First Ever Vegan Ultra Event: Vegan Welsh 3000s (V3K) Interview

The Vegan Welsh 3000s is the world’s first all-vegan ultra event.

Since 2014 the race, also known as V3K Ultra, has been part of SkyrunningUK. The route takes trail runners across the tallest peaks in Wales, testing the limits of endurance athletes from around the globe.

In order to learn a bit more about the race, and how it all got started, we asked the Race Director Kirsch Bowker a few questions.

vegan athletes v3k

What is the Vegan Welsh 3000s?

The Vegan Welsh 3,000s is a mountain ultra race that ascends all 15 mountains in Wales that are over 3,000ft, that’s 55km with 4,000m ascent!! It is one of the most technical races in UK, crossing knife edged arêtes and some very steep inclines. But what makes the race unique is that all runners have to adhere to a plant based diet for the day of the race or face disqualification.

Where did the idea come from?

Kirsch Bowker and two other vegan friends completed the well known Welsh 3,000s route in 2011, (Welsh 3,000s has been a mountain challenge for 100 years). The friends decided the next year they would run the route and would invite other vegans to take part. Because they had a couple of non vegan friends who wanted to join they stipulated anyone could take part so long as they ate a plant based diet for the day. As word spread others became interested and it changed from a fun run to a race. That first year 12 runners took part, this year we expect in excess of 200 to register.

vegan athletes v3k

How long has the race been going on?

We are in our fifth year.

Do you have to be vegan to participate?

No. We want to encourage non vegan people to consider veganism and we can’t do that by ostracising people, therefore our rues state people must eat a plant based diet for race day. We help people with this, quite a few people go plant based for the month, and each year a handful of runners message to say they are going to continue with veganism. We also get messages from people who aren’t running but who have read about us and decide to try veganism, realising that if people can complete this race on a plant based diet then there can’t be any energy issues with veganism.

vegan athletes v3k

What has the response to the event been like?

Apart from some vegans getting upset that we allowed non vegans in at the beginning the response has been extremely positive. People love it! Helped by the fact that we have the most amazing bunch of volunteers, it’s an awesome route and by the mountains and mountains of delicious food that we serve!

When does the V3Ks take place?

It’s on 18th June 2016.

When did registration for next year’s race begin?

Saturday 19th September 2015.

vegan athletes v3k

What should someone bring to the event?

Runners will get a full kit list.

If people would like to take part, but not necessarily run, is there another way they can help out with the event?

Yes please!! We need lots of volunteers to make this event continue to be a success. Please email us if you can help during the weekend or if you have any skills you think may help with the organisation. Everyone is a volunteer.

vegan athletes v3k

Is there anything else you would like to share about the event?

This year we have changed the finish to a beautiful setting, Hendre Hall. This allows us to have a vegan festival at the same time as the race, so there will be camping, music, stalls and the chance to see some of the best mountain runners completing a grueling route on a wonderful plant based diet!

Where can people learn more? And where can the V3Ks be followed on social media?

You can learn more by going to Vegan Welsh 3000s or visiting us on our Facebook page or connecting on Twitter.


Thank you Kirsch!

Each year the V3K event keeps getting bigger. Last year’s race even saw the likes of Tim ‘Livewire’ Shieff. Watch a video he filmed while running.

What better way to show people what they can do when they’re fueled by plants than by having them become vegan athletes for the day!

The V3K is a great event for vegan athletes and any endurance athlete that likes a challenging course.

Read more from the Active Outdoor Vegans Series, and get inspired to get outside!

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