Written By Jamie Sparks
Jamie is one of the Ultra X Co-Founders. He enjoys rambling on about a variety of topics; motorbikes, cycling, adventure, and, of course, ultra running.
This past week the Ultra X team have been in Sri Lanka completing the last route checks before the inaugural Ultra X Sri Lanka in April.
We’re proud to report back that the recce was a great success and we’re very excited about this new race location.
The team set a target of covering the full 250km route for the final time on motorbikes in three days. Seemingly easy right? If we could travel at a mere 20km/h for just four hours per day we would cover a solid 80km per day! But Sri Lanka and the vegetation had other plans…
The thick rainforest (often with trees blocking the path), occasional hour of monsoon rain, appearance of wild elephants on the track and a 15 year old Honda 250cc all meant that we would require, at times, 21 hour days to get the course covered.
On the final ‘jungle stage’ we took the bikes over terrain so rough that just hiking the route would have been a challenge. At times we spent more than 10 minutes to travel just 100 metres.
We had seven unscheduled dismounts picking up some pretty good cuts and burns from the Honda’s burning pipes that sat exposed between our legs at temperatures of up to 300+ degrees. They turn skin to mush with a moments touch. When you ride through rivers the pipes turn the water to steam like that from a kettle and our yelps could be heard by nearby villagers! It’s fair to say that bodies were put on the line to ensure that this course is perfect!
We came away from the recce with great confidence in our local team. In total there will be close to 30 crew at Ultra X Sri Lanka (more than one for every two runners!)
Ultra X Sri Lanka 2019
Preliminary mapping means that the race breaks down as follows (although these distances are subject to small changes).
Total Ascent: 6,058 ft
Day 1: 37km
Day 2: 55km
Day 3: 51km
Day 4: 67km
Day 5: 40km
With the course recce finished we headed back to a sweltering Colombo for a weekend packed with meetings, where we received the enthusiastic backing of the head of events at the Tourism Board (this is crucial) and ‘signed’ with the wonderful people at Land Rover Sri Lanka with the same deal we have in our other race locations.
Following this, we met with some key individuals in the health and fitness scene in Colombo who will be crucial in building our local competitor/community base up over the years. We want this event to become a core fixture in the Sri Lankan sporting calendar and are enthused by the support it has received so far. We are particularly excited to have 20 local participants taking part in what will be their first ultra marathon!
To conclude our trip there was an appearance on live Sri Lanka’s Sunday Breakfast TV Channel followed by final hotel inspections in Negombo before jumping on the plane for a rare stint in the UK.
Nothing excites us more than providing #theultraXperience for our participants and we make every decision based on their likes and needs. We are customer obsessed, to put it lightly. Detail is everything for us and we exist to revolutionise the ultramarathon scene. See you all out here in April.
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