MEDIUM ULTRA RACES
Not quite as many in this category as the 'short', probably due to the popularity of the 50k distance (31m), but still a great many to choose from. Again we have just picked out a few to give you a flavour. A few years ago you could just turn up on the day and register, now many of these events are sold out months in advance. Forward planning is essential.
All the events listed are off-road or a mixture of trail and road except for the Barry 40, which we included for the nutters - sorry track racers. Only joking Ed & Phil have both taken part in track ultras and they are okay.North Hants Ultra -
35 miles -
May/June. Also called the Shires & Spires. This is a great event, with a pretty low-key start and finish, but good organisation and checkpoints. It is a mixture of trail and road, passing through lovely Northants countryside and along country lanes through villages. The organisers Go Beyond Ultra
also organiser a similar event in October. the "Round Ripon" ultra. See below
Round Rippon Ultra - 35 miles - October. This is a great alternative to all the ultras south of the midlands, with a pretty low-key start and finish, but good organisation and checkpoints. It is a mixture of trail and road, passing through some beautiful Yorkshire countryside and along country lanes through pretty villages. Also included is the Round Ripon Relay for lightweights who want to experience the joy and freedom of ultra running without actually needing to run an ultra.
Compton Downland Challenge - 40 miles - March/April. This is a super race organised by a small running club, Compton Harriers, it is in the heart of the Berkshire Downs, which means undulating terrain and great views. The weather can be very variable ranging from warm sunshine to driving sleet and snow depending on the year. But, no matter what the weather there is always a warm welcome at all the checkpoints and ample food and drink.
The High Peak 40 Challenge - 40 miles - September. This is a cheap as chips event, well organised with well stocked checkpoints and a hot meal at the end. The route is mostly through the Peak District National Park on a mixture of track and road. As you can imagine it is a bit hilly. It earns qualifying points for UTMB. If you do not know what this is have a look at the 100 miles upward page. However there is plenty of time to get to the finish as the event also welcomes walkers. Phil likes this event, even though he has fallen a few times during it. More details, of the event not Phil's falls, on their website.
Brecon Beacons Summer & Winter ultras - 40 miles - May/December.
These very hilly races start in Talybont on Usk and take you through the Brecon Beacons. The December event can be particularly testing due to the weather conditions. With both events it very much depends on the weather as to whether you see the wonderful views. Organised by Might Contain Nuts, who also have a shorter and longer event in their portfolio.
The Barry 40 Track Race - 40 miles - March. The Barry 40 is the longest running annual ultradistance event in the UK and takes place on an athletics track. Though it may be pancake flat its reputation as a tough test of endurance is richly deserved. The lack of any variation takes its physically as well as mentally punishing. There is a time limit of 6 hours so you need to be a little bit quick. That is 4 hour marathon pace. The race is very popular, although that is a relative term, there are only 40 places, and fills up quickly. Organised by Les Croupiers Running club.
Devil o' the Highlands - 43 miles - August. This event always gets talked about fondly by those who have done it and it is a must do for the committed ultra runner. The website doesn't start well "12 Hours, 43 Miles, Mountains, Valleys and unpredictable weather .... Are You mad??" But it does go on to say "This race is ideal for anyone who wishes to up their race distance from a marathon and experience real Ultra-distance running in the excellent company of fellow runners and the views of some of Scotlandís most beautiful scenery.(unless of course the mist comes down)" You need to have your own back-up crew for this event.
That is a taste, have a look around on the internet, pay your money (more for some races than others) and enjoy.