LONG ULTRA RACES
There are a lot of races in this class, not only because there is a big spread between 45 and 99, but also because it contains the popular distances of 50 miles and 100km (62 miles)
As with the shorter distance events we have only featured a few to give a flavour of what is out there. We have included some international events as these bigger distances are probably more worth travelling for.
Country to Capital – 45 miles – January. This event has been running for a few years now and is a great chance to get back into the swing of things early in the new year. Starting close to Chequers in leafy Buckinghamshire it is well organised and passes through some pleasant countryside, particularly in the first half. The second half travels along the Grand Union Canal finishing at Little Venice, close to Paddington. Definitely one to do, it regularly attracts over 200 runners. Details available on the Go Beyond Ultra web site.
The Green Man Ultra - 45 miles - March. This is a relatively new event, although people have been doing the Green Man Challenge unsupported over the course for many years. Organised by Ultra Running this event travels around the outskirts of Bristol through some lovely countryside and has some great views. It will be an extremely challenging event if the conditions are very wet. You can read about it in Ira Rainey's book Fat Man to Green Man; From Unfit to Ultramarathon.
Rowbothams Round Rotherham - 50 miles - October. This is a very long standing event in the ultra calendar. It is well organised and passes through some pleasant countryside, it also passes through some unpleasant bits such as industrial estates. It used to be held in November when the weather could be awful, the move to October has improved things a little. Definitely one to do, it attracts about 300 runners. Details on the Rotherham Harriers website.
Addo Elephant Trail Run, South Africa - 50 miles - March. This race is a lot warmer than the Round Rotherham and is a well established event in South Africa. Organised by Extrememarathons it has absolutely stunning scenery, big climbs, therefore big views, excellent well stocked checkpoints and a lovely friendly atmosphere. It is Edward's favourite one day race.
Thames Trot – 50 miles – February. This is the biggest single day ultra marathons in the UK with over 400 registrants in 2012. The first Thames Trot took place in 2009, starting on the outskirts of Oxford the course meanders along the Thames Path to that other boating venue of Henley on Thames. One of the easiest UK ultras to navigate since it follows a single waymarked path the entire way. As with all Go Beyond Ultras the race is characterised by great organisation and a relaxed and supportive atmosphere. Details available on the Go Beyond Ultra web site.
Go Beyond Ultra are long-term supporters of The Cure Parkinson’s Trust, if you agree to raise a minimum of £250 for this charity you will receive a free entry for the Thames Trot. For further details click here.
Comrades Marathon, South Africa - 56 miles - May/June. This is THE ultra marathon. The first Comrades Marathon took place on 24th May 1921, Empire Day, starting outside the City Hall in Pietermaritzburg with 34 runners. It has continued since then every year with the exception of the war years 1941-1945, with the direction alternating each year between Pietermaritzburg and Durban, the so called up & down runs. It is part of the fabric of life in South Africa and now attracts almost 20,000 runners. That is not a typing mistake it is twenty thousand. Read more about the rich history and the race details on the Comrades Marathon website.
Winschoten 100k - 62 miles - September. This is a complete contrast to the Norfolk ultra as it is in a town, certified as canal flat and is a ten-lap course. It is often the venue for the European and World 100k Championships and has a great atmosphere. The streets are decorated and most of the people living along the route come out and spectate. It starts and finishes in a sports hall so there are good changing facilities etc. The organisation and entry system on the Run Winschoten website is very good.
Quite a bit of variety there. That is the joy of ultra running.