Newbie for Ultra


I have now done 2 marathons and would like to look into an ultra, I know that it will seem very small in comparison to other ultra's here. A 50km, or a 30 mile. Im looking at doing something in 2012. I have looked at the London Ultra 50km.

I don't really know much about this type of race, but always up for pushing myself that little bit more but am being a bit put off by the whole kit list and map things that I keep reading about on websites when you enter.

The London ultra, do you need to map read really well or is this a precaution. I understand you need extra stuff etc as you will be running further but for the smaller runs is this all necessary.

Has anyone got any tips, advice or even ideas for good ultras for a beginner, before she takes the plunge


  • Hi Whitelightening,

    If you have run a marathon then you are well equipped to take on an Ultra, I haven't done the London Ultra so don't know if it is a navigational event or not? Reading between the lines this seems to be one of your concerns.

     There are plenty of events out there some navigational, some are not, so it is just a case of deciding what you prefer. On the kit list front you will need to meet the kit list requirements but I suggest you find the right event first and go from there, if you post the event kit list I am sure you will get plenty of help.

    Take a look at which is a great resource for finding events.

    Welcome to the wonderful world of Ultras.


  • Hi Whitelightening

    I took the plunge and started racing ultras this year with London Ultra as my first. I can say it was a good experience for me and has prompted me to enter more and also up the distances. I think 50k is a good distance as a taster for ultras though it's still quite possible to 'race' it as if you were in a normal marathon as it's only 6 miles longer. 

    In moving up to ultras, apart from the longer distances the hardest thing for me was adapting to a walk/run strategy having been used to running non-stop in previous races. I'm nowhere as experienced as others on this forum but if you're wanting to take it further you also need to practice trail running, pacing, eating/drinking, footcare, running with a back pack, the mental aspects, kit testing etc.

    As for London ultra specifics, the course more or less follows sections 5 to 10 of the Capital Ring route and has it's own official sign posts (

    You're supplied with a fairly detailed map but it's not at all a full on navigation/orienteering race though it's still possible to take a wrong turning. The course is roughly half road and half off road so getting in some off road running practice is advisible. This year's race was pretty muddy as we'd had quite a bit of rain the week up to the race. As for choice of shoes it's really up to you.

    As for kit, some people were running with fully loaded bergens and were probably using this as a training run for other races. Others were carrying a single water bottle belt as water stations/checkpoints were at every 10k.    


  • This is great guys, thanks for your help, will have a look at the website and Im sure you will see more postings from me in the future too image
  • Hi WhiteLightening

    I'm also like you. two marathons. I willbe doing the LondonUltra in Feb 2012. I chose it because the distance is only a bit longer but enough to be in the ultra category. Plus it's a little bit self navigating and self supporting (eg not crowds and lots of stations) so it has that challenge.

    I went to the finish last year and the camraderie seemed great at least for the first finishers!I will be one of the last slow runners!

    I just bought a book on ultra running which is great for beginners (called Relentless Forward Progress) and it has lots of info to help you make a decision. 

    Good luck and hope to see you there.


  • I ran a section of the capital ring a few weeks ago. I took thte maps that are available on the Walk England website as these have street names are aren't ordanance survey maps. As long as you have a basic sense of direction you are fine. The route is surprisingly well marked and not vandalised. I think the biggest thing you need for navigating for the Capital Ring is a leap of faith - it might look like you are being sent down someone's side path of their house or a dead end alley but that's really the way!

    vvbbnm vvbbnm - depends what you mean by smaller runs. And it's really individual. Some people need to drink for a 10km, some people don't need anything for a half marathon.
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