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Any running festival lengthier than a classical 26.2 mile (42.2km) marathon is considered an ultra marathon. Other than that, fairly much whatever goes.
Below are some best ultra marathons around the world:
Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, The Alps
The Tour du Mont Blanc, regarded as one of the Europe’s most famous hiking trails, is a must-do on any hiker’s wishlist. In August, though, the path is abode to the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc and turns into a hotspot for ultra runners from all corners of the world.
Since there are numerous races all through the week-long fest, the heart of the occasion focuses around the 110+ mile race that retracts across Mont Blanc, passing through France, Italy, and Switzerland. The trail itself entails crossing waterways, alpine hamlets, and forests, all against a stunning backdrop of the Alps.
The majority of participants complete the contest in 32 to 46 hours, with the greatest of the greatest running through the dark and finishing in 20 hours. With 10,000m of abseiling, it’s no mystery that only 60% of attendees complete the race every year. It’s also important to note that getting on the UTMB ballot is highly tough, and you will require qualification points from other trek races to gain entry.
Official website: utmbmontblanc.com
Fire and Ice Ultra, in Iceland
The Fire and Ice Ultra will carry us across plenty of fascinating and distant landscapes, from glacial flatlands and basaltic fields to magma and ash steppes, as its names imply. Along with the fire and ice, there are mud puddles, open peat bogs, clear night skies, and Herubrei, the ‘lady of Icelandic mountain ranges.
This route, which takes 6 days in phases from core Iceland towards the Arctic Circle, passes almost completely through unpopulated areas. The Fire + Ice team will build tents and also provide fresh water as part of this self-sufficient race, but the remainder is up to you. It’s also important to note that in past years, contestants have been revealed to witness spectacular displays of the Northern Lights, so keep a look out because you drift off after a long day of running.
Official website: extremeadventureraces.com
SPARTATHLON is a legendary mega footrace that occurs in Greece every September. Due to its distinctive background and history, it ranks among the most tough and rewarding ultra-distance races on the globe.
The Spartathlon follows in the footsteps of Pheidippides, an antiquity Athenian long range runner who traveled to Sparta in 490 BC, before the Battle of Marathon, to seek assistance in the Greek-Persian war.
Thus according Herodotus, the ancient Greek scholar, Pheidippides showed up in Sparta the day following departing Athens.
Official website: spartathlon.gr
Comrades Marathon, South Africa
The Comrades marathon, first held in 1921, is among the world’s earliest running races. It is still among the most famous, with a cap of around 25,000 runners and has the biggest prize money awards available.
The race generally occurs in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal Province but is often run on blacktop and dirt roads. The slope is 1166m, but the orientation of the path substitutes ever year, so this can differ. The ‘up’ route is approximately 54 miles (87 kilometres), while the ‘down’ path is approximately 56 miles (90km).
On the way, there are 5 cliffs referred as ‘The Big Five,’ that constitute the race’s most difficult challenge. You have 12 hours to finish the route, yet there are 5 split points with periods that you must meet throughout.
Official website: comrades.com
Ultra X 125, Scotland
Back in the UK, we have Ultra X 125 in beautiful Scotland. This 78-mile, 3363-meter-elevation hike traverses Loch Ness in two days. It pursues the morphological fissures of the Great Glen Way, which constituted more than 400 million years ago, and takes you from Fort William toward the Moray Firth.
It is often organized by Ultra X, the world-renowned organizers of ultra marathons in Jordan, in Mexico, the Azores, Wales and Sri Lanka. Ultra X will however give a Green Ribbon as result of their Management Plan to the contender who demonstrates the greatest dedication to minimizing their environmental effect both before and during the contest. We think it’s a great idea.
Official website: ultra-x.co
Montane Lapland Arctic Ultra, in Sweden
Montane’s Lapland Arctic Ultra begins in verkalix, in the Swedish region of Norbotten, and passes iced lakes and rivers along with snow-topped thick forests and distant mountains. In fact, you’ll pass the Arctic Circle numerous times in a region known as Europe’s last surviving wilderness.
There are 2 races from which to select is an 185km whorl from Verkalix to the north and back, or a 500km race that extends even further north in to Arctic forest.
Premises is available in the form of shacks and teepee tarpaulins with fires, but the occasion is primarily self-contained. Because of its position and the time of year, the days will be extremely short, causing you to spend plenty of time running in the shadows.
Official website: lapland.arcticultra.de
Falklands Ultra, in Falkland Islands
Entries are now available for a completely new ultramarathon in April 2023 on the Falkland Islands. We’re thrilled to hear what you think of this 100-mile race, which approximately includes the path taken by British Forces in the dispute with Argentina 40 years ago.
“With such little total area at that altitudes, the climate changes quickly,” the race website describes. Sun shining, chilly winds, severe weather, blizzards, and torrential downpours in the same day are not uncommon… The Falkland Ultra is a multi-season ultra, not a warm or cold-weather ultra.”
Aside from the race, a week program contains flights, lodging, and extra activities like sea kayaking, mountain climbing, field of battle trips, and wildlife visits.
Official website: falklandsultra.com
Marathon des Sables, Morocco
The Marathon des Sables is undoubtedly one of the most difficult footraces on this list, if not the world. It’s about the distance of six traditional marathons and carries you via Southern Morocco and over the harsh Sahara Desert.
It’s a six day marathon with midday temperatures reaching up to 50°C and a high cost of around $4000 US dollars. Moreover, there are a good number of donation spots offered.
You’ll pass through salt flats, rural places, desert grooves, stagnated river beds and lagoons, and a huge amount of sand. The Marathon des Sables, the founder and owner of French concert promoter Patrick Bauer, who was so moved by his path that he established the race, promises to be a life-changing encounter.
Official website: marathondessables.com
The Last Desert, Antarctica
The Last Desert is the Antarctic region’s sole multi-day race. The Last Desert in Antarctica is among the world’s greatest astounding journeys. Competitors travel up to 250 km / 155 miles across the world ‘s biggest desert, known colloquially as the “White Desert.” The race circles the Antarctic Peninsula, which has a rich history of arctic adventure and whale hunting. Glaciers, mountains, study bases, sealants, fowls, and penguins form the scenic backdrop.
Official website: racingtheplanet.com
La Ultra – The High, Asia
La Ultra – The High gets runners to the greater mountainous terrain of Ladakh, a huge cold desert that is portion of India’s Amazing Himalayan mountains, in 72 hours and 333 kilometers. The race is both brutal and beautiful. It can take you from 40 degrees Celsius to minus 12 degrees Celsius in just 6 hours. At ocean level, oxygen saturation are 50% of what you breathe. This race is an excursion, and for many, it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The only way to find out is to come and see for yourself. The race, the environment, the power, and the majestic Himalayas will take your breath away.
Official website: laultra.in
Ultra-Trail Australia (UTA), Australia/Oceania
UTA is a component of the UTMB Championship Series, with all ranges offering the opportunity to collect Running Stones, which are used to qualify for the UTMB Mont Blanc. The UTA100 also serves as a qualifying race for the renowned Western Regions 100 Mile Endurance Event.
UTA is a trek running festival unlike any other, and it’s only a 90-minute drive from Sydney’s CBD. It’s also established within one of the most stunning locations you can envision. The Blue Mountains are a world unto themselves, where you can lose yourself in the charisma of old town roads or venture out and discover the wide range of incredible trails just minutes from town.
Official website: ultratrailaustralia.com.au
The Jungle Ultra, South America
The Manu National Park is thick in the Rain Forest, an unspoiled vast area of simmering jungle and exhalation cloud forest stretching from the Mountain ranges to the Madre de Dios River. Its flatlands are only reached by boat, and its un-breachable nature is both why so many people are drawn to its gloomy undergrowth and why it has stayed so well maintained.
A 230-kilometer race divided into five stages through asphyxiating jungle brambles, river crossings, and cloud-shrouded montane valleys.
Runners must foresee strangling humidity and sweating in an attempt to remain cool. There will be a lot of mud and a lot of rain. There could also be times when you run in the dark, using a headlamp to pursue the highlighted route.
Official website: beyondtheultimate.co.uk