Saltgate's Tim McBain wins Ultra X Wales ultramarathon


30 August 2022


Head of IT Tim McBain was the first to finish the Ultra X Wales challenge.


The five-day event is an intense measure of endurance, covering 250km in distance and over 9000m in elevation.


Tim took on this mammoth challenge to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society UK.


A cause close to Tim’s heart, his wife Donna has lived with MS and the symptoms that come with it for 19 years.


We caught up with Tim to find out more about his incredible achievement.


What was your overall time for the entire ultramarathon?

My overall time was 35 hours 31 minutes.  My Strava breakdown was:


  • Day 1: 45km, 1803m elevation gain – 5hours 28min
  • Day 2: 51km, 2189m elevation gain – 7hours 7min
  • Day 3: 43km, 1658m elevation gain – 5hours 51min
  • Day 4: 69km, 3200m elevation gain – 10hours 50min
  • Day 5: 53km, 1069m elevation gain – 6hours 35min


I covered 261km and climbed (as well as descended, which becomes just as hard!) 9,928m.


There was a 50% drop out rate for people during the week.


What was the hardest part of the challenge?

The heat was the worst part. It got to 33 degrees in Wales so running over the mountains without any cover, paired with only being able to carry one litre of water was very challenging.


There were times when I ran out of water during the longer mountain sections, so it was a huge relief when I reached the aid stations that provided water. However, there was no food at the stations, so I had to carry them from the start of the day.


I used the streams that run through the valleys as much as possible to help cool me down.


Was it as you expected? Did anything surprise you about the challenge?

I was amazed how beautiful southern Snowdonia is. I went to university nearby in Aberystwyth but never fully appreciated the sheer beauty of the mountains and coast. I want to go back to Wales and take my kids on some of the routes we did (the shorter ones!).


I also hadn’t expected to build so much camaraderie with the other competitors, especially those who were my tent buddies. I’m sure I’ve made some lifelong friendships.


My family were staying in a cottage nearby so could they could see me finish on some of the days, as well as visit me in the campsites.


The immensely physical and highly emotional experience with them has brought us even closer together.


How do you feel now you’ve completed it?

It took me four or five days to recover both physically and mentally. My feet were swollen and I constantly felt tired.


I did get off quite lightly compared to some of the other runners who had bad blisters and other foot and muscle damage.


Would you do a similar challenge again in the future?

Having come first in Ultra X Wales, I’m now eligible for the Ultra X World Championships in Slovenia in 2024 – which I’ll definitely do!


It’s another 250k multi-day event with similar elevation. I’m also looking at doing another multi-stage race next year, possibly in Wales again and maybe one in Mexico.


We continue to be impressed by Tim’s determination and commitment – we’re very proud to call him a member of the Saltgate family.


If you’d like to support Tim or give him a congratulatory donation, head to his JustGiving page:
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