The Best Ultra Marathons 2021 in Asia: Asian Ultra Races

Written By Jasper Johnson

Jasper is a new member of the Ultra X team. A keen middle distance runner who is looking to up the distance to an ultra marathon, Jasper enjoys writing about all things running.

12 November 2020

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Ultra marathons are any events longer in distance than a marathon (42.2km). However, as there is no upper limit, the range in event can vary significantly!

Whilst there are now some insanely challenging races held across the globe, there are also many much more accessible events also classed as ultra marathons. Ultra X here are looking at all events under the ultra marathon category: single stage, multi stage, 100 mile and more, to consider which are the best ultra marathons in the world in 2021 and which events need to be on every runners ultimate bucket list.

Ultra X Sri Lanka

How else could we start this list other than showing off Ultra X Sri Lanka to you. Now in its 2nd edition after the 2020 race being cancelled. The only multi stage ultra marathon in Sri Lanka makes this a truly unique race. Sri Lanka is a beautiful island otherwise known as ‘The pearl of the Indian Ocean’ and competitors are able to experience the island in full as the route takes competitors through tea plantations, 10,000-year-old rainforests and down rushing rivers.

During this week competitors will get to experience in full the place, the people, and the beauty of this iconic country, steeped in rich history and colour.

Where: Sri Lanka
When: 20-27 March 2021
Distance: 250km (5 days)
Elevation Gain: 687m
Terrain: Trail
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
Entry Price: £1,200

Ultra-Trail Mt. Fuji

The Ultra Trail Mt. Fuji is part of the Ultra Trail World Tour and is a popular choice among the well-versed ultra runners. The route will take you all the way round Mt Fuji, providing stunning views of the Japanese countryside.

Over 2400 runners will compete in the race confirming this as one of the races to do in 2021. However, this is not a beginner’s race with a tough elevation profile as you make your way round Mt Fuji.

Where: Japan
When: 23-25 April 2021
Distance: 164km
Elevation Gain: 7,563m
Terrain: Mountains
Difficulty Level: Hard
Entry Price: £260

Ultra Trail Mount Fuji Ultra Marathon

Everest Trail Race

Set in probably in the most extreme location of any ultra marathon race. The Everest Trail Race is certainly a unique race set in the backdrop of Everest, with an even more incredible altitude change of 28,000m!

Be prepared to do some serious high-altitude mountain training overwise the elevation and altitude could knock you out with a 1 -2 punch. Winding through the remote Solukhumbu region of the Himalayas in Nepal, the Everest Trail Race meanders along hard trails of frozen earth, through crisp snow covered trails, seemingly endless stepped rocky ascents and truly awesome descents punctuated with single track wired suspension bridges. This is definitely a race you can brag to your friends about.

This is a semi supported race, runners must carry their clothing and sleeping bag from start to finish, while accommodation, food and logistical support is all taken care of for you.

Where: Nepal
When: TBC 2021
Distance: 160km
Elevation Gain: 28,000m
Terrain: Mountains
Difficulty Level: Hard
Entry Price: £2570

Everest Trail Race

Gobi March

Another Racing the Planet event, the Gobi March is a point to point race, covering the traditional 250km in 7 days. The route takes competitors through the world’s largest desert, forcing racers to meander through the Gobi deserts numerous sand dunes and rocky valleys.
Competitors will find themselves running through UNESCO world heritage sites and the ancient Mongol city of Karakorum. A great way to explore a truly remote country steeped in history.

Where: Mongolia
When: 18-27 June 2021
Distance: 250km
Elevation Gain: 4,461m
Terrain: Desert
Difficulty Level: Hard
Entry Price: £2,920

Comrades Marathon South Africa ultra marathon

Hong Kong

Hong Kong is rammed full of exceptional ultra marathons and so with so many to choose from we have decided to give you a selection of them:

The Vibram Hong Kong 100 Flex replaces the regular Vibram Hong Kong 100 which has been cancelled due to covid. The organisers have put on a virtual race to keep their competitors running. Racers need to complete a 100km run in one go or in stages with prizes for the fastest runners.

9 Dragons ultra had their 2020 event cancelled but will be up and running for 2021. The 9 Dragons Ultra contains three races over 1 weekend form the 9 Dragons Ultra, with the winner of at least two of them crowned the ninth dragon. If you are looking for a race with something different about it, this is the race for you.

The HK4TUC takes place over Lunar New Year, which provides an ideal temperature for runners. The race takes runners over the 4 best trails in Hong Kong — the MacLehose, Wilson, Hong Kong and Lantau trails. This is an unsupported race with no checkpoints. If you actually manage to get to the end within the 60hr cut off they are deemed a “finisher”, and if they finish in under 72, they are a “survivor”.

Hong Kong Trail

Gaoligong by UTMB

As part of the UTMB series, Gaoligong takes its place as the daughter race to Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc Chamonix. A major event on the Asian trail running calendar, providing serious competition for China’s best trail runners alongside the international elite. Situated on the border between China and Myanmar, runners get to experience the famous Taoist mountains as well as the elevation that goes with them.

Finishing the 100-mile distance gives runners a guaranteed entry to the coveted UTMB Mont Blanc. So, if that is your goal, why not combine it with a holiday of a lifetime.

Where: China
When: TBC 2021
Distance: 165km
Elevation Gain: 9500m
Terrain: Desert
Difficulty Level: Hard
Entry Price: £220

Gaoligong by UTMB

La Ultra – The High

The High is another ultra marathon which takes place in the Himalayas, this time the Indian side. The race has 26,670m of elevation but it could be the altitude and subsequent lack of oxygen. (reportedly 50% less than at sea level) that makes it so difficult, or the fact that temperatures can reach as low as -12 degrees… oh, or the fact that runners are taken up Khardung La, the world’s highest motorable pass at 5,359m!

This is a truly evil route design, so much so that barely half of competitors complete the race each year. There are a variety of races available from 111km right through to 555km. Choose wisely.

Where: India
When: TBC 2020
Distance: 111km – 555km
Elevation Gain: a lot…
Terrain: Mountains
Difficulty Level: Brutal
Entry Price: £295 – £1,080

Khardung La, La Ultra - The High

Ultra X Jordan

Ultra X Jordan (previously the Wadi Rum Ultra) takes place in the land of Lawrence of Arabia. This mystical desert course will challenge experienced and novice runners alike with tough conditions underfoot. The route takes competitors past historic sites and over magnificent sand dunes, making it a week to remember. Wadi Rum is nicknamed ‘The valley of the moon’ The landscape is dominated by unique standalone rock formations casting changing shadows as the sun rises and falls.

Where: Jordan
When: 2-9 October 2021
Distance: 250km (5 days)
Elevation Gain: 2522m
Terrain: Desert
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
Entry Price: £1095

Want to see more incredible ultra marathons from every continent? Recently, we listed the:

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