From finding the perfect training plan to wondering what is needed out on the trails, there is no doubt about it, taking on your first ultra marathon can be a daunting task. To help alleviate some of the worries you might have about undertaking the challenge, we have pulled together a list of the top 5 questions people normally ask us when contemplating going beyond a marathon, to walk or run their first ultra marathon.
1. Can anyone do it?
Going beyond a marathon is a scary prospect but no matter what your age, gender, size or current fitness level, we believe you can achieve this goal. Whether you choose to walk, jog or run, you can tailor the trek to suit you, taking it on over 2 days and staying at the overnight basecamp, or completing the distance all in one go. From the moment you sign up, you will receive everything from training and nutrition plans to access to a supportive online forum with a community of over 1,500 like-minded people.
Most definitely not! From elite runners to casual Sunday walkers, anyone can take on our events and that is the true beauty of the trails, you can tackle them however you like. Whereas a marathon is usually about speed, an ultra marathon is all about endurance, so even if you are choosing to run the trails, we would probably advise against you attempting to run the whole thing!
3. How do I prepare for an ultra marathon
The key to success, in any event, is training and preparation and an ultra marathon is no different. With a large proportion of our participants taking on an ultra marathon for the first time, we provide a professionally designed 20-week training guide for both walkers and runners to help you get in shape. You will also have access to our online participant hub where you can ask questions and seek advice from others who are taking on the ultra challenge.
“Many people will burn in excess of 7,000 calories taking on the trail; think of all the snacks!”
Of course! Whether you enter as an individual or a team of 20, it really doesn’t matter. Regardless of if you turn up alone for this incredible challenge, we can promise you will not be on your own out on the trails for long. It’s not just our pit stop crews located every 10km along the route that will help motivate you, but all the other participants you will meet along the way. It seems there’s nothing quite like trekking up an unbelievably steep hill to help bond people together!
5. How will I know where to go?
Haven’t read maps since that time you got lost on your Duke of Edinburgh expedition? Fear not, your safety is our number one priority when you are out on the trail, and ensuring you stick to the signed route is a large part of that. The trails are tested in advance and our incredible route team make sure there are arrows for you to follow at every point. With a total of 4,700 arrow signs used across our trail series, if you do happen to make a wrong turn, it will soon become apparent.
6. Will there be water and food along the way?
Perhaps one of the greatest reasons to take on an ultra distance event is the food! Every 10km along the route we provide fully stocked pit stops geared towards keeping your body fuelled and hydrated. From peanut butter and jam sandwiches to watermelon and orange slices, the food varies from pit stop to pit stop, with a hot meal provided at the halfway point basecamp. Many people will burn in excess of 7,000 calories taking on the trail; think of all the snacks!
Even signing up for an ultra is an intimidating prospect, but the reward completing such an incredible challenge is something that will stay with you for the rest of your life. The training will test you, the trail will tire you, but when you cross that finish line and reflect on the distance you have conquered, the friends you have made and the money you have raised, you will understand why our walkers and runners keep coming back year on year!