Forget your marathons, your bike rides and your mountain climbs. For a truly unique test of skill and endurance, the only place to be is a muddy peat bog just outside Llanwrtyd Wells in Mid Wales.
Here you'll find the challenging Bog Triathlon and its sister event, the globally famous World Bog Snorkelling Championships, which take place over the August Bank Holiday weekend. Whether you want to get down and dirty as a competitor or simply watch these brave athletes push themselves to the limits, it's one of our most entertaining and unusual events.
Like many of history's greatest ideas, the World Bog Snorkelling Championship was initially conceived in a pub. Specifically, the Neuadd Arms in Llanwrtyd Wells, a small town in the Mid Wales uplands. Now in its 33rd year, this unorthodox event is an unmissable part of our sporting calendar. But don't take our word for it. Lonely Planet described it as one of the world's top 50 'must-do' experiences.
More than three decades since its inception, the Bog World Championships now attracts competitors from as far afield as Sweden, Germany, the Czech Republic and even Australia. If you fancy competing for one of the most prestigious (in our view) titles in international sport – or simply fancy drinking a local ale while watching other people get stinky.
There’s the gruelling Bog Triathlon, a length of the 60-metre bog trench bookended by an an eight-mile run and 12-mile mountain bike ride. There's also a bit-size version which features a three-mile run and six-mile ride – plus the obligatory dip in the bog – which is ideal for younger and less hardened competitors. Then it’s the turn of 150 elite Bog Snorkellers, each trying to swim the murky trench cut into the Waen Rhydd bog as fast as they possibly can. The time to beat is that of English swimmer Kirsty Johnson, who completed the course in a world record 1’22.6” back in 2014.
Best dressed bog snorkellers
If you prefer style over speed, you can enter the Fancy Dress Section, which has awards for the best costumes. In previous years a pantomime horse was arguably the most difficult to snorkel in, closely followed by a man with an ironing board who was simultaneously competing in the other quirky international sport of another ‘Extreme Ironing’.
Waen Rhydd bog is located about a mile outside Llanwrtyd Wells, so it's easily walkable from town. However, if you want to reserve your strength to tackle the bog's murky waters, there's also a convenient shuttle bus. For spectators, there are plenty of food stalls, a bouncy castle, live music and plenty of real ale and cider (as you'd expect from an event birthed in the local pub).
If all this has piqued your curiosity, The World Bog Series is just one of a host of bizarre sporting events that take place in Llanwrtyd Wells. These include mountain bike chariot races, wobbly real-ale bike rides and the self-explanatory Man vs Horse marathon. To find out more about these alternative sporting experiences, check out the Green Events website.