New year, new you, new goals. Sound familiar? For many the start of 2022 will be viewed as a reset. A chance to start with revised confidence and hope that training plans can be executed to the full. An opportunity for PB’s to be achieved, and the joy of crushing trails with like minded folk. For Ultra Runners competing in one of our Montane sponsored events, it’s a chance to push their physical limits on one of the world’s toughest races.
Discover Men's Running Kit | Discover Women's Running Kit
Each race included in this list has rightly earned its reputation as ‘one of the world’s toughest’ ultra runs for a number of reasons. Each race also has a particular lure. To some, distance is the draw; pitting themselves against the unyielding elements, omnipresent sleep deprivation and pain to see what they are made of. To others, the appeal is to move through beautiful yet challenging landscapes, experiencing the outdoors as authentically as possible through the strength of their legs and willpower alone.
1. Montane Winter Spine Race 9th - 16th January 2022
Widely regarded as one of the toughest ultra marathons in the world and certainly the most brutal race in Britain. 268 miles along the Pennine way in the dead of winter carrying everything you need to run, eat, sleep, and survive. Not for the faint hearted. 2022 sees the 10th anniversary of the spine, with two ‘Challenger’ events covering the southern and northern halves of the original full race, and even a ‘Sprint’ event of (only) 46 miles – ideal if you are starting your journey towards the full Spine!
2. Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra 3rd -11th February 2022
300 miles along the Yukon Quest Trail in the middle of winter. The MYAU is arctic adventure distilled to its simplest form, as competitors pull all their provisions to survive behind them in pulks, braving temperatures down to -50 degrees, and sleeping under the stars. Shorter distances (100 mile and marathon) are available for those wanting a taste of this beautiful yet dangerous environment, though to guarantee your place you need to undergo arctic survival training and pass the organisers scrutiny to make sure you have the chops for such a race.
3. Montane Lapland Arctic Ultra 6th - 16th March 2022
A race through Swedish Lapland in the dead of arctic winter. Temperatures are not as severe as the MYAU, typically bottoming out at around -20, which makes this potentially a good place to start if you are inspired by the Yukon. Do not let it fool you though - distances vary from 500, 315 and 185km through wild landscapes barely (if at all) populated by human beings. It is still a very big undertaking, requiring specialist survival skills as well as previous ultra-endurance experience.
4. Montane Lakeland 50 & 100 29th - 31st July 2022
The ‘Ultra Tour of the Lake District’. The 100 is one of the UK’s true ultra-racing icons, with its 100(ish) mile course takes in the whole of the lakeland fells, looping through some of the most eye-wateringly dramatic scenery the Lakes have to offer. The 50 starts half-way along the loop, with both finishing at Coniston. It is still not for the faint hearted, with typically around 50% of competitors not crossing the finish line.
5. Montane Dragon’s Back 5th - 10th September 2022
Considered to be one of the toughest ultras in the world. A 6-stage ultra from the north to south coasts of Wales, dissecting iconic mountain ranges such as Snowdownia and the Brecon, competitors will cover an average of 68km a day whilst having to navigate mountain passes, scramble up scree and run along exposed ridgelines. Hair-raising stuff.
6. Montane Cheviot Goat December 2022
A 55 mile loop around the Northumbrian Cheviots – one of the last truly wild spaces in the UK. Near bottomless bogs, 12,000ft of ascent, harsh conditions, and barely a soul in the whole region makes it
A real love-letter to everything that is great about ultramarathons. 55 miles of near bottomless bogs, heathered hills, empty trails and more stars than you’ll see anywhere else in the UK. All with the added bonus of 12,000ft of ascent. Harsh and unpredictable weather can see storm-force winds, snow, sleet, and of course rain, which when compounded by one of the lowest population densities in the country make it a race for competent runners who know how to look after themselves.
Feeling inspired and eager to hit the trails yourself? The featured runs above are not for the faint hearted and have been specifically designed for experienced ultra runners. We know everyone is at a different stage of their journey, and whilst some athletes are at their physical peaks, others will be taking their first tentative steps, and everything in-between.
The key is to find something to work towards. To put fire in your belly, adding fuel to the hours of training and hardship to create an experience worthy of your efforts. So for those of you who aren’t quite at the ultra running level just yet, but are eager to take their running to the next level, look no further than the following…
We sponsor Trail Running Magazines’ community initiative encouraging people to run 1000 miles in a year. Once signed up, you get access to a host of useful resources such as the vibrant online community and monthly inspiring newsletters. A great way of increasing your volume or as an excuse to get out more.
Abraham’s Tea (& Espresso) Round
The Tea Round is a 30+ mile challenge with 12000+ft of ascent, starting and finishing at the doors of George Fisher’s, Keswick. The aim being to summit a set number of peaks in any order you fancy, with the Espresso Round being shorter. We have partnered with GF to support the round, providing badges and T-shirts for anyone who completes. Montane are also match-funding all donations generated to Fix the Fells from both Tea & Espresso rounds, helping to protect the mountains we all love so much.