Best Ultra Marathons UK 2022: The Ultimate UK Ultra Races List

Written By LEWIS MASON

Lewis is currently studying English and Sport Science at Loughborough University and spending his placement year working with Ultra X. 

Having played representative rugby and cricket Lewis is now looking to test himself on the trails. 

3 September 2021

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As we did last year at Ultra X, we want to reveal to you what we believe are going to be some of the best, most beautiful and most challenging Ultra marathon races across the World. With this installment we are going to focus on the best UK ultramarathons in 2022, proving that to gain an amazing Ultra marathon experience you don’t have to go jet setting around the world.

Here at Ultra X we believe competing in and completing an Ultra marathon is one of the best and most fulfilling things you can possibly do so we encourage you to keep your eyes peeled for these stunning events.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced Ultra runner there are plenty of options below to inspire you to get training and delve into the world of UK Ultra running.

Ultra X Scotland 

What better way is there to kick off the ‘Best Ultramarathons in the UK’ than with our very own Ultra X Scotland. This wonderful event takes place in the Scottish Highlands and has both a 125km and 50km race.

This course covers areas of northwest Scotland that is renowned for its stunning mountains, beautiful trail walks and giant lochs. Not only does this glorious course follow the Great Glen, but the overnight campsite overlooks the famous and beautiful Loch Ness. Whether you are looking to compete in the single day 50km event or the 2 day 125km event, this is truly a remarkable race. 

Although we can’t promise any sightings of the Loch Ness monster, we can promise an amazing, beautiful and truly #ultraXperience.

Where: Loch Ness
When: 7-8 May 2022
Distance: 125km/ 50km
Elevation Gain: 3,513m
Terrain: Trail
Difficulty Level: Beginner
Entry Price: £295/60

Ultra X Scotland Loch Views

UTS 165 (Ultra Trail World Tour)

This gigantic 165km (103 mile) continuous race takes its runners across some of the most stunning valleys and peaks in northern Snowdonia. Although two other distances are offered at 50km and 100km, the 165km behemoth is what draws our attention most.

This race is not targeted at the novice runners, where scrambles and extreme conditions are a regular occurrence. Not only does the distance make this one of the most brutal events in the UK, but the 10,000m elevation and 50 hour cut off mark makes this a truly challenging task for any Ultra runner.

Although targeted at the experienced market, the community atmosphere and celebration is not forgotten. Medal ceremonies and locally brewed beer are available after the completion of the race. A truly amazing event which is well worthy of making this list.

Where: Snowdonia
When: TBC
Distance: 165km
Elevation Gain: 10,000m
Terrain: Trail 
Difficulty Level: Brutal
Entry Price: £179

Woman Running In Mountains

The Wall (Rat Race Events)

This race begins in the northern city of Carlisle and travels east all the way across to the millenium bridge in Newcastle. This 70 mile 24 hour race follows the Roman remains of Hadrian’s wall across both tarmac and trail terrain. 

Of the many starters in Carlisle, an average of 90% of runners complete the race, meaning that even for a potential novice or first time Ultra runner this race is challenging yet completable. And for the experienced Ultra runners? Well, there’s always the option to truly push yourself and attempt to beat the course record of 9:38:07. 

This stunning and historical course is not only about race times but about getting everyone over the line, making it a great race for novice runners, experienced runners and anyone in between. 

Where: Hadrian’s Wall
When: June 18th 2022
Distance: 70 miles 
Terrain: Trail/Road
Difficulty Level: Beginner
Entry Price: £220

Bamburgh Castle Threshold Trail Series

Highland Kings Ultra

The inaugural Highland Kings event has gained much publicity and recognition since its announcement, maybe due to its staggering £15,000+ entry fee. With guest speaker Sir Ranulph Fiennes, luxury accommodation and Michelin standard chefs, the strap line ‘Race like a Warrior, Recover like a King’ increases interest surrounding the luxury multi stage ultra. 

The 120 mile 4 day event, with 7 months of bespoke ultra training plans makes the event the self proclaimed ‘World’s first premium Ultra’. Travelling across the highlands of Scotland with a gain of over 4,000m the race is going to be a spectacle for the global ultra running community. 

This race is going to be one that we watch intently at Ultra X. So if you have £15,000 to splash on this unique Ultra, then why not?

Where: Scottish Highlands
When: 25th-29th April 2022
Distance: 120 miles (4 days)
Elevation Gain: 4,138m
Terrain: Trail
Difficulty Level: Intermediate 
Entry Price: £15,499

Cape Wrath Ultramarathon West Coast of Scotland

Dragon’s Back

With six days of running, 380km of distance and an elevation (17,400m) that is nearly double the height of Mount Everest, this goliath of a race can be classed as one of the great UK ultramarathons and possibly even global ultra running. As this race claims to be ‘The World’s Toughest Mountain Race’, even some of the most experienced mountain or ultra runners may have to think twice about entering this race. 

This event states repeatedly that it is not a trail race as its harsh terrain travels along the summits and peaks of some of the highest mountains in Wales. Along this course, runners travel from some of the most remote places of the Welsh countryside into the heart of central Cardiff. 

By no means does the challenging and brutal course compromise its beauty however, as runners take in the best of both Snowdonia and Breacon. These are just some of the many reasons why the Dragon’s Back is, and will remain one of our favourite UK events. 

Where: Wales
When: 5th-10th September 2022
Distance: 380km (6 days)
Elevation Gain: 17,400m
Terrain: Trail
Difficulty Level: Brutal
Entry Price: £1,199

Marathon Des Sables ultra marathon Sahara

Ridgeway Challenge 86 Miles

Although cancelled due to COVID in 2021, this race usually hosts the British Trail Running Championships Ultra distance, making it a highly enjoyable and competitive event. The 86 mile continuous course travels along a 5000 year old trackway. 

The finish line of this race is situated in the Wiltshire village of Avebury, known for having the largest stone circle in the world. Would it be a truly great Ultra if this wasn’t on the course? We think not, and the runners find themselves surrounded by the stone circles on the finish line.  

With an elevation of under 2km the race, although extremely long, is achievable for all well trained ultra runners. 

Where: Ridgeway National Trail
When: TBC
Distance: 86 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,929m
Terrain: Trail
Difficulty Level: Beginner
Entry Price: £88

Round the Rock

This race takes place on the largest of the Channel Islands, Jersey. Despite only being 5 miles by 9 miles the route manages to create one of the most beautiful and scenic UK ultra marathons. And yes of course, this is one of the more exotic of the UK races as you get to leave the mainland to participate. 

Although situated on a small island, this course is not to be underestimated as the 48 mile event has an elevation of 5,000ft as it follows the glorious coastline trails and roads. This is the perfect event for the novice looking for a challenge or the experienced runner training for larger events. 

Visit the glorious cliffs, beaches and just about view mainland France. This is a stunning race that us at Ultra X highly recommend, and we promise… you won’t regret this unusual Jersey ultramarathon.

Where: Jersey
When: 6 August 2022
Distance: 48 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,500m
Terrain: Trail
Difficulty Level: Beginner
Entry Price: £70

Best Ultra Marathons in Europe - ultra trail du mont blanc utmb

Montane Spine Events

The Spine is widely registered as one of the toughest endurance challenges in the world. This epic challenge has summer and winter editions, but for us, if you want to really test yourself, it’s got to be the winter version that you put in the race calendar. Do bear in mind though that this is not for beginners!

The event is an unsupported, 268 mile (429km) race along the entire Pennine Way National Trail from Edale in Derbyshire to Kirk Yetholm in Scotland, tracing the backbone of England. It crosses some of the finest upland landscapes in the country, from the Peak District, through the Yorkshire Dales, across the North Pennines and over World Heritage listed Hadrian’s Wall, on to the remote Cheviot Hills and, finally, the elusive village of Kirk Yetholm.

It attracted significant publicity in 2019 when Jasmin Paris, a 35-year old veterinarian from Edinburgh became the first woman to win the race outright, breaking the course record in the process. The 2020 edition has already been and gone but for those wanting to do it in 2021 registrations are open and places do not usually last long.

Where: Pennine Way
When: 11 January 2020
Distance: 429km
Elevation Gain: 13,374m
Terrain: Trail
Difficulty Level: Brutal
Entry Price: £975

Ultra X Wales

Ultra X Wales

Earlier this year we held our inaugural Ultra X Wales event and it definitely proved worthy of making this list. This amazing 250km five day event takes place in southern Snowdonia and travels around and over some of the highest peaks in the UK.

With over 9km of elevation this race combines a brutal and challenging course with all the natural beauty that Snowdonia has to offer. From the peak of Cadair Idris to the beaches of Wales’ west coast, this race truly has something to offer for everyone.

The 2021 race was a giant success, meaning that the 2022 race is only going to get better and better. Trust us, you’re going to want to register for this one!

Where: South Snowdonia 
When: 7th-13th August 2022
Distance: 250km
Elevation Gain: 9,017m
Terrain: Trail
Difficulty Level: Difficult
Entry Price: £895

 

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