the uk superbowl

Well, Western states has finished and congratulations to Killian Jornet!! Such a shame about Anton's injury and Goeff's DNF.  All this excitement got me thinking. It all seems to be happening in the US. Does the UK have an answer to western states? Where do all the top ultra runners of the uk meet to compete?!

 In my humble opinion such an exciting sport deserves a "superbowl". In all your inexpensible experiences which ultra, would you say, could represent THE ultra of the UK.


  • Britain probably doesn't have the topography to produce an event on a par with the top 100 milers in the USA. So far no single UK event has become a focal point for drawing together the top talents. 

    Today, ultra running in the U.K doesn't have anything like the following or level of organisation that it enjoys in the USA or South Africa.  If it does in 20 or 30 years time, then we will probably be looked on as something of a pioneer generation!

  • fat buddhafat buddha ✭✭✭
    the French have a great ultra scene with events like the UTMB being seen as the "must do" - it drags people in from worldwide.

    but as BD says, if you have the topography to put on an event of the magnitude of the Western States or UTMB, then you can develop the entry.

    maybe the Bob Graham needs to become a race rather than a tick? that would challenge a few!

    I'm waiting for Jornet to have a crack at the Mt Blanc record - from Chamonix centre to top and back - it currently stands at 5:10:14 which will take some beating
  • Dan ADan A ✭✭✭
    The problem with the UK, and the reason why we will never have events to compare with the likes of UTMB or WS is that the general public don't care enough to embrace it like they do overseas.

    The organisers here do a good enough job at running the races, and there are clearly a growing number of keen runners to participate. But at these big overseas races (and even at the smaller ones), whole towns turn out and the support and atmosphere is extraordinary. Racers are treated like heroes, and the events leave life lasting memories.

    Contrast with the UK's big races where you basically run on your own and are met with silence give or take a few hardy supporters at the end. Last year I was in the Lake District during the Lakeland 100 & 50. There was no evidence in Ambleside (one of the big towns on the route) that a race was happening. I even went into the shop which hosted one of the checkpoints, and there were shoppers in there who didn't even spot that a race was going on.

    Or compare the Comrades of South Africa to the now defunct London to Brighton road race. The latter was supposed to be a UK equivalent of the former. It died a death because it was virtually ignored other than by a few hardy enthusiasts. Can you imagine them closing the roads and coming out in their tens of thousands to support.

    I disagree that the UK doesn't have the topography. We have the most beautiful countryside as anywhere else in the world with plenty of mountains. What UK events lack is history and marketing. As someone who has run ultras all over the world, one of the things that makes a great race is atmosphere, and that simply won't exist until the wider public embrace it. And I'm sure they would if they were informed of what it's all about.

    I'm sure plenty of people love the low profile of UK ultra running and how it operates under the radar compare with the media circus around events such as the London Marathon. But the world's top runners won't head here en masse until we come up with a worthy event. Perhaps all the ultra organisers need to get together and work on one big event, rather than lots of events with 20-30 runners only.
  • One thing that would always prevent us from creating an event with a course profile like the Western States 100 or Hardrock 100, is the fact that there is not enough ascent or descent on the island. 

    The difference between the coast and the top of the highest peak is a mere 1300 meters.

  • Ben; your correct we have nowhere near the same level of mountain & valley but WS shows that a race doesn't have to be the toughest to attract a devoted following. From what I've heard (I've never run it myself) it's quite mediocre on the difficulty rating!

    Dan, you raise quite a lot of interesting points but you're last comment especially caught my attention. I would be p*** off if ultras became like the London marathon but i'm sure there's a happy compromise somewhere in the middle. 

    looks like i may be planning some weeks abroad for the more ambitious of my races. As fat buddha pointed out, france might be an option.

    Well, it seems my post was 30 years to late! I'll try again then ...

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