News What is an ultramarathon? Can anyone take part? What is an ultramarathon? Can anyone take part?


Report by Ian Lockyer
2017-11-23 22:10:24

What is an ultramarathon? Can anyone take part?

An ultramarathon is an organised race that goes further the standard marathon running distance of 26 miles, 385 yards. Ultra races typically begin at 50 kilometres and can extend to enormous distances.  Men and women compete in ultramarathons at all levels. 

Ultramarathons can be held on roads, trails and tracks.  Rules allow runners to go on their own steam. This means they may take walking breaks, pause to drink or eat and even sleep if the events are especially long, such as multi-day races. No penalty results from any such interruption, except for the time or distance a runner loses from his or her performance.

There are two types of events - those in which runners set out to cover a fixed distance (whether it be 100 kilometres, 1000 kilometres or more) and those in which runners attempt to cover the greatest possible distance within a fixed period (such as 24 hours, 48 hours or six days).

Pam Philpott who is one of the clubs strongest Ultra Athletes said,’ I believe anyone is capable of taking part in an ultramarathon, but like most athletic challenges you will have to put in the training.  Training is slightly different for an Ultra Marathon with time on your feet being more important than actual speed.’

She added, ‘Knowing your limitations and disciplining your pace is also useful.  Being prepared for any eventuality like a change in weather, the injury is also important. You can learn a lot about yourself when you take part in an Ultramarathon.   You don't have to be crazy to run an ultramarathon...but it helps...I would recommend it.’

If you are interested in having a go at running ultra marathons, please chat to those who are experienced in running these distances/races such as Pam, John Hunt, Bob Wild and Mark Foster.  A good place to start running ultramarathons is locally is through the Saxon, Viking and Norman Events which are generally lapped races, timed and well supported.  Their website is



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