Best 2023 Ultra Marathons in the US 2023

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Written By Amber Dale

Amber is one of our placement students working here at Ultra X. She is currently studying Business Management specialising in Marketing at Cardiff University.
She loves her sport especially netball but is now switching it up and testing her limits on the trails. 

15 December 2022

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Reading Time: 6 minutes

BEST 2023 ULTRAMARATHONS  in the us  

 

Western States Endurance Run

The Western States Endurance Run is a race that needs to be on every ultra runner’s bucket list, claiming to be the original 100-mile race, it’s perfect for those that want to combine their love of trail running and history.

With only 369 places available, and over 7,000 applications every year you need do not only be experienced (to enter a ballot you must have completed a qualifying race in the year preceding) you also need to be damn lucky!

Runners start in the Olympic Valley and traverse the traditional lands of the Nisenan, Washoe, and other neighbouring Indigenous Peoples, the Western States Trail climbs more than 18,000 feet and descends nearly 23,000 feet before runners reach the finish at Placer High School in Auburn.

Where: California
When: 24-25th June
Distance: 100 miles
Elevation Gain: 18,090m
Terrain: Trail
Difficulty Level: Expert
Entry Price: £345

Ultra X - McClellanville

The Swamp Fox Ultra

It will be the 7th edition of the breathtaking but brutal Swamp Fox Ultra in 2023.

This 338km course takes competitors over two sections of the Palmetto Trail: The Awendaw Passage and the Swamp Fox Passage and winds mainly through national forestry land with everything but about 2 miles being on single track trail ranging.

This mammoth of an event is pancake flat. The distance probably makes it tough enough without any hills but this format brings with it challenges – knowing when to take it slow and walk early on is important. Pacing and strategy is everything.

The event also offers several shorter format races for those that don’t have 4 days plus to spare!

Where: South Carolina
When: 18-19th November
Distance: 338km 
Elevation Gain: 2,300m
Terrain: Trail 
Difficulty Level: Brutal
Entry Price: £406

Ultra X - Hinckley

St Croix 40 Winter Ultra

The St Croix 40 Winter Ultra is short-course survivalist winter adventure designed to push limits as participants travel 40 miles carrying all essential survival gear through a cold Minnesota night. Participants have the choice to run, ski or cycle. The course itself follows groomed snowmobile trails throughout the park and on paper, is simple, but snowfall and temperature extremes combined with the darkness of night make this a test for even the most experienced athlete.

As runners navigate their way, they will also need to prove that they can efficiently use their survival gear at two different points along the course. These tests will not be known until arrival at each point. Fitness is not enough on it’s own for finishing this one.

 

Where: Minnesota
When: 14th January
Distance: 64km
Terrain: Trail
Difficulty Level: Brutal
Entry Price: £82

Ultra X - Crystal Lake

Frozen Gnome

The Frozen Gnome is a hidden gem that is a stunning single-track course where runners will experience a Winter Wonderland. The course runs through Veteran Acres and Sterne’s Wood.  This course is difficult due to the extreme conditions which may take runners by surprise if they are not used to it.

Where: Illinois
When: 14th January
Distance: 50km
Terrain: Trail
Difficulty Level: Difficult
Entry Price: £94

Ultra X - Daytona Beach

Daytona 100 Ultramarathon

Daytona 100 Ultramarathon is the first race in North Florida that is point-to-point, running along the coast starting in Jacksonville to finally finish at Ponce Inlet.

The sandy course means increased exertion levels for the runners, on the plus side it’s held in December which is one of the coolest months in this part of the world.

The finish line is a special place as runners will enter Davies Park at the foot of the lighthouse which is also the location of a Veterans Memorial. An unforgettable experience.

Where: Florida
When: TBD December
Distance: 100 miles
Terrain: Sand
Difficulty Level: Difficult
Entry Price: £205

Ultra X - Florence

Cape Mountain

Cape Mountain is an ultramarathon race that runs through the breath-taking Cape Mountain Trails. This race offers runners a challenge but also a view like no other as it goes through one of the Oregon Coast’s most defining headlands. These hidden trails offer a variety of terrain including moss-draped rain forests, creek canyons and rare coastal headland meadows.

Where: Oregon
When: 3rd June
Distance: 50km
Elevation Gain: 1,200m
Terrain: Trail
Difficulty Level: Intermediate 
Entry Price: £94

Pine Mountain Trail Run

The beautiful Pine Mountain Trail Run is one of the oldest and storied Trail runs in the country. The course is filled with natural beauty and a range of terrain for runners to enjoy as they run along the Pine Mountain Trail.

Runners can expect some technical terrain with several rocky sections that will test the ankles and not much flat! If you are looking for a race you can enjoy, then this is perfect and it offers a 19 mile race for those who fancy a shorter distance.

 

Where: Kentucky
When: TBD December
Distance: 64km
Elevation Gain: 1,999m
Terrain: Trail
Difficulty Level: Intermediate 
Entry Price: £78

Ultra X - Pine Mountain

 

Hellgate 100k

The Hellgate 100k is an extreme ultra running race which will push individuals as they compete against the clock.

This race begins at 12:01 am next to Big Hellgate Creek. The runners will need to navigate their way through the dark, wintery Blue Ridge mountains, which can be incredibly daunting due their sheer size and steep gradients. The race motto is “Enter at your own risk as these are the gates of Hell”… You get the picture!

Where: Virginia
When: 8 January 2022
Distance: 100km
Elevation Gain: 7,156m
Terrain: Trail
Difficulty Level: Brutal
Entry Price: £164

Ultra X - Natural Bridge Station

Hardrock Endurance Run

The Hardrock Endurance Run is one of the most prestigious races as the running field is limited to 140 qualifying candidates.

This an event which puts the mountain against the runner. Much of the course is trail however runners will be faced with a variety of terrain in between and must be prepared for anything. This includes knee-deep ice-cold streams, snow fields, traverse trails with cliffs on the other side, rock climbing and being caught above the treeline in extreme weather conditions.

This course was designed to honour those that worked in the mines.

Where: Colorado

When: 14 July 
Distance: 100 miles
Elevation Gain: 10,118m
Terrain: Trail
Difficulty Level: Brutal
Entry Price: £240

Unfortuntaly, Ultra X does not have an event in the US (yet!) however you can find out about our other events across the world here. 🙂

 

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