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More than 20,000 adventurers are set to take part in the 9 Ultra Challenge events in 2019. The all-abilities long-distance event series challenges you to defeat one of the many courses across the country.
What is an Ultra Challenge?
Endurance is the name of the game here. By hook or by crook, walking, jogging or running, you’ll be gunning for the finish line in a classic race-to-the-end.
Split into 25km, 50km and 100km routes, you are getting yourself into a potentially hellish (or casual!) day in the wilderness.
It really is that simple – though it may prove a little harder in practice.
Where are the Ultra Challenge races taking place?
There are nine locations hosting an Ultra Challenge in 2019
1.Isle of Wight Ultra Challenge – 4th to 5th May
Starting and ending at Chale, this run will take you along the coastal path, feature white cliffs, many ups and downs and stunning views of the sea.
2. London-Brighton Ultra Challenge – 25th to 26th May
Starting out in Richmond, London, this Capital to Coast route will see you walk, jog or run 66% of the journey off road; along the Thames Path, on to the North Downs, through Surrey and continuing on through the Sussex countryside. You’ll be crossing the finish line in Brighton to celebrate your completion.#
3. Jurassic Coast Ultra Challenge – 8th to 9th June
Poole Harbour will cast you off across kilometres of world-heritage-site coast, ending up in Bridport having crossed Corfe Castle, Durdle Door and Chesil Beach.
4. Cotswold Way Ultra Challenge – 29th to 30th June
Elevation is the enemy in this hill climbing test for the brave. Bring your boots and prepare for fantastic views and heaven-sent downhill sections. You’ll set off from Bath’s Royal Crescent, run through the Cotswolds, ending in Cheltenham – where you’ll likely need a cup of tea and a nap.
5. Peak District Ultra Challenge – 13th to 14th July
This run is new to the Ultra Challenge Series and is set to welcome up to 3,000 runners into the Peak District National Park. Those taking on the full 100k challenge will make their way along a figure of 8 route through the Park.
6. Chiltern Ultra Challenge – 27th to 28th July
Another new event to the Ultra Challenge Series, this is a 100km circle of ancient footpaths, forests and Chiltern hills. Easy to get to, not somewhere you’ll want to leave.
7. South Coast Ultra Challenge – 31st Aug to 1st Sept
This scenic challenge starts out in Eastbourne, before guiding you up Beachy Head, over Seven Sisters, along South Days Way to Brighton. This is only the half-way point, where you’ll continue on to Devils Dyke and end up in Arundel.
8. Thames Path Ultra Challenge – 7th to 8th Sept
Head upstream from Putney Bridge, passing Hampton Court and on all the way to Henley.
Feel like a gentler stroll? The Thames Bridge Trek will take you 25KM through central London, so now you have no excuse.
9. North Downs Ultra Challenge – 28th Sept
The ninth and final event from the Ultra Challenge Series is a special one; it’s a preset 50km Ultra Challenge from Farnham to Reigate, with an evening of celebrations waiting for you at the finish line.
Go individual or as a team. Fund yourself or go for charity, it’s time to test your mettle.
How can I prepare for an Ultra Challenge?
Exercise, unsurprisingly, is fairly essential here. But, come challenge day, you’ll receive help along the route, with way-stations every 12.5KM and shuttle buses too and from the start. Aside from the too and from, the Challenge app can help answer your pertinent questions.
Back to exercise: training walks and days are available in the build-up, with equipment lists and preparation videos to guide you pre-challenge. If you’re new to endurance events, start plenty in advance and work your way up to the distance you hope to accomplish with the Ultra Challenge Series.
Is it safe to do an Ultra Challenge?
In short, yes – of course.
The paths are fully signed, with Trek Masters roaming the route to make sure you’re happy. Stubbed your toe? Vehicle teams are ready and waiting. You’ll be tracked too, so the Challenge Masters will know precisely where you are… and if you take a shortcut!
Getting hungry? Don’t sweat. There’ll be food (and drink) waiting for you at key points along the way. Toilets (clean, you’ll be happy to hear) and even the odd crack-team of masseurs ready to fix those knots in no time.
What do I do if I get lost on an Ultra Challenge?
Getting lost on an Ultra Challenge is nearly as impressive as finishing one. The route is fully signed; pink arrows, distance markers, reflective tape… the lot! There are also PDFs of the area map, Google maps has links and you’ll get a route card when registering.
You should be fine, stop worrying.
Why should I sign up for an Ultra Challenge?
Because it’s a challenge! Okay – If the prospect of physical exercise isn’t good enough, how about eternal glory, a shiny, shiny medal and the chance to raise money for charity?
The Ultra Challenge Series has raised over £20 million for UK charities so far, has 10 key charity partners but works with over 400 UK charities.
The challenges cost £5 to join, which compared to other endurance events is pennies, so getting your friends to throw in a few quid can quickly add up.
As the title suggests, this is a true challenge – something that, should you achieve it, will take pride of place on your mantelpiece.
Fancy a challenge but not an Ultra Challenge?
The Ultra Challenge Series is not for everyone, and if you’re just starting out with jogging or running you may want to start smaller. Check out our Events Calendar to see what’s coming up in a town near you!