Fallen runner Brett Mahoney loves extreme challenges, especially if it’s in his beloved Welsh mountains.
Earlier this month, the 31-year-old who lives in Abergavenny and works as Gwent’s Outdoor Development Officer for The Outdoor Partnership, completed a new 116.9-kilometer circular running route – called tour – in the Black Mountains region of Brecon Beacons National Park which he designed himself.
Beginning and ending in the center of Abergavenny, the route took him and three friends on a grueling journey to the peaks of 25 mountains and the significant hills of the Black Mountains.
Brett and his friend Tim Woodier completed the course, with 5,263m of vertical drop, in 20 hours and 37 minutes despite gusts of 50 mph, snowstorms and temperatures of minus 15 degrees in exposed areas. Brett described it as “one hell of a day!”
He is now hoping that other fallen runners will be encouraged to take on the Rownd Mynydd Du – Black Mountains Round and he is fascinated to see how fast they can complete the course.
Brett and Tim were joined by their friends Dylan Williams, who achieved their own goal of completing half of the course and Ryan Flowers, who was forced to stop 10km from the end due to the freezing conditions – he predicts to restart the round in warmer conditions.
“I absolutely loved every second of the 95k race,” said Brett. “After that I started to slow down and it was a relief to finish. For the last 30-40 km, we were in a complete mountaineering kit because it was very cold.
“I have spent the past 10 years developing my outdoor skills and leading in the Black Mountains. It was an incredible personal achievement to finally connect all the peaks in one turn. “
Brett combined the race with raising £ 310 in sponsorship for the Longtown Mountain Rescue Team. “I and thousands of others can go on an adventure in the Black Mountains knowing that this team is there if we need it,” he explained. “The sponsorship was my way of making a small contribution and promoting the fantastic work that they are doing. “
Explaining his passion for the Welsh mountains, which started as a child, he said: “It is the feel-good aspect of being out in nature in some of the most remote places that is good for your soul. I consider my descents to be an adventure and I love being there to find the most efficient way to cross the mountains.
He loves his new job with The Outdoor Partnership, which he started in July, supporting clubs and encouraging more people in Gwent to access outdoor adventure opportunities.
He has already successfully organized an employability session for young people aged 16 to 24 who have done canoeing, mountain biking, climbing, hiking and caving to encourage teamwork and leadership skills. Other sessions are planned for 2022.
He has also helped a local running club expand their junior section and supports Monmouth Canoe Club coaches by funding a whitewater safety qualification.