Ultra running sounds daunting, doesn’t it? It all seems a bit, well, intense. And it can be.
But at Ultra North, our ambition is to be as inclusive as possible, and we’re here to tell you that it’s not as intimidating as it sounds.
So if you’ve been wondering whether you could make it as an ultra runner, here’s our short answer: yes. Read on to find out why ultra running could be the next challenge to tick off your list.
What if I’m not really a runner?
This is one of the biggest misconceptions about ultra events - that you’re expected to run the whole thing! In reality, hardly any entrants run the entire route. The majority of participants run the flats and downhills and walk the uphills, and some even walk the whole way at a good pace.
It’s a fabulous way to experience beautiful scenery and some of the North East’s hidden gems, so if you want to slow down to enjoy them, then do! We’ve got more advice for walkers here.
Going the distance
Ultra North offers two different courses: a 25km and a 55km route. Now obviously those distances are significant - but if you’re a half marathon finisher, then you’ve already completed a 21km distance.
And if you can manage 21km, you can definitely manage 25km. Just like any running event, you’ll need to train, but the distance itself shouldn’t be a problem. In fact, moving from 21km to 25km is a great level of challenge - upping the mileage, but not too much.
Getting off the beaten track
So what else makes ultra running ultra? Well, aside from the distance, there’s also the type of course. Chances are that if you’ve taken part in a half marathon before, you’ve done a road race. In comparison, Ultra North is an all terrain course, taking in rural roads, trails and tracks as well as city streets.
This comes with challenges, too. Changing terrain can be tricky, and you’ll need to have your wits about you. As with any running event, we suggest lots of training, familiarising yourself with your route ahead of event day and some extra measures such as carrying a map or course notes and a fully charged mobile phone in case the worst happens and you take a wrong turn.
But there are *so* many rewards, including stunning scenery and solitude. Yes, solitude - with ultra running, you’ll find yourself running for stretches on your own. It’s a complete mindset shift, and one that many ultra runners rave about. You’ll have time and space to focus and to reconnect with your body - something that’s becoming increasingly rare in a busy world.
What if I lose my way?
The Ultra North routes are well marked and marshalled. If you’re nervous or new to ultra running, though, you can stick with a friend or a group all the way round. Plus, we really do advise you to take it steady, especially for your first ultra event.
Forget pace - it’s a journey, not a sprint, and you’ll want to soak it all up in order to really enjoy it. Break it down into chunks - focus on getting to the next checkpoint, no further.
Ready for your next challenge? Sign up for Ultra North today!