Your Ultramarathon Questions Answered
What is an Ultra X event?
Ultra X hosts a number of different event formats: Our full distance ‘flagship’ events are between 220 and 250km over 5 days. These take place in locations like Jordan, Mexico and Sri Lanka. Our two stage races take place over a weekend and are located in places like Scotland and the Azores. Our Trail Series format offers a half marathon, 50km or 100km race and these currently take place in the UK only. As well as this we often host one off community events too.
5 stage events:
Each of the 5 days involves covering a distance of between 30 and 80km and the course often takes runners in between campsites. There are checkpoints roughly every 10km, where water and medical support is provided.
Competitors must be fully self-sufficient but not self-supported. Race organisers will transport a bag between campsites so that competitors only need to carry what they require whilst running each day.
2 stage events:
Our 125 events are set over a weekend. Runners will cover roughly 60 km on the Saturday and 50km on the Sunday. We also provide the option for people to enter Sunday’s 50km stage only.
Trail Series (Single stage events):
In 2021 we launched a brand new series of single stage races. We called this the Trail Series and so far we offer a Spring and Summer Trail Series. In 2022 we will also hold an Autumn and Winter version. Each Trail Series offers a half marathon, 50km and 100km event.
What is an ultramarathon?
Quite simply, an ultramarathon, also called ultra-distance race or ultra, is any footrace longer than the traditional marathon length of 42.195 kilometres (26.219 mi). You can find out more in this article on the very topic 🙂
What is a multi-stage ultramarathon?
A multi-stage ultra marathon is an event where the total race disance is more than that of a marathon, but the distance is covered over a series of “stages”, essentially mini races, rather than all at once. Ultra X 250 and 125 events are multi-stage events.
Can I run an ultra marathon?
Anyone with a basic level of fitness and the right attitude has the potential to become an Ultra X finisher.
Ultra X competitors have a wide range of abilities Some of the best athletes in the world compete in the series but equally we welcome those that just wish to trek and enjoy the adventure. No matter your speed or aim, you will be welcomed.
For those who are looking to test themselves against the finest in the sport, Ultra X offers the chance to compete against a range of professional and semi-professional athletes looking to gain points and qualify for the World Championships.
For those who simply want to push themselves, the races provide a demanding test of the human body and spirit like no other. To enter, you will need to be physically and mentally strong. Competitors will be doing the equivalent of almost six regular marathons in five days, whilst carrying a small race pack.
That being said, the races are achievable to everyone. Our cut-off times are generous to allow for participants to walk up to 80% of the distance and still complete. This is as much an adventure as it is a race.
How do I train for an ultramarathon
This depends completely on your fitness and which Ultra X race you have entered. We usually recommend a minimum of 3 months prior to race commencement.
For some this will be less, and for others it will be more. If for example you have never run a half marathon before and have entered one of our 250km/5 day events then we would recommend more like 12 months of training.
With the right plan, ultramarathons are achievable for anyone. If you can do a marathon, you are more than capable of finishing an Ultra X. At the end of the day, 90% of it will come down to mental strength.
More than half of our competitors have not completed a marathon prior to registration and when we survey our finishers we typically find that the average biggest training week is between 52 and 60 miles.
Ultra X competitors can download specific training plans for their event (see the Ultra Xone) as well as access a community of like-minded and experienced individuals that share advice and support each other.
Can you help us with ultramarathon training, nutrition and kit advice?
Whilst we can’t tell you exactly what to eat, what to wear and how to train (as that is all part of the journey!), we can offer advice and provide plenty of ways to find this information. Please see the Ultra Xone for more information.
When you enter a race you will also gain access to the Ultra X community to chat with the runners who’ll be joining you out on the trails and with veterans who’ve completed the race in the past.
What is provided in the entry fee?
Please see individual race pages for a full list of inclusions and exclusions.. In short however, an Ultra X entry fee will cover you for a marked course, checkpoints, medical and logistical support as well as base level insurance and medals.
What are the payment options for race entry?
Ultra X allows competitors to pay the full registration fee in one payment or in monthly instalments up until 2 months before the event date.
For 250km, 5 day events there is a deposit due immediately of £300.
For 125km, 2 day events there is a deposit due immediately of £100.
For Trail Series events the entry fee is paid in full upon registration.
Deposits are non-refundable (unless the event is cancelled or postponed – see Covid Policy here) but is fully transferable provided sufficient notice is given.
Full Terms and Conditions are available here.
Why is Ultra X cheaper than other multistage ultramarathons? Is it the same quality?
The Ultra X vision is to make multi-day racing accessible and we reflect this in our fee, to ensure everybody can take part.
Our model is designed around scale generated from having a global series and long-term relationships with partners to minimise costs. That way, we are able to make the price as attractive as possible to the customer without compromising on quality and safety.
Do I have to get a medical to take part in a race?
No. However, we highly recommend consulting your doctor prior to taking on one of our events. One week before the event we will ask you to complete a medical form outlining any conditions that our medical staff should be aware of.
Why do some ultra races cost more than others?
Our aim is to keep the cost as low as possible for each competitor. That said, some events cost more to host than others. For this reason, there may be a slight variation in the cost of each race.
Is my deposit refundable?
The deposit that you pay upon registration is non-refundable. However, if you are unable to attend a race for any reason and you have already paid the deposit, you can carry it forward to another Ultra X race.
Full Terms and Conditions are available here.
Can I get lost?
It is very rare that people get lost in an ultramarathon and if they do it is for a very short period. There are flags, or other bright markers, every 40 metres and there are checkpoints every 10 km. You will also be given a GPS tracker for most 250 and 125 events upon race registration so we will be able to keep tabs on where you are at all times.
Where can I find the kit list?
Kit lists can be found on the race pages and will also be sent to competitors upon registration. Each info pack differs slightly per race and contains both mandatory and recommended items.
Do I need inoculations/vaccinations for my race?
Depending on the ultra race location you may or may not need vaccinations. Please check the downloadable info pack available on each race page for further information.
Can my family/friends come out to the finish line?
Yes, Ultra X welcomes family and friends to celebrate ultra achievements! For some races we can support with family and friend packages and for some we are limited on capacity due to location. If you wish to enquire about this please contact us and we will respond as soon as we can.
Are ultramarathons safe?
Some of our races take place in remote areas of the world and there are risks inherent in that kind of adventure. However, we take pride in working hard to manage those risks and keep our runners from harm. Safety and enjoyment are at the heart of our entire race series, with your safety taking priority at all times. All events are supported by a team of Expedition medics and a qualified Expedition Lead.
What are the World Championships?
Upon completing a multistage event, competitors to Ultra X races will receive a unique race number which will be theirs for life.
Points will be allocated based on performance and attendance at Ultra X events, with the highest scoring competitors getting the opportunity to compete at the World Championships to be held biennially from 2021.
Only Ultra X multi-stage events will count towards World Championships qualification.
Does each ultra marathon stage have a cut-off point
In order to protect the safety of competitors and crew, it is sometimes necessary to introduce cut-off points to avoid participants competing in dangerous conditions.
That being said, it is our goal to have everyone finish each race. Where cut-offs are implemented, they allow a generous timeframe in which to complete the distance and in some situations an early start may be provided for those competing at a speed which would jeopardise the chances of the competitor returning safely.
Cut-offs will be communicated to athletes the evening before each stage.
How do I contact the Ultra X team?
That’s easy! We keep an eye on our inboxes at all times and guarantee to respond to queries within 24 hours. Please see the get in touch page.
What do I need to carry during the race?
You must be fully self-sufficient except for water at all our multi-stage races. This means that competitors must bring all their own food for the week. However, we will transport a main bag with food, clothes, sleeping bag etc between campsites. All you will need to carry during each stage will be snacks for the run, water (which will be handed out at checkpoints), and your mandatory kit.
Our Trail Series events are fully supported. You can expect several nutrition and hydration options at checkpoints and 100km runners will also have the option of a drop bag at the midway point.
When is the race entry payable?
For 250km events you have the option to pay the remaining race entry fee (after deposit) in installments or in one payment.
The remaining balance must be paid in full two months prior to the race. If the balance is not settled the runner will not be able to compete.
Unless the event is cancelled by us, the remaining entry fee after deposit is non-refundable unless you give us more than 120 days’ notice.
If you are unable to attend a race for any reason and you have already paid, you can carry it forward to another race.
Full Terms and Conditions are available here.
Ultra X Trail Series fees are fully non-refundable. However, provided competitors inform organisers at least 4 weeks prior to the race start, the balance can be carried across to another Ultra X event of their choice.
Can I decide which stages I want to do?
No. All of the stages must be completed (by the daily cut-off times where applicable) and in order. Anyone not finishing a stage will be disqualified and will no longer be allowed to participate.
Where will I be sleeping?
Accommodation will vary between stages and race locations. Full details are included in race information packs. However, you will definitely need a sleeping bag!
What happens if I cannot continue?
If a participant is incapacitated for any reason (exhaustion, injury, or other), they will be required to drop from the event and notify a member of the crew. They will then be transported off the course by event staff or if, in the opinion of the Medical Director and Event Directors they are physically able, they may continue to volunteer for the remainder of the event. Given the limited transportation available for moving staff and volunteers around the course, only a few competitors will be able to take up this option, at the discretion of the race organisers.
What can I expect at each checkpoint?
Checkpoints are provided mainly to distribute water and to confirm the progress and physical condition of the participants. From time to time directors may provide a morale boosting surprise for competitors… As of October 2022 all UK based two stage and single stage events provide food at aid stations.
Will the organisers be taking any official photographs?
Yes. Professional photographers and videographers will be part of the race support team and they will be taking plenty of shots throughout the stages and at the camps. Thousands of photos will be taken of individuals, groups, action and landscapes so you can rely on these exclusively and not have to worry about bringing a camera. These photos will be made available for all participants shortly after each event.
Can I be an ultra marathon volunteer instead?
Yes, the majority of the crew are volunteers who come back again and again. This means you are able to experience the amazing atmosphere of the event, the landscape, and the local culture without having to pay the entry fee. Please see our volunteer page for more information and registration info.
Do Ultra X offer race discounts?
Ultra X offers a 10% discount for all members of the Armed Forces (currently serving and veterans). Those eligible can register for any event selecting this option upon checkout and will be asked to upload their ID after registration to validate their discount. Please also see the following question “What is the Ultra X Pay it Forward Scheme?”
What is the Ultra X Pay it Forward Scheme
Ultra X have always been about accessibility first and foremost. At the moment times are tough and we want to support our community. The Pay it forward scheme allows members of our community that are going through a tough time still have access to our events. Find out more here.
Do I need insurance?
Participants must have valid travel insurance that covers them for the activity they are doing (i.e. ultra marathon trail running in extreme environments) for multi-stage events. We recommend Dogtag but there are many options, such as ITRA and the British Mountaineering Council. Proof of insurance must be submitted via the Active registration portal prior to the event.
Can I compete as part of a team?
YES! We encourage teams and offer preferential rates for anyone who signs up as part of a team (see individual race pages for details). You can read about how competing as a team works in our terms and conditions.