Get Active in 2023: A guide to sport & adventure events in Snowdonia

Challenge yourself this year with one of our favourite local events...

January is a great time to get active and set new fitness goals for the year ahead.

One of the best places to do this is in Eryri (Snowdonia) National Park and Cardigan Bay in North Wales, where there is no shortage of adventure activities and beautiful scenery to explore.

Whether you’re an experienced runner, cyclist, or swimmer, or just starting out on your fitness journey, there is something for everyone in this area.

For those looking for a challenge, there are several local annual events that are not to be missed.

In March, The World’s Steepest Street Run in Harlech is a unique event that takes place on the steepest street in the world, Ffordd Pen Llech, the distance is around 6km and this running event is suitable for people of all abilities looking to accomplish something a little different.

Image from

The Harlech Duathlon & Triathlon is another popular local event in March that attracts athletes of all levels. The distance for the duathlon is Run: 5km, Bike: 21.5km, Run: 2.2km and for the triathlon it is a 400m Swim (pool), 21.5km Bike, 5km Run.

Both the Duathalon and Triathlon end with the famous ‘Storm the Castle’ finish, ascending 108 steps to the magnificent Harlech Castle, and are great Sprint distance events to benchmark your fitness for the year ahead.

These events, including the Steepest Street Run, take place on the last weekend in March and are organised by Always Aim High Events (more details here).

Image from Always Aim High Events Facebook page

The Cader Idris Mountain Race has something of a cult following and is known as one of the most challenging trail runs in Wales. Taking place on the beautiful mountain of Cader Idris, it is also very scenic and will give participants a memorable experience of Eryri (Snowdonia). The running distance is 11 miles with about 3000ft of elevation (more details here).

Cader Idris – Snowdonia

For those who enjoy the extreme, the ROC Wales is an extremely challenging yet scenic race that takes place between Abersoch and Mount Snowdon. The event is a multi-sport event, consisting of a 1.5km swim followed by 50km bike route into the Snowdon Massif. After ascending Wales’ tallest mountain on foot and enjoying the panoramic view, participants descend 6km before the 2nd 50km bike leg back to Abersoch, where a final 1km run sees them across the finish line (more details here).

Outwest Images The ROC Wales 2022

In June, the Barmouth 10k is an extremely popular event that takes place along the picturesque Barmouth coastline, including running across the iconic Barmouth Bridge. It is a fairly flat course and is well-participated by runners of all abilities (more details here).

In September, the Cambrian Coast Sportive offers cyclists the choice of four different distances that tour Snowdonia National Park, for what could be one of the most beautiful rides in the UK! Starting with an impressive 50km ‘fun route’ and building up with a 90km ‘Standard Route’, 141km ‘Long Route’, towards the 162km ‘BIG DOG!’ route. This event will challenge cyclists of every ability (more details here).

Image from Wales Cycling Events Facebook page

Also in September, is the Hurly Burly swim organised by the Outdoor Swimming Society & the Swim Collective. It is a 10km challenging open-water swim event that starts on the sandy beach in Barmouth and takes swimmers under the iconic Barmouth Bridge, along the Mawddach Estuary finishing in Penmaenpool.

It is a great opportunity for experienced open water swimmers to test their endurance and enjoy the beautiful coastal scenery. If you aren’t a confident swimmer, you also have the option to run the same route alongside the estuary (more details here).

Jess Rose Images from Outdoor Swimming Society website 2018 Hurly Burly

If you’re looking for something a little less extreme, but equally challenging and rewarding, the Barmouth Walking Festival is an annual event that takes place in September, it’s a great opportunity for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy the beautiful North Wales scenery and explore the local area on foot.

The festival features a variety of guided walks spread over 10 days, led by experienced local guides, and suitable for a wide range of abilities, from easy coastal strolls to more challenging hill climbs.

You’ll discover some of the hidden gems of Barmouth and the surrounding area, with walks taking place in the Mawddach Estuary, the Dyfi Biosphere, and the beautiful Cambrian Mountains. The festival also includes walks to historic sites such as Harlech Castle, and walks that focus on specific themes such as wildlife and geology.

The Barmouth Walking Festival is a great way to get out and explore the local area, get some exercise, and meet like-minded people (more details here).

Image from Barmouth Walking Festival Facebook page

If you’re keen to embrace the colder months and test yourself in new and unexpected ways, then how about trying a trail run… at night!

For an added challenge, the Petzl Night Trail Wales in Coed y Brenin forest park takes a fairly runnable 3 – 4 km trail route with reasonable elevation and starts it at dusk, ending in full darkness. You have three hours to finish as many laps as you can. Those brave enough to give it a go will be treated to a real party atmosphere, with a DJ, bar, hot food and a race arena lit up with flood lights (there’s a number of other trail runs at Coed y Brenin, more info here).

Image from Facebook page – Love Adventure by Dan Struthers Photography


For those just starting out on their fitness journey and not wanting to commit to a big event, the Dolgellau Parkrun is a free, weekly 5k timed run that takes place in Dolgellau.

It is a great way to get started on your fitness journey and meet other like-minded people in the local community who can help keep you motivated, as you build your fitness levels towards a point where you feel more confident entering one of the events listed in this blog.

Everyone is welcome at Parkrun – families, kids and even pooches, you just need to register your details online and get your free membership barcode (more details here).

Image from Dolgellau Parkrun Facebook page


No matter what type of event you choose to participate in, Sarnfaen Holiday Park in Talybont near Barmouth is the perfect base for your active adventures.

 With a range of comfortable accommodation to suit different budgets, and easy access to all of the events and activities in the area, it is the ideal place to stay while exploring all that Snowdonia National Park and Cardigan Bay have to offer.

Plus, our Leisure Club with swimming pool, sauna, steam room, jacuzzi, cardio & weights gym are perfect for your pre-event training or post-event wind down. And you can fill up on cakes and coffee in our chillout café.

So, if you’re looking for a way to get active and explore the beautiful North Wales countryside, be sure to check out these great events and make Sarnfaen Holiday Park your home away from home.

(If you’re event takes you closer to the Llŷn Peninsula, be sure to check out our sister park Madryn Castle, which sits conveniently at the heart of the Peninsula and offers the same five-star accommodation and outstanding customer service that you can expect from all Pritchard Leisure escapes).


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