Ultra running events
There are so many types of events that you will be spoiled for choice:
- Point to point
- Loop courses
- On road
- Off road (park, campus, shopping mall etc)
- Mountain marathons, popular on the continent, mainly uphill
- Trail runs - off road on footpaths etc
- Races on running tracks, indoor and out. 24 hours on the 200m track at the NIA, Birmingham, for instance
- Timed runs - six hours, twelve hours, and twenty-four hours, are the most common. These are interesting in that even if you retire before the full time your distance is recorded, so really you cannot fail to finish!
Within the UK there are many ultra races. The London - Brighton 55 miles race includes some gruelling climbs and a steep-ish downhill finish to the seafront. The annual UK 100km Championships serves to guide selectors as to international championships and may be held at several venues. The Two Bridges 36 miler in Fife is a very popular event, an interesting shorter race and the Royal Parks Foundation Ultra is a recent addition to the UK ultra calendar. There are also a number of track events on offer each year.
Marathon des Sables
Worldwide there are a number of 'classics'. The Comrades Marathon, Pietermaritzburg - Durban, South Africa, 54 miles is probably the best known and certainly the biggest ultra in the world, celebrating 75 years of existence. That country also hosts the Two Oceans 36 miler, renowned for the spectacular scenery it reveals.
In Italy the 'Del Passatore', Florence - Faenza 100kms attracts over 3000 runners and walkers with a twenty hour cut-off limit, whilst the 'Spartathlon' Athens - Sparta, Greece, 154 miles, has a renowned, difficult route including mountain passes. France also provides many opportunities, each with its own special flavour, and most are well supported by the local population. A whole host of others, on every continent, and in most countries, can provide a challenge, an experience and a never-to-be-forgotten run.