ULTRADISTANCE running returns to Jenner Park this weekend, with the 'Barry 40' set to test runners to their limits in the 40 mile course.

Racing over such arduous distances pre-dates the modern Olympic Games and was very popular in the mid-to-late 19th century.

In Wales too, many such races were held in Maindy Stadium, Cardiff, and the first sub four hour 40 miles was achieved there in 1967.

The local equivalent at Barry was first held on the cinder track in 1986 and was won by local athlete Mick McGeoch, who remains the race director today.

After converting the track to a synthetic surface the following year, the Barry 40 has been held every year, and has earned its place as a cult event on the global ultra calendar. In the previous 31 editions, no less than 61 world best performances have been set, and three Barry winners have gone on to win global titles: Carolyn Hunter-Rowe (1993), Simon Pride (1999) and Lizzy Hawker (2006).

Last year, an additional marathon event was added to the itinerary to give athletes a choice. The two races start simultaneously at 10am.

The stand out entry for this year is Steve Way of Bournemouth AC. Two years ago, Steve finished the distance in 3:54:52 in what appeared an almost effortless display, and celebrated by taking his three dogs for a run on Barry Island beach before the race presentation. Last year, Way used the race as a springboard to the Comrades double marathon in South Africa, an event where he finished a brilliant ninth and was the first non-African to finish.

A fascinating late entry for the marathon is that of 84-year-old Geoff Oliver.

He has completed the 40 miles here on nine previous occasions, set multiple world bests en route, and his sole concession to age is the fact that he has found someone to drive him to the race from his home in Leicestershire.

Of local interest is the entry of Barry competitor Lisa Cleary, who joined the local club aged 11 and will be competing in her 29th marathon, but first on the track.

Nine athletes are scheduled to start the 40 mile course and eight the marathon, coming from every corner of the UK to compete as well as France and the United States.

The race begins at 10am and admission is free.