The UK trail and ultra-running calendars started with the Devon Coastal Challenge last weekend which saw competitors cover a coastal trail marathon over three days, totalling more than 78 miles.
The Devon Coastal Challenge, organised by Votwo Events and presented by Asics, saw the welcome return to multi day racing to Devon with 72 athletes braving the mainly wet conditions and challenging themselves over the undulating coastal course.
Three incredible days of racing
After the three incredible days of racing, it was Nerys Jones, from Cardigan Bay and based at Tidworth in the Army, who posted the quickest time over the three days, completing all three marathons in 15 hours 44 minutes and 51 seconds. She said: “We’ve all been craving the chance to run at an event, and this was such a great place to do it. It was a battle of both the terrain and weather over the three days where at points the slippery, muddy paths made it really heavy going. Although it was a challenge rather than a race – I always had one eye on the leader board which really pushed me to run faster.”
Three marathons in three days
Inspired by the Atlantic and Jurassic Coast Challenges, the Devon Coast Challenge is now in its fourth year and is just as scenic and rewarding as its established predecessors, which all follow three marathons in three days format.
The route started near Hartland Point and finishes at Porlock Bay in Devon, following the coastline all the way. Athletes challenge themselves over 78.6 miles (3 marathons) over 3 days by walking, running (or crawling) along the South West Coastal Path. The route passes over stunning coastal areas and passing beautiful coastal towns and villages such as Croyde Bay, Lynton, Lynmouth, Ilfracombe, Woolacombe and The Valley of the Rocks.
Having kicked off the post covid multi-day racing in the UK, Votwo’s Asics Coast Ultra Xtreme (www.Votwo.co.uk/asicscux) and The Atlantic Coast Challenge (www.Votwo.co.uk/atlantic-coast-challenge) both of which will be held in October, will provide a great end to the year for athletes looking for their own multi-day trail and ultra challenge.
The Coast Ultra Xtreme
The Coast Ultra Xtreme will challenge athletes racing for positions over five days, covering 215km including 7400m of vertical ascent all vying for their piece of the £2500 prize pot. Early bird race entry costs from £325 for solo entry or £400 for a team (2 or 3 members) before May 31st.
The Coast Ultra Xtreme was piloted in 2020 alongside the Atlantic Coast Challenge gaining instant praise from participants. Julia Davis, winner of the women’s 2020 CUX said; “Covid it was just really nice to do a race where you felt really safe and at ease.” Whilst Oxfordshire-based Slovakian Robert Gunar added; “Looking out into the ocean is too good to be true. Look at these colours, they are so vibrant, blue, grey, turquoise – everything is just so vivid. What more do you want from life?”
The event provides a significant but accessible challenge in comparison to other extreme multi-day events. For the avid ultra-runner it offers a fast and unique course with 5 UTMB qualifying points.
Tough but achievable
For the first timer, it’s tough but achievable event with a single overnight site with accommodation or camping on offer and daily transfers to and from starts and finishes it provides the ideal first event, with a comfortable base to recover and refuel for the next day.