Winter 100

I have the Wall, Northants ultra, Born to Run ultra plus another dozen marathons this year, I am aiming for a 100 miler what are the thoughts on the Winter 100 any experiences would be appreciated


  • Quite a few did it.  Sure they will be along soon.

  • Probably wouldn't recommend it as a first 100, the weather and 15 hours of darkness would make it tougher than the distance alone would indicate
  • It turned into a bit of a massacre this year, owing to unusually challenging weather conditions.  It started raining during the race briefing, and continued for most of the race, turning the ground into a boggy and energy sapping morass.  A few people did finish it as their first 100 miler  event, despite the conditions. 

    What I would say about the Winter 100 is this.  On paper it ought to be the easiest of the Centurion 100 mile events, but the time of year gives it the potential to be the hardest.  In ideal weather conditions you will be looking at long hours of darkness, and the weather at that time of year could be pretty much anything. 

    I do not want to put you off signing up for this event as your first 100 miler, but be aware of the implications of the time of year. 

  • I failed it last year. The conditions were just too much for me. Sunny Spain and Ultima Frontera for me this year image

    I'll probably volunteer for it though, just to see it from the other side

  • 17 hours of rain, 15 hours of dark, ankle deep mud, mile 78 to mile 88 was into a gale force head wind, mentally exhausting and my feet were shot for a week after!

    Loved it and have entered againimage

  • I crewed at the swanscombe checkpoint last year it rained all day then in the early hours are cp blew away in the gales. Hats off to everyone that completed it or even took part. Looking forward to this year's and hopefully completing the slam.
  • Why would you suggest it'd be easier than the TP100 Ben?
  • WiBWiB ✭✭✭
    Lingster - I must have seen you at that aid station. I came to pick up the 2 guys that had dropped there. That awning was a mess!
  • I felt that the TP100 was so flat, that this became an aggravating factor in itself. 

    Also the point to point format of the TP100, makes you more heavily committed than the four spur arrangement of the Winter 100, and puts you further from your drop bag and support. 

    Of course the conditions on the day, made the Winter 100 much harder than the other Centurion events I have done.

    Just my take for whatever its worth. 

  • Interesting points thanks. My logic is that I will have done quite a few marathons and 4 Ultras by that point in the year, and as I want to do a 100 miler I thought I could use the momentum I'd built up. if the weather is such a factor maybe I'll put it off until 2014. I hestitate to ask if there are any easy ones but any recommendations?

  • An easy 100 miler is a bit of an oxymoron.  You might be better off just trying to find one that you have some enthusiasm for as an event, so that you will be well motivated.  There is also a good argument for going with the momentum, while you still have it.  Having done the Wall this year, you will certainly be no stranger to ultra distance in of hard weather conditions, albeit in summer.  

    Just be aware that the Winter 100 has the potential to be an extremely challenging event, if the weather conditions are unfavourable on the day.  It might be a cool crisp frosty day with ideal running conditions, or you might get a re run of last year. 

  • I  agree with Ben. The 4 loop format does make for easier logistics. 

    I DNF 't the Winter 100 but a major factor was the forced course changes. If we had been able to do 4 different loops I recon I would have completed the event. As it was the repetition of loops killed of my motivation.  I also think a few descent hills make a course easier so am put off by the TP100.

    Lastly a factor you may need to think about is do you prefer cold or hot events? I have a real problem with the heat and the shear volume of fluid I need to consume on summer events.


  • I've entered this as my first 100 miler. Would be good to get a thread going, or maybe there is one that I haven't found?

  • We are at your disposal!

  • Good stuff Ben! Maybe you can give me some shoe advice since you are familiar with the course. I have run my previous ultras (couple of 40m, an 80m and 100k) in road shoes. I have a pair of trail shoes (salomon sense mantra) but only done up to 16m in them and can't imagine wearing them for 100. I know a lot will depend on the actual conditions on the day but how necessary are trail shoes?

    So who else is running it and how is training going?

  • The first thing you need to know is that the course was changed last year, because the Thames Path flooded.  The two spurs on the Thames path became impassable, so the entire event had to take place on the two Ridgeway spurs.  However, since I have also ran the Thames Path 100, I think I am familiar with the entire course. 

    So to the issue of shoes..........

    Above all, you must pick a tried and trusted pair of shoes for a 100, even if they are not ideal.  While I chose trail shoes myself, I would have used road shoes if I did not have a pair of trail shoes that I was comfortable with over distance.  Also remember that you are never more than 12.5 miles from your drop bag, so you can start out in one type of shoes and switch them if necessary. 

    The first two spurs of this course are on towpaths, where road shoes work very well unless it rains heavily in the days running up to the event.  In that scenario the towpath turns to a boggy and impassable morass, and some road shoes handle those conditions better than others.  The Ridgeway is mainly chalk underfoot, and is fairly runnable, but there are also sections over fields and on forest paths.  These can be pretty hard going if the conditions are wet underfoot. 


    Get some longer runs done in your trail shoes, and see how it goes. 

    Watch the weather forecast carefully in the days leading up to the event. 

    Feel free to put every pair of shoes you own in your drop bag. 

  • Hokas for me all the way. just done the sdw100 in them and my legs feel great and  no blisters image but whatever works for you lotte. Last year I did mt first 100 in my roadies on the sdw but my feet at the end where shot away and I ended up walking the last 25 miles. I changed to hokas after that for anything over marathon distance works for me and I took 7 hours off my sdw time this year. but alot depends on the weather wellies might be the best option image

  • Hi CC! The problem with my road shoes is that I have always worn asics nimbus and they are what I did my last ultra in (100k in March) but since then I haven't had them on my feet and have worn my lightweights (Asics sky speed 3s) which I used to only wear for short runs, for all training and racing including my marathon last month. They only have a 6mm heel toe drop compared to the nimbus 10mm drop. So the other day I stuck my nimbus's on for a run and they felt awful!

    However, I did a few days ago order a pair of Hokas so delighted to hear how  you rate them Lingster. I initially swore that they looked so hideous I could never wear them but after a lot of research they seemed to be what I need, low heel toe drop but well cushioned. We'll see...

    Ben - thanks for the info on the route. That is one of the bonus's of this race logistically so you are right I will just stick lots of options in my drop bag!

  • One observation Lotte32

    Whether you go for the raod shoe option or the trail shoe option, I do think you want a bit of cushioning to protect your feet.  I am thinking particularly of the second half of the race here.  The Ridgeway consists of chalk paths, with lots of stones either half embedded in the chalk, or lying on its surface. These can give your feet a bit of a pounding, and you might find yourself running on the grass verge alongside at times, to protect your feet.   

  • I just did my first 100km, and my feet were shot in a pair of Kayanos at the end. Keen on the road Hokas and read a lot about them. I live outside the UK but am back for a week in July, is it only Run and Become that stock them in London? They're pretty expensive there...

  • This was meant for Lotte32 and Lingster - or anybody else who knows!

  • Thanks for advice Ben.

    Nordy, mine haven't arrived yet, they were ordered from Run and Become in Edinburgh because I won a £75 voucher in the Edinburgh marathon so that paid for one shoe and I paid the extra for the otherimage you are right they are expensive. I think Pete Bland sports have them too.

  • I get mine from pete bland sports I have the hoka stinson and the mafate 2. They stinsons are definatley my favourite of the pair. Had no issues with my feet at all after the sdw100 and my legs felt fine as well. You do have to get at least half a size bigger if not a full size more than you need. 

  • Thanks for the advice - I'm def going to get a pair. Either the Bondi B or the Stinson Tarmac!

  • Thought i'd bump this thread up. My next three ultras are at the top of the page now.

  • Just had an email from James to say that I'm volunteering.  Looking forward to seeing you all on the third spur on the Ridgeway with port and cigars at the ready!

  • Richyla, Im volunteering too. Will be at L.wittenham and Swyncombe most likely . Bringing mince pies , ginger and whiskey cake & Choc and marshmallows ! any other requests?image

  • Are you looking to run it next year LLB?  If you're doing the NDW100 too, you may as well stick TP100 and SDW100 in there for the grand slam!  I thought about mince pies - although I might find I eat them myself!  Will have to think of some other stuff as I was only new to it all at NDW50 and then read about how other aid stations had made that extra effort and how it lifted the runners.  No pressure!

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