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Endurancelife - Coastal Trail Series - Exmoor

12-Jun-2021 Heddon Valley, North Devon, UK (England)


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Trail Race Race Terrain
51KM / 32Miles
1 Day

Alternate Distances: 42KM/26M 21KM/13M 11KM/7M

DIFFICULTY Race Difficulty Brutal  

Entry From £33 GBP

Exmoor National Park is one of England's best kept secrets, and this stage takes place in the lesser known western area of the National Park where a trail runner's mecca lies.

The Exmoor 10K, half marathon, marathon and ultra marathon courses encompass stiff climbs and long descents, open moorland, thickly wooded combes (valleys), historical ruins, dizzying cliffs, exquisitely beautiful rivers and a stretch of coastline that is unsurpassed.

We are confident that there is no course in Britain that offers such a variety of terrain within such a compact area. This truly is trail running territory at its best.

The Exmoor course is widely regarded as the toughest course in The Series and is definitely a gruelling test of endurance for even the very hardiest trail and fell runners.


Event Organiser



Elevation: Very little change < 500 metres. Benign running terrain, not technical.

Suitable for: First ultra runners completing a marathon or doing regular long distance running in the last six months.


Elevation: Increase of up to 1000 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed at least one ultra distance race (or similar event) or are doing long distance running (>26 miles) regularly, with elevation shown.


Elevation: Increase of up to 1500 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed several ultra distances or similar events, or are doing long distance running regularly, with elevation shown.


Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with some challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity or heat) and or technical terrain

Suitable for: Experienced runners who have completed at least regular ultra distances in last 12 months, or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races may be subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements.


Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with very challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity, heat or at high altitude) and or technical terrain.

Suitable for: Very experienced long distance ultra runners (min 3 years’ experience) or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races is often subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Purchase of specialist kit is often recommended for these races.

Endurance - Multi-activity

Type: An ultra distance race including at least two of the following activities such as running, swimming, cycling, kayaking, skiing and climbing. It may also include different climatic conditions (eg ice, snow, humidity, cold water, mud or heat).

Suitable for: Experienced multi-skilled athletes who have trained for the different activities included in this event. Admission to these races may be subject to receipt of a recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements and any specialist equipment required such as a wetsuit, skis or a mountain bike.

Global - Virtual

Type: A virtual race which can be run at any time shown on the dates shown, on any type of terrain in any country.

Suitable for: For runners from beginners to experienced as you choose your own course and challenge based on the guidelines and options set by the virtual race organiser.

Review Endurancelife - Coastal Trail Series - Exmoor

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12:46 08-07-21

Wow. Ran the June 2021 as my first Ultra. It said it was tough and it didn’t disappoint. Really well organised with great Marshall’s at each point. Weather was stunning the whole day. The killer for me was the 10k loop you had to do to finish the race - brutal on an already tired mind. Great day though and one to put on the list if you’ve not been to the area too - first visit to this part of the UK and it was beautiful.

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Peter Telford

08:37 08-04-18

2018 race - ran the marathon in 2017 and came back for the ultra this year. This is not intermediate and is certainly one of the toughest in the CTS. The weather this year meant a late change to car parking but the organisers sorted this out with a very effective shuttle bus service to the top of the hole (about 0.7 miles from the race HQ - ok on the way in but a little different when you have finished). The race is well marshalled and marked - the weather wasn't particularly nice and quite slippy underfoot (especially going downhill) and the spectacular views only appeared for about 2 mins.

All said a good race and run and i would definitely recommend

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01:18 15-04-17

2017 Race
Advertised as the toughest of the CTS races this one certainly lived up to expectations. Located at the Western end of Exmoor based beside the Hunters Inn. The route covers all the race distances, 10km, 21km, marathon, 55km & 73km all contained within the marathon route. The 55km is the marathon distance + the first 10km route and the 73Km is the marathon route + 1st 10km + the 21km route (which is the first 10km again and a further out & back eastwards along the marathon track). It sounds confusing but is easy to follow, the key thing for the Ultra Plus is the first proper hill is the highest and is repeated 3 times for the race.

Location - easy to get to with country roads to the Inn where you can stay, or book in one of the many other local B&B's/hotels. Car parking is an issue, and many people were unhappy about the tough hill climb from the finish to the carpark

The race starts in the valley and without any sun can be pretty cold, however within 15min of the start you will be out of this and (luckily for us this year) into the sunshine, expect for a few sections of the return along coastal exposed paths we were in the sun for the full race. Terrain, not too technical overall underfoot (says he who twisted his ankle badly and had to drop out at the marathon distance!), with some tarmac and road sections making it a very enjoyable and varied race

Checkpoints - due to the hot weather an extra CP would have been great on the first 35km as a few people ran out of water and my 1lt was decimated during the long section. Overall CP staff were helpful and friendly with plenty of jelly babies, crisps, biscuits to keep you going all day.

I had brought along my poles, as did a number of other people, but they just were not needed, except for a few short sharp sections so can be left at home to lighten the load

For my race: The good was dropping out at the marathon distance after twisting my ankle at 7km. The bad - not dropping out at the 10km distance!

Overall, a great race and one I wish to return to and complete the Ultra Plus distance

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09:21 17-04-16

The terrain was very varied throughout the race including grassy fields, rocky trails, scree, forests, steps, roads, lots of mud and of course many steep climbs and descents.

Around 1800m ascent.

Not the largest selection of food at aid stations, but plenty of what they do have.

2 photographers.

A serious challenge thats very well organised. DO IT!

Full review here: http://www.alidixon.com/race-report-cts-exmoor-marathon-2016/

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09:17 17-04-16

Beautiful, varied course - mud, stones, grass, short road sections, and stunning views whether running through woodland or out to sea from the coast path. As well as two ultra distances there are marathon, half and 10k options. Exmoor is the toughest in the CTS series, with the marathon being one of the UK's toughest, with c.1900-2000m of climbing.

The event is well organised, with race HQ including a swift check in, shop, bag drop, and queue-free toilets. The selection of food on offer at checkpoints is often limited, unless you get there first, so bring your own snacks!

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