Fairlands Valley Challenge Ultra Marathon (New Ultra Distance added for this year)

I'm thinking about entering the 50km as my first ultra.

Does anyone know if it sells out?

Do you recommend it? The reviews are all pretty positive.


  • I thinking about it as it's pretty close.
    Don't know if it will sell out, I think last year the marathon places filled up quicker (but not full in 24hrs quick) but the other distances still had spare capacity.
    I did the 18 mile route last year, nice countryside, and great organisation. Certainly can't fault it.
  • Thanks Ian,

    I think I may just book it!
  • Just booked it!
  • I did the marathon last year and despite the dull forst 2 miles and dull 2 miles at the return (think concrete happy town planning on LSD) the run (26.2 version) was a good one, mildy undulating, lots of nice vistas and some friendly runners with LDWA-style directions. Harder to find a good marathon or ultra this time of year so will probably be back, especially after my triple leg break in december. It will be a good training run
  • "Happy town planning on LSD" lol

    Triple leg break? image
  • Planning on this one, attempted to run the london ultra at the weekend but had to pull out at mile 23 with a knee injury picked up a few miles before...... Has been bugging me since to feel i have a score to settle.... anyone ran the 26.2 mile version what do we have to expect?
  • I've heard a rumour they have bread and butter pudding at the checkpoints image
  • this sounds good image, Felt really under prepared for my first ultra attempt eventhough I was hammering out the miles... don't whether i will need to bring isotonic gels with me or if their is plenty on board I can imagine the middle of july being crazy hot.
  • Crazy hot, heat stroke, chronic dehydration. I'm sure it will be awful. image

    My logic is it's just a marathon plus a little bit more.......
  • Best way to look at it... Thats how I approached London Ultra.... until i got injured, but think i'll sign up image.... whats the worst that can happen apart from what you stated above image
  • Collapsing, heart attack, ambulance, dare I mention death?
  • WHERE DO I SIGN image
  • My first marathon's this coming Sunday (Chiltern Kanter), so I'm holding off till Sunday evening before deciding to enter the 50K.
    Having said that, I'm already signed up for another marathon in 2 weeks time, so I think I already know what the decision will be image
  • I always find I cross the finish line thinking never again. That's why I need to book and pay for my next one before I race.
  • Thinking about doing this as my first "elusive" marathon...
  • Am I right in thinking that this race (50k option) involves navigating with a map rather than simply following signs?  ultraBoban mentioned "LDWA-style directions" - what does that involve?  How easy is it to get lost do you think?
  • Rolf, I tthink it's following directions rather tham reading a map.
  • Yup, following directions, though I think they give you a photocopied map showing the general route to.
    How easy is it to get lost?, depends on how easily you get lost image image

    LDWA style instructions are a list of instructions along the line of -

    Cross the field to the far style then TR onto the road.
    Then in 100m TL onto FP marked Kimpton '2 miles'

    There's a list of abreveations that are explained on the direction sheet e.g.
    TR Turn Right
    TL Turn Left
    FP Foot Path.

  • Sounds like I'll be getting lost then image
  • I'm in for the 50k also, but having never done an ultra (ok its only an additional 5mi over a marathon), or a trail race with instructions, I am wondering how I will get on with the race.

    Does anybody have advice on how to prepare for this (the instructions/ map reading part of it), perhaps a similar shorter race as a bit of a trial run.


  • I've never done one either!

    The advice I've been given is normal marathon training should be fine. Try and make sure you run the day before and after your long run.
  • If you live local to the region then you could look at the 'Hertfordshire Hobble' which is a 16mile or 26 mile event with similar route instructions on the 26th June.
  • Hello all, thinking of doing this also, do i need to but trail shoes or will my running trainers be ok?
  • Being held in July I would expect that running trainers would be ok, unless it rains loads the week before the race. If you have both it might be worth bringing them then deciding on the day.
  • Good advice everyone! Last year the weather was glorious, the year before it bucketed down! Normal running shoes will be fine if it has been dry. If it has been wet, then maybe a trail shoe. The vast majority of the event is off-road although I haven't yet finalised the 50K route as yet but it will be either bridlepath or minor roads.

     And yes, bread pudding, drinks and sweets at each checkpoint and a free BBQ to greet you at the end. We will also have some massage facilities this year. I put the Ultra distance in as an experiment for this year but we are already up to 52 entrants with 3 months to go!

     We'll make sure that everyone has a great day!

  • Thanks Richard. Really looking forward to it!
  • Mentioned earlier that I did the 26.2 last year. Directions are fine as ling as you don't mind standing at a junction of 2 pathways with a group of other runners....is it left...or the next left, or did we pass it a minute ago? If you have done an LDWA event (highly recommended!) then you'll know what you are in for. If you are going for a PB, go and sign up for Berlin as the amount of stop-starting that you do to get around can add 20+ mins onto a time. It is more about the journey!

    The bread pudding was excellent last year. Not sure that the Liz Hurley chocolate bars went down well although there were lots of double-entendres about peeling her top off and liking her melted chocolate or other things that only Shane Warne gets to do...>!!!!!

    I'll be up there and doing the 50km version. Easy parking, lots of friendly banter and a nice undulating course that is fine for road shoes and a bottle. As soon as I heard about the food at the checkpoints, I dumped my rucksack in the car and just carried a bottle. btw, 16 weeks after a leg broken in 3 places, I have run my first slow 27.5 training run!!

  • OK I'm in! Looking forward to this!
  • Nice one UB. Getting near now. How's the training going?
  • Fine. Did a 61 mile week last week. Now that my broken leg is getting back to full strength I am using this to up my mileage another notch. I am nowhere near the Ridgeway 85 miler fitness from last summer but and getting there. This will be my 19th ultra so am treating it as a comeback. Any gluttons for punishment can join me the following weekend at the superb downland ultra. 30 miles and only £7! Bargain.

    I am looking forward to quaffing a well earned cider after the race! How is everyone else going with their training?

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