St Peter's Way Ultra


Just wondered if anyone trains on that route - how wet is it? Will I need to pack my swimming gear when I do the ultra? lol

Charley image


  • I think every trail in the UK is prety sticky at the moment. 

    I found ducks swimming on my favourite bridal path recently. 

  • Just ran part of it today and it's really boggy, in lots of place

  • There are some pics on their Facebook page. Essex is wet and muddy, but nowhere near as bad as The Thames Path...

  • Anyone that knows how large part of the course that is slippery due to mud? And the same question when it comes to being flooded but not slippery? My hope is that the majority of the course does not fall in these two categories. I have the feeling that Í'll have second thoughts if the answer hypothetically would be e.g. 30% and 10%.

  • Hi Jan - I think you were star billing at the TT a few weeks ago ? I know the route well, but haven't run it in the last few weeks. One of the sweepers on the FB page has done some recce runs so would be better informed, but from area knowledge I would say flooding will be limited to a few long puddles / boggy sections rather than true TT style flooding. I would guess less than 5%. But Essex does mud very well and there are several long ploughed field crossings which will be horrible unless we get some heavy frosts like last year. Many of the field edges and farm tracks will be bad too, so it depends on how you want to define 'slippery' - I couldn't put a % on it, but I would say lots of slippery stuff if that helps. There isn't much road on this one.

  • Thanks Kevin. You are right about the TT -- my 100th start in an ultra. Wet race but a lot of road so road shoes were ok. I did the first trail-version of London-Brighton in 2008. Really wet and muddy, but still much of it was on roads and I managed that race even though it took four hours longer than the road version in 2005.

    The complication this time is that I was supposed to run Saxon Shore's White Cliff 100 but it was cancelled, which is a story in itself. I had already made the travel arrangements and one way of recovering part of the travel cost was to choose other races the same weekend. So I opted for Green Man ultra in Bristol on March 1 and St Peters Way on March 2. Adds to less than my original plan of 100 miles. Under normal Winter conditions the logistic plan should work well and give me enough sleep. But ...

    .. the lots of slippery stuff will slow me down and my plan for how to get between the races might fail and especially since the trains also on that route are affected by the sad weather and the timetable for the National Express doesn't add any options. It could mean that I will arrive to St Peters Way with not only one race in the legs but also one night with basically no sleep since I might not have time
    to check in to my hotel in Harlow. If the conditions are bad-slow at St Peters Ultra then I will get very little sleep also the night after since my flight home leaves at 6:30 am. Not an ideal flight but it would have been perfect for the WC100 race since I need to be at work on Monday.

    I've done one race (UTMB) where I lost two nights sleep and the lack of sleep gave a very strange feeling the day after the race after one night's sleep. Not something I look forward to.

    So the key thing for me is how much sleep I will be able to get that weekend, which falls back on how slippery the conditions will be and how affected the train service will be. I slow down more than other runners when it is slippery. I have started to realize that the equation doesn't add up under the current conditions, and also my backup plan to WC100 might fail. For everyone affected I hope that the weather improves significantly.

  • Jan - I saw the sweeper at a club XC today - he did a recent recce of the middle section and said there was shin deep mud in a number of places and that times will be slow unless the weather changes. Today was good and a lot drier, and the forecast is improving but a lot of clay in this area means it won't dry that fast. Not really sure what that tells you though...  Its my most local ultra so I'll do it anyway. 

  • Many thanks Kevin for the update. As you say - hard to tell. I follow the forecasts closely, and I'll look through the maps in detail next weekend. I'll postpone the (no) go decision ultil then.  

  • Hi Jan I have only just picked this up.

    There are a lot of very muddy sections which will be slippy. But it has been a buy drier recently and does drain ok on some sections. As Kevin said Ian one of the sweepers and myself and a couple of others have run all the sections. It's all passable and lots of runnable bits but lots of mud around. No serious flooding more than a few ankle deep puddles mostly on legs 2 and 3. Good trail shoes and gaiters would keep you upright and mud out. I would guess the mud will add 30+ minutes to last year's times but the cut offs are generous. Hope that helps.
  • Thanks Firemannotsam for the info. Sounds encouraging, as does the weather forecasts that have started to improve.

  • I've decided to give both ultras a try. My target for Green Man is to finish in time to catch the train, and for St Peters to avoid being the last male to finish.

    Anyone staying in Harlow the night before St Peter or passing Harlow? Share a ride to the start? I'll stay at Travelodge next to the Railway station.

  • Now that this has been downgraded from 2 UTMB points to 1, can I have my money back?

  • It was never close to being worth 2 points if you look at similar events, so I'm sure it was only a matter of time before they worked that out. Bit naughty of UTMB to do it after the event took place, but thats their fault, not Challenge. They didn't change last years yet and that still counts, so it looks like they try not to do things retrospectively.  If it gives you an excuse to do another event its a bonus - especially as you might now avoid that horrible mud.....

  • Having now run it, I am well aware it should not have been a 2 point race. The point is though, it was claimed to be a 45 mile race with 2600m of ascent which would in all probability make it a 2 point race.

    UTMB now states it is a 41 mile race with 1500m of climb.

    Very harsh of UTMB to change it after it has been run but they have a duty to check in order to make entry fair. SPW organisers being 'optimistic' to the tune of 4 miles and 1100m (1100 FFS!) is the real issue.

  • Hi Bee let's make it clear how it was given two points. I submit all the details and they run it through software which measures the elevation and confirms the distance. I measured it at 43.1 miles if u run the shortest possible route and just over 1500m elevation change. UTMB measured it at a much higher elevation and issued 2 points and insisted it was correct.

    The downgrade has happened because UTMB have passed all classification of races over to the international trail running Association who are checking all races with different measuring systems and they have as I claimed at the start reduced it to the correct elevation.

    They have changed it without notification and any consultation. As Kev says I don't get to decide it and there is no appeal.

    They have made big changes to the points system in the last few years. Most of it is purely commercial based to make more more ppl do the races they want.

    I am sure you are joking about a refund! As I replied on twitter if you unrun the event and return all the food and t shirt and medal etc then you can have a refund image
  • Well, that being the case I sound like a right dickhead and I offer a sincere apology.

    I have just done the same on facebook and honestly it was great event with great cp's and I even like having a bright red t-shirt.

    It was a knife edge decision to run or not as I am slowly coming back from a really nasty injury. 2 points was just too tempting. So, to have the points changed after the race has been a really cruel blow.

    I have already written to UTMB saying the changes are unfair and should not effect 2014's runners. Their reply has simply referred me to the trail runners assoc and said that I should contact them in April. I will do this and keep to updated with anything they say.

    Once again, for assuming you had misled the UTMB organisers, I am very sorry.

  • That's ok mate. Not everyone understands the process and I'm not sure even I am sure they know what they are doing.

    Thanks for your honesty. Tbh lots of race organisers are finding it move of a pain to register for points.

    Hopefully see you again for another race.
  • As predicted was muddy, up to my knees (I am quite short) in places but sunny all day so was a great fun race image Did everyone go through that smelly stream near the end or was is just me lol


  • This year's St Peters is comming up quickly. I'll stay in Brentwood the night before the race. I haven't decided yet if I should leasurely run/walk from there to the start end enjoy the sunrise and seeing the countryside wakes up (I like that), or take a cab (being lazy).

    Anyone else staying in Brentwood the night before or passing Brentwood? Share a ride to the start?

  • Has anyone been on the course recently?   How much mud are we talking about?

    Jan - do you still need a pick up?  Trying to source a cab from SE London.  If I get one happy to pick you up on the way.  Rebecca (from CW100)
  • Sorry Jan - wrong year!  Unless you are doing it again this year
  •  Hi Rebecca. Thanks for thinking of me :)

    StP was great last year including my run to and from the start from Brentwood. Last year was definitely dryer than the two previous years which probably is the reason it took me one hour less. Even the horse field shortly befor the second to last CP was not too muddy. But one really flet the wind when getting close to the coastline. Hasn't rained that much this year so it could very well be less mud than normal, but it also depends on the temperature.

    I'll do Green Man Ultra in Bristol that weekend so I'll not show up at this year's StP. It was a very hard decision since StP is a great race with a very good organiser. I chose GMU since I feel I have unfinished business there since I didn't do as perfect navigation as I wanted to three years ago. That was the year Thames and much else was flooded and many fields GMU passed through was really saturated with water all the way up to the top of the grass. Should be much different this year both there and at StP.

    Good Luck Rebecca :) Good choice of race!

  • Sorry to miss you both this year and last year.  Glad St Peter's gets the Jan seal of approval.  Looking forward to it.  Though will watch out for that seaside breeze.

    the Green Man looks good.  I haven't come across the Time  Lord idea before.  Helpful for those who are a bit unsure of navigation.  Though unlikely to be an issue for you.  

    Have a a good race!
  • GMU introduced Time Lords the year after I ran. I've ran another ultra that had TLs. There, TL was good for those that wanted pacing help, but complicated life for other runners that ran with roughly the same pace but with a different short-term speed strategy. Overtaking and being overtaken by a large group of runners on very narow trails was a hassel. As with everything, there are pros and cons. A bonus with TLs is that they should know the trail which reduces the always interesting navigation detours.

    Might we run into eachother at Chiltern 100 or London-Brighton the weekend thereafter?

    Have a good race you too, Rebecca.

  • Can see the problem with Time lords especially on narrower paths.   Nice to be able to run at your own pace!

    St Peter's Way was excellent.  Very little mud so a good fast year.  And perfect weather - not too hot but dry and low winds (until the end of course).  And excellent organisation and marshals as ever with Challenge Running.  Think I ate my own weight in chicken nuggets. 

    Hope the Green Man treats you well.

    Hoping to return to the ChilternWay.  Going to try 100 miles (the SDW).  If that goes ok maybe I will try the full circuit.    If not, stick to the 100k.  Which was pretty tough.  And I am definitely not capable of doing back to back ultras within a week - think that requires Scandavian toughness.
  • Congrats Rebecca :) I missed that SPV was already last weekend. Thought it was next weekend. Sounds like ultra running at its best.

    Green Man seems to offer mud. Looks like it will be rain every day now. My plan is to use an old pair of shoes and throw them away after so I do not have to clean them afterwards.

    Best luck at SDW100! Hope all goes well enough that you'll try the full Chiltern Way (respect!). Then, I wouldn't be surprised if we'll run into eachother along the course.

  • I found ducks swimming on my favourite bridal path recently. 

    You get many brides taking to the trails round your way???!!!
  • Well done at the Green man Jan.  looks pretty tough.  Hope the T ime Lords didn't get in your way.  Rebecca
  • Thanks Rebecca :) Mostly a sunny and very nice day. Didn't see much of the Time Lords, apart from when I passed the 11h TL at CP 1. As expected, I was very slow during the two first muddy stretches, but speeded up thereafter. Tough on the legs with mud-heavy shoes. Managed to fall in the mud already after 2 miles. It was hard to untie the shoe laces after the race due to all the mud on the shoes. My muddiest race so far. It was definitely the right choice to choose a pair of shoes that I could throw away afterwards. It was a fun race -- at least afterwards ;)
  • Well done at the Green man Jan.  looks pretty tough.  Hope the T ime Lords didn't get in your way.  Rebecca
Sign In or Register to comment.