Last updated: 25-Oct-18
By Luke Jarmey
We’re pleased to announce our top race reviews for the month so congratulations to Shaun Marsden (@SpontaneousPlan) who will receive a pack of 33Shake Chia Energy Gels.
The Ice Ultra
Shaun delivers a jam packed Ice Ultra review in Sweden, filled to the brim with interesting nuggets of information. He describes how the race organisers managed the tough conditions well, ensuring the safety and comfort (where appropriate!) of the runners. The conditions themselves sound rather brutal; apparently -10C is warm… But that’s the whole fun of it right? Finally, we loved Shaun’s closing phrase ‘Take a moment, soak it in, YOU’RE IN THE ARCTIC CIRCLE. OH YEAH!’
In no particular order, here are our remaining nine top reviews.
The Pilgrim Challenge North Downs Way
The Pilgrim Challenge North Downs Way is a staple of the UK ultra calendar and Sarah Crunning (@SarahCrunning) writes an overwhelmingly positive account of her experience. She describes a muddy, hilly and windy course… which certainly fits the bill of a UK winter ultra. But also a fantastic sense of comradeship between the runners and organisation from the XNRG team.
The Coastal Challenge (TCC)
The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica (TCC) with its exotic location and highly competitive field is certainly one of those ‘must do’ dream ultras. Elisabet Barnes (@UltraRunEli), who placed 2nd in the Women’s field, describes the TCC in the perfect opening line; ‘a magical race in a magical place’. Challenging terrain and high heat and are recounted, but also relaxing camp life and fantastic atmosphere… This all sounds like delicious race ingredients to us, which is further cemented with Elisabet’s final description ‘One of the best races I’ve ever done’. High praise indeed, coming from the overall 2015 MDS Women’s Champion!
UK runner Damian Hall (@Damo_Hall), who had an excellent finish, with 5th place in the Men’s, echoes Elisabet’s sentiments in his review. Sketching an enticing picture of beautiful beaches, mountains, rivers and jungle, his describes it as ‘a fantastic holiday with some great running thrown in’. If that isn’t a gloriously ‘British’ ultra running attitude for these kind of events, we don’t know what is!
GB Ultra Thames Trot
The GB Ultra Thames Trot in England also received two top reviews this month.
John Hunt (@johnvoorhees1) loved the great organisation, picturesque scenery and fruit-cake-stoked aid stations. They probably helped with what he describes as a route consisting of 80% sloppy mud. Though of course, only the winter weather could be held accountable for that.
Simon Welch (@786_SAW) also found the mud hard going, but like John, was a sucker for fruit cake… apparently it was ‘to die for’. Magical cake mixture aside, he praised the superb organisation and stated it as the ‘perfect race for those wanting to step up to the ultra’
24 hour events and their repetitive nature can be ‘flipping’ tough on the mind, but in her review of the Endure 24 in Reading (England), Debbie Simpson was surprised that she didn’t find the 5-mile circuit boring. Her interest was piqued by the variety of the terrain and she liked looking forward to repeating certain parts of the course.
GB Ultra Country to Capital
Alan Lawrenson (@Lozza113) writes up a thoroughly informative pro’s and con’s list in his review of the GB Ultra Country to Capital in England. These include a quick course, combined with a strong field and friendly organisation. This is slightly offset by the sometimes complex navigation, which he rightly goes on to to describe as potential positive point, depending on your experience.
The Spine Race
The Spine Race in Yorkshire (England) is widely thought of as one of, if not THE, UK’s toughest ultras. In his review, Peter Wilkie (@MotherOD) states it as an ‘epic undertaking’. But he writes that the seven day cut off, which 2/3rds of the field fail to make, is achievable with good self suffiency and a steady pace.
The Moonlight Challenge
To round off our top 10 reviews, Jasmine Sandalli (@charminglass) writes an informative account of the Moonlight Challenge in Kent (England). In her review, she personally hails the Race Director Mike Inkster, plus his team, as particularly friendly and welcoming. This doesn’t make the course itself easy, but sounds like the it certainly contributes towards a fantastic overall experience.
What’s your experience? Have you run any of these races or others on our site? Do share your stories.
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