Tenfoot Swimrun Route Report

Andrew Wallace
23.06.19 08:11 AM Comment(s)

The Tenfoot swimrun is in its inaugural year this year, 2019. Before the route details, check out the promo video below... if this doesn't make you want to have a go, nothing will!

The organisers of the popular 5K swim event from Tenby to Saundersfoot, as well as the running and hiking events that follow the coast path, run the events for charity and have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds over the last few years since it started.

The concept with the new Tenfoot Swimrun is to go from Tenby to Saundersfoot using a combination of running and swimming starting on Castle Hill near Tenby castle and ending on Saundersfoot beach.

The total swimrun distance is 10 km, quite short for swimrun standards, but make no mistake: this course is intense and packs some punches with some brutal up hill runs and long swims.

The Route

Swimrun in West Wales
The Tenfoot Swimrun Route

The route starts on castle hill near Tenby castle with a pleasant 0.5km jog along the esplanade on to Tenby North Beach where you enter the water near Goscar Rock.

From there it's a 1.4 km swim to the beautiful Waterwynch Bay. The stretch of coast can receive big swells but has fantastic coastal scenery all the way.

Tenfoot swimrun tips and advice
Stunning swims await in the Tenfoot swimrun

The exit from Waterwynch bay is quite technical as it comes out onto a pebbly beach where you need to take care to avoid slipping on boulders.

An uphill run follows for about the next 2 km! It starts with unpaved steps coming off the beach, into a steep ascent through the woods via a cobbled/mud track on to Waterwynch lane, a tarmac road leading up to the main road between Tenby and Saundersfoot. Forget the image of a gentle, quiet country lane... this is a tough slog all the way to the top!

From the top of the hill you swing right and run through New Hedges village, before turning back down towards the coast, going through Trevayne campsite. Carry on going, through the woods and down onto the beach at Monkstone Point.

The reward is a fantastic view of the beach and a quick run along the flat sand to the first checkpoint.

Total running distance of this second run leg is about 4.1 km.

Swimrunning tours in Pembrokeshire
The beach as you arrive at Monkstone Point

After the checkpoint it's back into the water to go through the 'washing machine', the narrow channel at Monkstone point, nicknamed due the chaotic waves that can sometimes be present, coming from both sides, behind and in front! Don't worry, it's only about 25m to the other side.

Once through the 'washing machine' it's a left turn towards Saundersfoot as with the regular Tenfoot swim.

Sea conditions this side of Monkstone point are usually a lot calmer although in place of waves you may encounter jellyfish such as barrels and moon jellyfish. Don't worry about these either, just swim over them or use your hand/paddles to push them out of the way.

The second swim leg is approximately 1.4 km with great cliff scenery all the way. At the end of which you reach Swallow Tree Bay, a stunning and secluded bay that connects to the coast path.

The transition at Swallow Tree bay is technical due to the submerged rocks and beach boulders. Care should be taken here to exit calmly and safely as energy levels may be waning and the last thing you want here is a twisted ankle!

Small steps at the top left of the bay are the exit point and present a steep climb onto the forest path.

The chances are your lungs will be bursting by the time you get to the top of the steps so stretch it out once you're in the woods and take a chance to recover a little and take in the peaceful woodland atmosphere.

Swimrunning from Tenby to Saundersfoot
Steps at Swallow Tree Bay leading into the woodland run

The run continues for approximately 800m through the woods where you are surrounded by stunning woodland scenery and the sound of birdsong; as well as other swimrunners huffing and puffing!

Be prepared for some odd looks from hikers surprised at loads of crazies running through the woods in neoprene!

The trail veers off to the right before a campsite and you eventually join a small graded road section then go right, back towards the coast. Run down the tarmac road until a final right turn at the bottom, back on to the coast path, which takes you down a twisting set of steep steps - be careful, they can be slippery! Here you will have to duck under several trees that are growing across the path and then drop down onto Glen Beach, thus completing the third run leg of about 1.8 km.

Glen Beach is another beautiful, secluded beach with a gentle gradient to the sea. It's actually quite shallow for some way out so some wading may be required but it will give you chance to flush your wetsuit if you're hot and catch your breath for the final swim leg to Saundersfoot.

Swimrunning in Pembrokeshire Wales
View as you come down to Glen Beach for the final swim leg to Saundersfoot

The third and final swim leg is about 800m and goes around Saundersfoot harbour onto the main beach at Saundersfoot. The water is nice and shallow and this is a relatively easy swim but after the whole swimrun course your muscles may be feeling it a bit!

The final stretch is just a case of getting your head down and pushing through to the end where hopefully the sight and sound of all the supporters on the beach cheering you on will help you find those hidden energy reserves!

The exit transition to Saundersfoot beach is in shallow water so try to swim in as much as you can to conserve the last bit of energy for the final sprint to the finish line.

That's it, the Tenfoot Swimrun inaugural event, 2019.

Good luck!


Total Distance:


Elevation Gain:

185m - the elevation profiles of the three run legs are shown below:

Elevation profiles of the run legs in the Tenfoot Swimrun 2019


Technical, beaches with boulders, hiking trails, steps

Distances for runs (R) and swims (S):

R: 0.7km - easy run from Tenby castle along the esplanade to Goscar Rock, North Beach. Don't sprint!

S: 1.4km - tough first swim, likelihood of decent swells, fantastic scenery

R: 4.1km - technical transition, lung buster run, first half all uphill, descent on second half

S: 1.2km - medium distance swim starting with the 'washing machine', likelihood of jellyfish, great cliff scenery

R: 1.8km - technical transition, approx 50% uphill, 50% descent, peaceful woodland scenes

S: 0.8km - final swim leg, shallow entry and exit, calm water, get your head down and go for it!

Kit Requirements:

Mandatory: wetsuit, running shoes with good tread, whistle

Optional: hand paddles, pull buoy, tow float, gels, foldable water bottle/water