Last updated: 01-Sep-16
When it’s cold and wet and you are up in the dark to get your long runs done in the long days of winter, it feels like summer and the chance to put all that training out there on the course will never come. But it’s here! Let’s look ahead to some of the biggest racing treats we have this summer.
Check out our readers’ reviews and if you are racing them this year, let us know so we can wish you luck and follow your progress: @RunUltra_UK. Of course, we also love to read what you thought, so don’t forget to leave a review.
UTMB (France, Italy, Switzerland)
It is the Mountain Race that everyone wants to win. The internationally renowned Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc extends to seven valleys, 71 glaciers and 400 summits. This ultra trail in the Mont-Blanc mountain range includes Mont-Blanc, Noire de Peuterey, Dent du Géant, Grandes-Jorasses, Aiguille du Tour, Aiguille Verte and the Drus vertical.
As part of a week long festival of ultras in the Alps encompassing three countries, the UTMB is the main event, taking place over two days. Registration is open to 2300 participants who have accumulated the necessary UTMB points, obtained by competing in the list of world ultra races approved by the organisers and found on the official website.
Badwater 135 (USA)
The name should give the clue as to what is ahead and the fact that it is held in …. Death Valley, California. Badwater 135 covers 135 miles (217km) of California’s Death Valley. Starting in the Badwater Basin, approximately 85m below sea level, the finish line is at Whitney Portal (Mt Whitney) at 2530m.
Started in 1978, the approximately 100 runners travel through Mushroom Rock, Furnace Creek, Salt Creek, Devil’s Cornfield, Devil’s Golf course, Stovepipe Wells, Panamint Springs, Keeler, Alabama Hills and Lone Pine. Many of these names give a very good indication of the extreme July temperatures (well in excess of 40ºC) and the stark landscape that surround the brave participants.
Participation in the Badwater 135 race is by invitation only and winners normally finish this race in less than 24 hours. We’ve got some RunUltra regulars competing in there, so good luck to Harvey Lewis, Mohamad Ahansal and all the runners.
Lakeland 100 (UK)
If you are good at navigation and love suffering, this one is for you, The Lakeland 100 is a circular route along public bridleways and footpaths through valleys and fells and starts and ends in Coniston, Cumbria.
The cut off time is 40 hours. It is a single-stage event that starts at 6pm on a Friday and ends at 10am on the following Sunday.
The race is open to individuals, pairs or 3-person teams. The route has 14 checkpoints that provide refreshments and food.
The route of the Lakeland 50 coincides with the second half of the Lakeland 100 with approximately 3100m of ascent.
Ring O’ Fire (UK)
Sneaking into the end of Summer is the Ring O’ Fire, the 135-mile coastal ultra marathon circumnavigating the Isle of Anglesey, North Wales, UK.
This epic foot race is staged over three consecutive days and follows the rugged and spectacular Anglesey Coastal Path around the island. The extreme distance and variable terrain places Ring O’ Fire as one of the most extreme ultra marathons in the United Kingdom.
Set against the dramatic backdrop of Snowdonia Mountain Range, Ring O’ Fire offers adventurous runners the opportunity to challenge their limits in some of the most awe inspiring coastal scenery in Wales.
Almost all the coastline of Anglesey is a designated “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty” and runners will encounter a wide variety of terrain, including: sandy beaches, shingle beaches, pebble beaches, steep cliff top paths, headlands, rocky coves, sand dunes, farmers’ fields and sections of forest and quaint villages. Parts of the trail are tidal estuaries, sandy beaches, pebbled and rocky coves, steep cliff top paths, sand dunes, farmers’ fields and sections of forest.
Hard Rock 100 (USA)
Hard Rock for Hard Men and Women. This race is a looped 100.5 miles of dirt trails along the San Juan Range of Southern Colorado (USA) with a total elevation of 67,984 feet.
Starting at 6am, the cut off time for the race is 48 hours. Hard Rock runners cover extremely rugged terrain, steep scree climbs and descents, snow, river crossing and boulder fields.
Alternating between clockwise and anticlockwise every year, this extremely challenging course leads participants from Silverado through the towns of Telluride, Ouray and Sherman and back, crossing 13 major passes in the mountain range. Survival and navigational skills are required.
Great Glen Ultra (UK)
There is more to Scotland than the iconic West Highland Way (although that IS a favourite) and the GGU is a nice one to try.
Starting from Neptune’s Staircase outside Fort William, the route follows a series of Glens along a geological fault-line to Inverness. You’ll run through some of the most stunning scenery that Scotland has to offer, whether down at the side of lochs & rivers, or climbing up through forests to the top of the hills which make the dramatic and vast glens.
The race starts at 1am from Neptune’s Staircase. Runners then have approx. 22 hours to cover the 71 miles of the Great Glen Ultra to Inverness where the race will finish at Inverness Athletics Stadium.
The Sinister 7 (Canada)
Under the shadow of the Seven Sisters Mountain, the Sinister 7 race is another one for climbers, the 100-mile (161km) course will take you through the most rugged, remote and beautiful terrain in Alberta’s stunning Rocky Mountains.
With nearly 5,700m of elevation gain across the course, this race will punish those who are not prepared.
The Sinister 7 is open to solo runners or teams of up to seven and racers have 30 hours to complete the gruelling event. The course is split into seven stages, each featuring a geographic and historic highlight of the area.
The race’s name is inspired by the treacherous Seven Sisters Mountain that looms over much of the course.
That is just a tiny sample of what is on offer. There are many more listed on our calendar – so check them out.