race is normally over subcribed so there is no guarantee of entry and we apply a selection procedure. We accept up to 65 teams, being limited by the need to minimise race traffic and to ensure safety.  

If you want to know more please read the FAQs or the 2016 WCR Race Pack (rules, logsitics, marshalling duties etc). If you have queries or need further information contact Amanda Thompson, Race Administrator amjanette@gmail.com


A brief history of the WCR...


1982       The WCR was conceived at the 1982 club AGM by John Thomas and John Taylor. The first Castles event took place one the 17th July in the form of a solo relay starting at midnight from Cardiff Castle and running through the night to Caernarfon Castle.

1983       6 teams competed, this time running in the reverse direction, starting on the Saturday evening in Caernarfon and running through the night. This was a true relay race with a baton being handed over at the end of each stage. For safety reasons each runner was followed by a Land Rover. 

1986       Change was forced upon us due to increased numbers of entries with 20 teams now running. This involved the current 'staged' relay format and the same format still remains. Each year we re-inspect the route and invariably make some changes typically for reasons of safety and access. Over the years we’ve modified most if not all of the stages. The womens race was also created in 1986.

1988       Alan Thomas joined the Castles Team helping Race Co-ordinator Reg Rossiter. 2010 will be Alan's last Castles as 'Race Director'. A tough act to follow...

1989       35 teams took part.  British Steel also sponsored a new competition called the ‘Kings of the Mountains’.

1990       Powergenagreed to become our major race sponsor. They stayed withus until 1998 and helped with other aspects of the race (for example producing a very professional looking the Race Programme).

1992      The stunning but testing Criccieth to Maentwrog Mountain Stage was added to the route.

1993       Air Products sponsored a Veterans competition.

1994       The race entry was increased again with 40 teams taking part. Corus also sponsored a 'Queens of the Mountains' competition.

1995       The race was reduced from 21 to 20 stages, by-passing Welshpool in the process and creating the WCR's Day One toughest leg (10), a mountain stage running from Llanfair Caerienion to Newtown, climbing 600 feet in the first 1.5 miles.

1998       For Les Croups members, the saddest year of WCR. Jeff Wood, a founder member of the club and a much loved character, collapsed within yards of the finish of Stage 1 and died. We remember him in part care of the WCR 'Jeff Wood' Memorial Award - given every year to the first over 50 vet to finish the nominated 'Jeff Wood stage' (always a non-mountain stage as Jeff didn't like hills !)  

2000       Two route changes, Stage 17 Merthyr and Stage 18 Nelson.

2001       The race is CANCELLED because of Foot and Mouth.

2002       55 Teams take part. Air Products sponsor a new section ‘Monarchs of the Mountain’ competition for Vets.

2006       60 teams accepted. Race traffic issues limit the size of the race entry though and a limit of 58 teams is set.

2009       The IAAF/WMA definition of a 'Master' as being someone aged 35 or over is begrudingly (?!)applied to the Vets race.

2010       Another Rule Change - only affiliated First Claim runners can take part in the WCR from 2010 onwards following complaints about some clubs abusing the previous Second Claim rule. 

2012  Richard Brewer retires from the role of Race Director.

2013  A new team headed up by John Griffin, Mike Davies, Jeff Aston, Amanda Thompson and Phil Cook with the continued support of a large band of committed volunteers. Teams of flying marshals are introduced to manage the marshaling of the race on all stages and tackle any tricky spots.

2014 Race entry raised to 65 teams

2015 "The best yet"

2016 O"Even better". One of the hottest, that's for sure!