Multi-day Running Events
As adventure tourism takes off, the number of multi-day endurance running events around the world increases.
Three UK multi-day events are the Original Mountain Marathon, Saunders Lakeland Marathon and Grand Union canal race.
However, you don't have to abroad to find friendly, challenging and established long distance races - there are many in the UK.
The Compton 40 and Buxton High Peaks challenge are two that I have enjoyed in the past and are great races to start on. Unfortunately, there are only a handful of multi-day running events in the UK.
Three such UK multi-day events to be considered are the Original Mountain Marathon
(OMM), the Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon
(SLMM), and the 145 mile Grand Union canal race
Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon
Both the Saunders and OMM require teams of two to carry their own equipment including a tent. They are also similar in that they are mountain navigation events. Competent use of compass work is an absolute must.
There are however differences. Neither should be underestimated, but the Saunders is run during the summer, whereas the OMM is much later in the year. The OMM, an event renowned for toughness, often throws some of the worst weather possible at competitors. In 1998, out of the 87 elite teams that started, only 28 finished. This is an event that is not to be entered lightly.
The Grand Union canal race offers a different challenge. It is a non stop event with some strict regulations. For example, I am told that you are not permitted to stop for more than 15 minutes at any one check point, and there is a cut off point at 70 miles of 19 hours. You are however allowed support runners and an organised support team is more than advisable.
Original Mountain Marathon
While there are many multi-day events in more exotic places around the world, there is a popular event in France - the Great Verdon Race. This is a trail race consisting of 3 stages, each around 40 km, covering mountainous paths in the Regional Park of the Verdon.
It is not a race that tests orienteering skills, but there is an immense amount of climbing on the race. At just over 110 km long, it is a very good stepping stone for longer events further afield.
Such events are sometimes only spoken about in passing as there is little information on them. But the whispers of gruelling ultra-distance multi-day events in various places in the world are true.
Desert races such as the Trans 333, Marathon des Sables and Jordan Desert Cup are widely known. There are also events in China following the Great Wall, and in Alaska, running the great Idatarod Husky trail.