We were plan­ning to release the Dir­ect­ors Race Report of Ultra X Sri Lanka this week, how­ever were delighted to receive the below art­icle from one of our com­pet­it­ors– Thomas Joly de Lot­bin­iere (@Tomjoly_ultra), who fin­ished in an out­stand­ing third place over­all, and instead will be pub­lish­ing the full race report next week.

No race report can do the justice that this amaz­ing event deserves. Rather than recount some of the amaz­ing stor­ies and stages of the race, I want to explain what it really means to have “The UltraX­per­i­ence”.


Stun­ning. The moments I allowed myself to lose focus on the race at hand, I was in awe of the beau­ti­ful veget­a­tion, stun­ning scenery and amaz­ing wild­life that sur­roun­ded us at every turn. Ok, 35-degree heat and 80% humid­ity are cer­tainly tough con­di­tions, but it made it all the sweeter each day to fin­ish in a beau­ti­ful camp­site, often with a river or lake nearby to cool off in. There are few places in the world where you feel like you are in hell one minute and heav­en the next,


Ini­tially I was appre­hens­ive of meet­ing a group of strangers who I would be liv­ing with and com­pet­ing against, but ulti­mately became friends with, and after only one day apart, began to miss. Ultra X’s train­ing days enable you to meet some of your fel­low com­pet­it­ors before­hand, and their open arms approach really bring every­one togeth­er. You don’t just sign up to an Ultra X event, you join the fam­ily, a feel­ing you won’t find at any oth­er event. Most people who sign up to these events are not super­hu­man, extreme ath­letes or
sad­ists, they are just every­day her­oes. What they all have in com­mon is the belief that they can achieve some­thing great­er than they thought pos­sible, a desire to prove and chal­lenge them­selves and push the bound­ar­ies. It’s true that free­dom lies at the edge of your com­fort zone, and no oth­er event will allow you the oppor­tun­ity to test that free­dom more than the ultraX­per­i­ence. The kind of people who are will­ing to give up a week’s hol­i­day to run, walk, and crawl 250km through some of natures raw­est and unspoilt envir­on­ments are the people you need more of in your life. They may be racing against you, but they are also racing with you, and shar­ing those highs and lows is what brings people togeth­er. The only oth­er time in my career where I have found such a great bond­ing exper­i­ence was in the army, yet you can find that same exper­i­ence with Ultra X in just one week. These are the people that lent me
their kit when mine was broken, that shared pre­cious drinks when they needed it more, and helped each oth­er in camp, where oth­ers suc­cess would impede their own. Only in situ­ations like this can such self­less com­mit­ment and strong bonds shine through.


On top of all the great people com­pet­ing, the crew made the 250km that much more enjoy­able. The dir­ect­ors demon­strated excep­tion­al com­mand and con­trol in what were extremely try­ing con­di­tions. Des­pite hav­ing less down­time than the com­pet­it­ors (if any) they man­aged to set the race and camp­site up each day, while provid­ing con­stant sup­port along the route and at manned check­points. They not only delivered an amaz­ing race under pres­sure, but became as good friends with us as we did with each oth­er. There was a feel­ing not just of sup­port from the crew but of actu­al care, to ensure you got through each stage in as best shape as pos­sible. They didn’t just hand out water, but would run with you on the go, the osteo­paths didn’t just give you a rub down but actu­ally fixed the broken bod­ies each day, while the dir­ect­ors were genu­inely inter­ested in mak­ing sure every­one had the best time pos­sible. The course was well marked des­pite the local’s best attempts to bor­row flags, and all in all you couldn’t ask for a great­er sense of adven­ture.

If you have tried mara­thons, long-dis­tance cyc­ling, or triath­lons like Iron­man, and are look­ing for the next chal­lenge then a multi-stage ultra should cer­tainly be on your list. Ultra-run­ning is where it’s at right now, and Ultra X are lead­ing the way. Now is the time to get involved. In years to come people will look back in the same way that they do to Kona, and say this it where it star­ted for the multi-stage ultra series. You can be sure you will receive the same out­stand­ing race that we received in Sri Lanka at any of their events. Ulti­mately, it’s so much more than just a race, it’s a hol­i­day, a safari, and a
jour­ney. I would even go so far to call it a pil­grim­age, the real ultra-exper­i­ence, and you can bet that I’ll be back again for more.


Thank you Tom for this writeup. We loved hav­ing you out with us in Sri Lanka and can­not wait to see what the future holds for you!

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