The inaugural Ultra X World Championship is set to take place in western Slovenia and is scheduled for June 4-12. The race will take place over five days and will be 250km in distance, with elevation in excess of 10,000m.
The race will host one of the largest prize pots in the history of ultrarunning. The overall winner in both the men’s and women’s category will win a cool £5,000, second will earn £2,000 and third £1,000.
The overall stage winners for both men and women will win £500. with £250 awarded to the ‘mountain section winners’ and ‘sprint section winners’.
In addition to the elite race there will be age group racing: 18-29, 30-39, 40-49 and 50+.
Ultra X World Championship Race Route
The breakdown of the 250km route is as follows:
- Monday June 6 – 43km
- Tuesday June 7 – 50km
- Wednesday June 8 – 63km
- Thursday June 9 – 54km
- Friday June 10 – 40km
The course takes competitors through the beautiful and challenging landscape of the Vipara Valley, Soča Valley and the Julian Alps. Runners will runs through numerous vineyards in Vipara before embarking on the single-track rocky trials of Soča.
The first stage of the race has a relatively modest 1,132m of ascents and 1,155m of descents over it’s 43km distance on a single loop, with the race beginning at the old Roman square in Ajdovščina. Stage 1 begins at 08:00 on June 6.
The heat turns up on stage two as the 50km course contains steep climbs – 2,562m in total – and dramatic downhills – amounting to 2,583m. Once again it is a single loop stage starting once again in Ajdovščina, although this time runners head north into the mountains. Stage 2 begins at 07:00 on June 7
Stages three, four and five continue in the vein of stage two with elevations of 2,487m, 2,136m and 1,872m respectively. Stage 3 sees the runners once again embark on their route from Ajdovščina, this time heading towards Tolmin in a point-to-point stage. The course takes runners onto Angel’s Mountain for a second successive day before competitors head north through the Trnovo Forest. Runners depart at 07:00.
Stage 4 is once again on a loop as the runners head onto the Julian Alps. The route begins on the Walk of Peace trial which commemorate those who lost their lives in World War I. The second half of the route follows the emerald green waters of the Soča river. Once again runners depart at 07:00.
Stage 5 is a final looped route which takes competitors through Triglav National Park, one of the largest protected and unspoiled areas in Europe. The route heads north on the slopes of Mt.Krn, towards the mountains of Pertovč and Mederje. The stage ends in back in Tolman. Runners depart at 07:00.
How to enter the Ultra X World Championship
Due to the pandemic, Ultra X have been forced to alter their qualification requirements for the event. The following criteria apply for those who wish to enter.
Instead of only accepting runners who have qualified through Ultra X races, the organisation will be defining the elite level entry for the inaugural World Championships using the internationally recognised ITRA Performance Index. Anyone with a minimum ITRA Performance Index of 600 for Women and 725 for Men (as of 30th March 2020) will be permitted to enter.
There are six ways you can get to the start line;
Elite Entry: There are 100 places available for elite athletes with a minimum ITRA Performance Index of 600 for Women and 725 for Men (as of 30th March 2020).
Qualifying at Ultra X Races: Anyone that has qualified for the World Championships through exceptional performance at other Ultra X races is eligible for entry.
Ultra X Allegiant Scheme: Anyone that has completed two or more Ultra X events in the two years preceding the World Championships is eligible for entry.
Charity Places: There are 20 charity places available to those who commit to raise funds for a registered charity. Places will be allocated on a first come first serve basis. There is no minimum figure to be raised.
Invitation (now closed): There are 20 invitation places available to those who have not qualified by other means. These will be drawn at random from those that complete the application form.
Luck (now closed): Winning one of two free places in launch competition (entries closed 26th June 2020).
Who is taking part at Ultra X World Championship
Qualification for the inaugural Ultra X World Championship has been running since 2019. Jordanian Salameh Al Aqra and Britain’s Anna-Marie Watson were the first qualifiers for the even after earning victory at Ultra X Sri Lanka 2019 – they were joined by Edson Kumwamba (Malawi), Thomas Joly De Lotbiniere (Britain), Helen Moss (Britain) and Alise Miksta (Latvia).
Al Aqra added victory at Ultra X Jordan in the second qualifying event of 2019 with the women’s race won by Jordan Foster (Britain). Other qualifiers from the race included Tommy Chen (Taiwan), Rahil Sachak-Patwa (Britain), Toni Metcalfe (Britain) and Estelle Geerkens (South Africa).
The final 2019 qualifying event, Ultra X Mexico, was won by Marina Ranger (Britain) and Miguel Lara (Mexico). Jason Schlarb (USA), Gedminas Grinius (Lithuania), Bonifacio Quimare Mendoza (Mexico) and Silvino Cubesare Quimare (Mexico) earned sport on the men’s side with Sayuri Imanishi (Japan) the other female qualifier.
With no racing in 2020, the next opportunity to qualify game at Ultra X Wales 2021. Phillipa Williams and Mark Peart, both from Britain, took top honours with Lewis Thomas, Charlotte Kirk, Stephen Kirk and Florence Browning (all British) qualifying for the World Championships.
The final 2021 qualification race took place in Jordan. Al Aqra earned a third victory on the men’s side with Milica Lekovic (Serbia) claiming victory in the women’s race. Robin Ejsmond-Frey (Britain), Rachel Stanley-Evans (Britain), Eljai Abdelilah (Morocco) and Stella Osterhoff (German) earning World Championship berths.
Ultra X also lists the following elite competitors as attending the race: Pau Capell (Spain), Hillary Allen (USA), Tom Evans (Britain), Maggie Guterl (USA), Carla Molinaro (Britain), Mike Wardian (USA), Ragna Debats (Netherlands), Gediminas Grinuis (Lithuania), Meredith June (USA), Jacqui Bell (Australia), Holly Rush (Britain), Alex Roudayna (Mexico) and Pete Kostelnick (USA),.
And more qualifiers were added after the opening race of 2022 – Ultra X Sri Lanka.
Ultra X World Championship Equipment
Mandatory equipment (carried at all times):
- Suitable running shoes
- Suitable running socks
- Running pack
- Hydration system with capacity for minimum 1 litre of fluid
- A durable water repellent and windproof jacket with taped seams
- Protective hat/cap
- Buff/scarf or similar to cover your nose and mouth
- High quality head torch with spare batteries (red light capability recommended)
- Watch (GPS advised but not mandatory)
- Sun block (minimum strength factor 30, although 50+ is recommended)
- Personal basic first aid kit, including: four safety pins, cleansing wipes, antiseptic spray or cream, plasters
- Survival bag (not blanket)
- Any medication required
- Emergency 800 kcal food reserve
- Electrolyte solutions. Enough to make 30 litres/last 30 hours on course as a minimum.
- Fully charged smartphone
- Running poles
- Spork or similar eating utensils
- Roll mat or similar
- Portable charger for watch/phone (there is no access to electricity during the race)
- Baby wipes, one pack of 60-100 (consider carrying whilst running for toilet stops)
- Shoes for camp (flip flops or similar)
- Normal clothes and toiletries for pre/post-race and for travelling
- Insect repellent
- Local currency (Euro) for pre/post-race meals and souvenir shopping
- A warm jacket (for the evenings)
- Minimum of 2,000 kcal food per day (dehydrated or freeze dried food is highly recommended)
- Sleeping bag (14-18°C at night)