What is an Ultramarathon?

What is an Ultramarathon?

What is an Ultramarathon?

A typical marathon is 26.2 miles, but why stop there when you can turn it into an ULTRA marathon?

The word ‘ultra’ may sound intimidating but that word simply means any distance longer than a typical marathon and they’re ideal for those wanting to push themselves a bit (or a lot) further.

Ultramarathons can be quite different from your usual marathon. Smooth roads can be switched to trails, hills, and deserts. Race distances vary with a one-day event typically covering 50k to multi-day events like the Marathon Des Sables covering 250km. Common ultramarathon race distances include 50k, 50 miles, 100k, and 100 miles, showcasing the variety of ultra-distance events.

And, while the terrain and distances may vary, all of them put your physical endurance and mental stamina to the test. Notable ultra-distance races include the Ultra Trail Mont Blanc and the Western States Endurance Run.

Why Choose Ultra Running?

For the challenge? To reach a fitness goal? For a sense of achievement? To be part of a community? There are many reasons why runners choose to take part in an ultramarathon and all are vital motivation when you’re 49km into a 50km race!

For most runners the ‘challenge’ is a major factor; the chance to push yourself to new heights and see what you’re capable of. Even casual runners who have only completed a half marathon can embark on the journey to participate in an ultra-marathon.

Ultramarathons are also becoming an increasingly popular antithesis to spending our working days sat in front of a computer. The chance to be outside and moving is liberating while also bringing people together to be part of a community, enjoying a sport without having to compete against each other. Ultra-runners face unique mental and physical challenges that make these events particularly rewarding. An ultra-endurance race requires total commitment, race management, and logistical planning, often with the support of friends and loved ones.

Our ultra events offer another important reason and that’s, ‘the feel-good factor’ as the entrance fee to take part in these XNRG events helps fund the clinics we run to provide children with no access to medical care with life-saving and life-changing operations and an eye care programme called Glasses for Classes.

Why Choose Our Ultramarathon Races?

Our events, in partnership with XNRG, are a really good introduction to the world of ultra-running. With the increasing participation in ultra-running, the number of ultramarathon races has risen significantly, making it accessible to more than just elite athletes.

We want to encourage as many people as possible to take part so we have three different distances, that can be run or walked, to choose from; 50km, 25km or a team of up to five can share 50km.

If you’ve never run an ultra before you can start by testing the trails and footpaths of the 25km or try walking the 50km. If you’re ready to run your first ultra you can do so knowing you’ve got a great crew looking after you. Some ultra races even allow runners to bring along a support crew on race day.

Our popular races, within easy reach of London, are well known for their great atmosphere with runners and walkers enjoying well-marked trails through beautiful scenery while being cheered on by a fantastic crew providing support and snacks along the way.

XNRG, who hosts the event ensure everything is taken care of so you can focus on the experience, this includes free transfers from the station, free parking, free photos, changing facilities and heaps of tea and cake!

To date, our partnership with XNRG has raised over £100,000 funding operations from skin grafts to neurosurgery as well as our Glasses for Classes program that provides eye tests and glasses to children with the poorest eyesight.

How to Get Ultramarathon Ready With Ultra Training

Slow and steady wins the race! Ultra’s are long so the key is to build up strength and stamina over time. Most people will already be regularly running and may even have a few marathons notched up, but ultramarathons are extreme and that needs to be reflected in the preparations. Unlike marathon training, which focuses on speed work, tempo runs, and long slow runs, ultra-marathon training emphasises endurance and time spent on feet.

Ultra training is very individualised and often includes back-to-back training sessions to build endurance.

Here are five things to keep in mind:

  • A good training plan that gradually increases runs and distances is vital.
  • Set achievable goals to keep training on track.
  • Don’t just focus on running. Strengthening muscles with weights will help build stamina and protect against injury.
  • Nothing happens without the right nutrition and hydration – know what needs to be consumed to get across the finish line.
  • Eye’s on the prize. When the races get tough remembering why you signed up and what it’ll be like to cross the finishing line will be great motivation.


With the right preparation and by choosing the right event (like the XNRG ultra) anyone can take part.

To take part in your first ultramarathon visit our events page

On race day, the importance of a support crew, training on specific terrains, and carrying necessary equipment cannot be overstated.

Good Luck!

Group 2918

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