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            100 miles and beyond

A few years ago 100 mile races in the UK were rarer than hen's teeth. Now there is quite a crop of them so we are almost spoilt for choice. A few are listed below together with some longer events. Before it was the very few that entered these sorts of races now they are regularly getting full fields.

Ultra Tour of the Lake District AKA Lakeland 100 - July. This is probably the best known of the UK 100s and has become very popular. It is a long distance trail race that encompasses all of the Lakeland fells with over 6000m of ascent. You are allowed 40 hours to complete it although the winner will be home in 23hrs. There is also a 50 miles race at the same time. More details on the event website

Centurion Running This race organiser puts on 4 100 mile events. The Thames Path 100 - March, the South Downs Way 100 - June, the North Downs Way - August and the Winter 100 - November. Full details can be found on their website.

They have teamed up with Extreme Energy Events to offer a UTMB (see below) qualifying package to enable runners to get sufficient points in three races to meet the UTMB qualifying standard. Provide you finish the events.

Western States Endurance Run, USA - 100 miles - June. This is one of the oldest ultra races and is the blue ribbon event of the 100 milers. It starts in Squaw Valley, California, follows the Western States Trail and ends in Auburn, California. Because it is so popular there is a ballot entry system and you have to run a qualifying event before you can enter. Full details on the WS100 website.

There are great may 100 miles races in the USA most can be found via Ultramarathonrunning.

Ultima Frontera 160, Spain - 100 miles - October. This 160km race in the Andalucia part of Spain was new in 2011. It is organised by Team Axarsport in conjunction with Paul Bateson, an experienced runner and race organiser. There are also 50k and 80k races at the same time. The 160km trial race is not for the faint-hearted as it contains a significant amount of climb. This is why it has been awarded 4 qualifying points for UTMB.

Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc (UTMB)-167km (104ish miles) - France - August. This is the one everyone wants to get in. They only allow 2300 competitors and in recent years it is over-subscribed so they have a ballot system. To enter the ballot you need to have obtained a minimum of 5 points in 2 qualifying races. The event starts in Chamonix and passes through Italy and Switzerland as it circles Mont Blanc. There is a 46 hour time limit which might seem generous but there is a huge amount of climb. There are other shorter events at the same time and there is a party atmosphere in the town for the event. Details on the website which is also in English as well as French.

Grand Union Canal Race - 145 miles - May. The Grand Union Canal Race (GUCR) is run from the centre of Birmingham to the centre of London along the Grand Union Canal. Competitors have 45 hours to complete the route. The drop-out rate is quite high as the unchanging course exacts a heavy toll on the body and the spirit. For the ultra running fraternity this is one of the UK's iconic events.

Hopefully that has given you an insight into the far distant realms of ultra running.

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