Darth Mannion 2015 Part 1, The Castle Run in Less Than Twelve Parsecs.

Darth Mannion Part 1

Called the darkside of running, the Darth Mannion Beach & Swamp Run Challenge is a half marathon on South Gower over challenging terrain and including four river runs, three sea entries and one sheep dip! You can go to the official Darth Mannion website here. It is such a spectacle that I have split it into three separate blog posts.

Pennard Castle

The first part is based at Pennard Castle and involves the steep decent into Three Cliffs Valley.  I got their early at 9:30am on Saturday morning. The weather was glorious, and the valley as always looked spectacular.

Three Cliffs Valley

Remember winter? Me neither. The second day of equinox spring and it felt like summer. Pennard locals Katy & Jane had seen my post on facebook and bringing their children with them formed the first crowd to greet the brave Darth Mannion runners.

Darth Mannion 'Crowd'

Now in its sixth year the race is its biggest and most organised (pity the victims of previous years). Yet some runners looked in real pain even at the 5km mark passing Pennard Castle.

Darth Runners

I chose Pennard Castle as the kamikaze steep decent over sand and rock was never going to disappoint.

Going downhill fast

Fairplay some runners were charging down the slope.

Charge

Lead by Darth himself.

Darth Mannion

It is a paced peleton system, with runners in groups led by a guide who controls the pace. There are no winners or losers. Robin Benton below lead one of the groups. It is all about the challenge of taking in part…

Robin Benton

…and the fun of it. Here Charles Phillips show a grimace that is literally flying the flag ‘of the fun of it’.

Darth Mannion 'The fun of it'

With all runners safely down the slope and into the valley, they were now going on to Pobbles Bay for the first sea dip, and I was of to Pwll Du Bay to gets some photos of the river run, which you can read in my next post Darth Mannion Part 2 ‘Join The Darkside’. Below is a gallery of all the images from Pennard Castle, DimExcuses.