Toughest UK Races

Hey all,

 I'm trying to track down the UK 10 toughest races. I'm looking for anything reguardless of how bizare it is ranging from tough guy, ultramarathons to bog snorkling!

Any ideas?




  • Hi Gareth,

    I guess it would depend on what you define as tough.

    Last year I did both Tough Guy events, the winter one actually being quite tough and the summer one just being enjoyable. I would put that in the top 10, probably about 10, providing that it is cold enough image

    At the top i would put the BG Round (or Paddy Buckley round - do you count these as similar events or seperate events? if seperate then put these as 1&2 in which ever order you fancy!)

    The 3 peaks challenge would fit in there somewhere, providing you go for a fast time.

    Then you can fill in the rest by throwing in some of the fell races in the lakes, the ultras (i.e London to Brighton, Brecon, South Downs Way etc)

    That is my personal opinions, based on foot races, I'm not too up to date on bog snorkling and the like so may have missed a few that belong in there and probably missed a few other toughies!

  • what no gucr ?... trumped now by thames ring i guess.

    and then there's race for life... man all that pink !

  • I hear Fellsman is tough, I'll tell you in ten day time image Only 60 or so miles but mostly unpathed, some huge peat hag sections, frequent hand on knees climb.

    What about these? I'll be doing Wasdale this year - 21m and 9000ft up and down, climbing amongst amongst many others Scaffel Pike.

  • tough is really quite hard to define isnt it ?
  • if you're a 25stone munter who hasn't done any exercise in the last 20 years bar getting up for some fags and to smack the kids then I guess the Race for Life would be tough

    it's all relative according to ability and type of event

  • howsabout a 120k duathlon ? image
  • I reckon the Thunderrun 24 hour solo is pretty tough - laps of 10k, very muddy, hilly, cross country, continuously for 24 hours - not only physically but mentally hard to not quit and having to pass your nice warm tent as you head off up that hill for another lap.  But then im a girl image

    The 12 hour Lightning run is obviously a piece of piss image


  • What i wanted to say was - tough is hard to define.  For me performing well at an indoor arena event would be a nightmare, but show me some mud and a hill and ill have a good time image

  • Stainland 7 in Halifax

    A seven mile road race that tricks the runners

    First mile is steep fast down hill, then followed by 6 miles of uphill

    An on road fell race - nice run though

    5th September 

  • Winning most well-established big city 10ks would probably be much tougher than any of the above.
  • sorry, "winning one of the well-established...".  winning all of them (or most of them) would be very tough indeed, to the point of impossiblity, assuming some of them are held on the same days
  • Hey guys,

    Thanks for all the replys basically what I'm doing is looking for the 10 toughest races because I do a lot of running for charity (about to do a mile on the hour every hour for 100 hours then a 10k) and was hoping to find 10 hard races and do them all next year! So the suggestions have given me lots to look into and think about!


  • Hmmm. I agree that tough is in the eye of the beholder. I think your after either very long "events", very tough conditions (e.g. underfoot, weather, hill climb) but probably aspects of both.

    My personal idea of very tough..... nay hell, would be a 24hr track race. At least something like Fellsman, UTLD100 or UTMB won't bore you to death with repetition. If I do something that tough due to the hills, etc,... I do it for the challenge but also for a payback in seeing some great rural landscape.

    for loads of ideas also see

  • MuttleyMuttley ✭✭✭

    What about the Trionium wife-carrying race - linky thing to this year's event in March.

    How tough it is will depend on whose wife you carry, I suppose.

  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭
    Jurassic Coast Challenge "Oner"?  78.6 miles.  13 000'.   24-hour cut-off.  Toughest thing I've done to date, anyway.
  • The Picnic. It's only a marathon - but one will more than your normal number of upflats. (See Trionium link)


  • compo 1compo 1 ✭✭✭
    Eyam and Buxton half mararthons
  • mr fmr f ✭✭✭
    Cheviot2000 fell race in June is the toughest race ive ever completed... 22miles of treacherous hills running through heather fields/bogs in Northumbria
  • Man v horse in wales is tough 22 miles in june normally hot and loads of hills all off road.
  • The Spartan Race is bringing out a UK race called the Super Spartan Half marathon with 50 obstacles also if you win one you get a FREE expenses paid trip to the USA for the death race which is the world championships.
  • GUCR, South downs way, Ridgeway, Thames ring or if you want pain do the Jogle April 2011 should keep you busy

  • Try The Terminator - 11.5 miles in Pewsey, Wiltshire.  Although it is a relatively short distance they run you up to the top of the hill and back down again x4, plus mud & rivers.  Fantastic run. 
  • compo 1compo 1 ✭✭✭
    try spen 20 in West yorkshire and Holmfirth 15 these both are tough but great races
  • Hmm, I think you should really mix your events up. Tough Guy, Hellrunner, Brutal 10, then mix some dualathlons in like Richmond Parks Classic, Arundel sprint tri and er....well that's my list so far for next year.

  • Lots of races claim to be the toughest in the U.K, but for the most part these claims should be treated with skepticism. 

    If an event is a serious contender  to be regarded as the toughest race in the U.K, it will have either very tough qualifying criteria, or a dropout of well over 50%, or more likely than not both.  If it does not have the above, then it is probably not even in the running (no pun intended). 

    I tend to think that events like tough guy talk a better fight than they put up.  You could pretty much pick a runner off the street at random, and they would have a shot at completing most of these events.  If I ever do one, I might change my tune. 

    The serious contenders would be found among the hardest ultras, triathlons and adventure races.  Among the single stage events, I am inclined to agree with WIB that the Bob Graham Round is the hardest to achieve. 

    Among scheduled events, I think that the Viking Way Ultra would have a pretty credible claim.  Minimum qualifying standard this year was completion of a 100 mile event (check).  Less than 25% of the field finished (check).  Another event that I would consider a very credible claimant for the same reasons is the Hardmoors 110. 

  • Agree with The Viking Way Ultra - distance and time limit made it very tough.

    The Spine has to right up there - Pennine Way , January, 7 days. The first 43 mile section took 15 hrs, the next 63 miles took 27 hrs - totally brutal. 3 finishers out of 17 starters.
  • Haven't seen Hardmoors110 in anyones list. It's second only to lakeland 100 in my book. 

  • I think the Hardmoors 110 is definitely in the argument. 

  • I'm biased as it's my favourite race and i help out on it tbh but as hill Ultra's go Hardmoors 110 is one of the best. And unlike some Ultra's  you can actually enter all four races (30 on new years day , the 55 which is the first half, the 110 and the 60 which is the 2nd half ) for £110-00  -thats last years prices mind but still amazing value.

    I think Lakeland is UK's toughest Hil Ultra race ( i don't really do the flat ones like GUCR but appreciate there toughness )

  • sorry if that sounded like a sales pitch btw, it wasn't - it's just that i'm finding the cost of some of the new races out of my reach. Lakeland is good value mind.

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