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Green Man Ultra

02-Mar-2019 Bristol, South West, UK (England)


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Trail Race Race Terrain
72KM / 45Miles
1 Day

DIFFICULTY Race Difficulty Intermediate  

The race starts and ends at Ashton Court Mansion and runs along the Community Forest Path around Bristol.

The race must be self-navigated but Garmin devices are available to hire on the day. There is mandatory kit which will be checked before the start of the race.

The race is chipped at the checkpoints and the finish line. Partial cut-off times will apply for the different distance categories (30 and 45miles) at each checkpoint. The 45mile category has a cut-off of 12 hours and the 30mile category has a cut-off of 9 hours, both have catered and raw (water only) options.

All checkpoints include gels, drinks and snacks. All race finishers will receive a goodie bag, medal and certificate.

Navigational assistance will be provided by non-competitive participants, called Time Lords, who depart checkpoints at specific times.

There is an option to run for a charity.


Event Organiser
Steven James



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 Green Man Ultra

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08:50 25-03-19

I have a strange love hate relationship with this race, but I find myself returning time and again.
It was once local to me and so my first ever ultra, chosen purely for its location. The first 30 miles are quite scenic, but after that I find rather depressing...just as things start to get tricky!
I first Ran the 30 mile version of this race early in 2016, then attempting the midnight full version later that year (Midnight Express, no longer organised) failing miserably due to injury.
The following March 2017 I ran the full 45, then again ran the Midnight Express later that same year.
I missed 2018 due to weather, but managed to be back again in 2019 for my 4th run of this race.

In short, I would say that the route itself isn’t particularly breathtaking, and that does really let it down for me when compared with many other Ultras across the UK. However, there’s a great community around the race and if you are able to get involved with the pre-event recces I highly recommend joining the FB group and doing just that!

The checkpoints are nicely spaced out and the food is about average. However, Steve and the officialls are a very friendly bunch and they really try their best to cater for everyone so it’s worth getting in touch with them if you are worried about this at all. The food available at each checkpoint is outlined in all of the race e-mails so you can be prepared for the day.

This race is self navigation. I actually really like this aspect of it as the GPX file is very well recorded and GPS devices are available to rent for the day if you don’t already have one. The course is complicated to follow, so often runners band together following anyone with prior knowledge of the course. It can be a really enjoyable aspect if you are in the right mindset, and there is a free, highly detailed handbook of the course that is second to none! However, a bi-product of this is the running time lords - running from 9 to 12 hours completion pace (official cut off). Many competitors decide to follow these time lords who are introduced during the briefing and so create a small community of runners through the day. These time lords are usually quite experienced and have completed the course themselves on multiple occasions. They are all very friendly and a great source of knowledge. You’ll also find them available in the months before this event guiding recces of the route.

I would think this is a good introduction to ultra running as the community spirit is there and I’ve met some fantastic people over the years taking part. Although since first competing in this race I have run many more scenic courses, this one for me is a little bit special, and one that I’m sure I will return to again in the future.

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11:47 02-07-18

Did this in Mar 18 as my first ever Ultra. Loved it. Due to the weather conditions the race was 'officially' cancelled but 15 or so of us ran it unsupported (apart from a few family and friends on route). I had done numerous recce trips over the winter so very little time was spent navigating. The organisers still met us at the start (to wish us well) and at the finish to hand over our finishers tshirt, medal and certificates. Will be back in 2019 to run it 'officially'. Happily recommend this ultra if you've not none it before.

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07:36 02-08-16

This was my first ultra and as it was on my doorstep it felt like a must. I had recce the course throughout the winter so knew where I was going, the course is self navigational following the signs for the community forest path there is also a GPX you can use.
I went for the full catering option so I could have a nibble at the check points, food was plenty and marshalls were amazing,this is the only time you see a marshal but there are plenty of runners on route you can follow and if you haven't had chance to recce the course you can follow the time lord.
The event started and finished at the Ashton court estate which was great for the home run as it was all down hill for about half a mile. The medal was amazing, it's all about the medal for me! You also had a t-shirt, certificate and a hot meal.
I wouldn't have said the course was overly easy due to the ground being saturated, lots of really boggy muddy areas which added to all the fun. A few hills but nothing like the Brecons, a chance to take in the views.
I would definitely recommend this race as its was all in all a great day and a wicked atmosphere.
And I came in as fifth woman which was awesome!

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07:30 08-05-16

Only one person can win a race we all know that yet so many of us enter races knowing we have little chance of being within the same hour as the winner let alone top the podium. Running is different, people run for so many different reasons and winning isn't necessarily one of them. Nowhere is this more true than in ultra marathons. So it was on the morning of Saturday 5th March that 184 hardy souls almost exclusively clad in Salomon running gear nervously prepared kit, checking and double checking the details. Chatting excitedly with friends or just pensive waiting for it to start. The it being the Green Man Challenge, a 46mile ultra marathon with in excess of 4,000ft of climbing using the Community Forrest Path and Frome Valley Way path that circumvent Bristol.

The route was predominantly on trail and with the weather that we have experienced over the previous week was a boggy, muddy mess. There were puddles that were knee deep, fields of thick mud that made running impossible, fields with thick mud and then a covering of freezing rain water across the top creating something akin to a paddy field. From the start the route went up hill, knowing this I decided to start very cautiously, this is good advice in any ultra. It's a long way, you will be out there a long time and a lot can happen.

After a slog up through muddy fields in the cold morning, the race started at 8am, there were then runnable sections across fields and through wooded sections. After starting cautiously this did feel a bit like having the leash let off. I was though very aware of my effort and trying to keep under control. Running slow when you are not used to it feels like you are not really moving. The field was quite bunched at the start, once it became runnable it strung out.

I settled into a pace that was matched by a lady from Northern Ireland, Susan. We ran together for quite a few miles chatting about running and the races we have done. That's the other thing about an ultra you're generally running at a pace where talking is easy, if you can't talk then you're going too fast. We hit the first checkpoint quite quickly, it was only 9 miles after the start, there was drinks and malt loaf. A quick grab and off again. The next checkpoint was a further 7 miles away.

Off again and there was a self imposed target to get to the next checkpoint ahead of the start of the 30 mile race. The GMU has two races the 45 miler and 30 miler. Both use the same course with the 30 miler starting 15 miles into the course. The checkpoint here was better stocked, coke, lots of cake and sandwiches. I grabbed a handful of food and it was, once more, off again. At this point I was feeling great and got a little carried away, I started running quicker, the ground was now compacted trail more akin to the tarmac that I normally run on. Checkpoint 3 was 12 miles along and i started to lose my zip.

I was in a group of runners and as we passed a pedestrian we were told that the next aid station was just around the corner. As it came into view there was relief, it turned out though that this was not an official aid station. I stopped and asked for some help retrieving my blood test kit out of my race vest. The lady that helped me asked if I needed anything, i replied that I might do and would know shortly. She hovered around me as I tested my blood. It was 4mmol which is at the bottom of the good range which is between 4-7. she asked me what I needed then got me food - a lot of sugary calorific food. With a handful of mini-eggs and flapjack I set off walking towards the next official checkpoint. Whilst this interaction may seem trivial it wa actually very significant.

When you have diabetes your brain plays tricks on you, you can have a low blood sugar and yet not deal with it or not want to deal with it. It's the ultimate in denial. I have been in this position before and it does take an intervention sometimes. The action of asking me if I needed anything or if there was anything I needed to do made me do it. Without that I might have been tempted to just continue. that would have been a mistake.

At the next checkpoint, which was at 28 miles, I went to town with the food. A red bull (which I later found out was sugar free!), a handful of sandwiches, a stack of cake all carried and eaten. I also grabbed some gels and a couple of 9-bars which I stashed for later. I was feeling revitalised for having eaten and set about running again. The next section of the course felt weird in that it was the footpath but woven around the Bradley Stoke housing estates. We were sharing the footpaths with dog walkers, kids on scooters and bikes, everyone was encouraging but interacting with normal people was a little surreal. A reminder that it was a Saturday and people were going about their business.

At this point I settled in running wth a couple of Welsh chaps that were going at a pace I could maintain. We helped each other out, chatting, taking the mickey and passing the time. It made the running feel easy. We continued to walk the uphill sections and run where we could.

As we got closer to the 4th checkpoint at Blaise Castle they pushed on stronger than me and the elastic snapped. At the checkpoint I made a decision to be quick through. As I entered I saw Matt, he was volunteering and knocking off, we had a quick chat and he was going to run the final 10km with me. I set off, we were now being followed by the 9hr timelord and a further group of runners. Over that final 10k I must have a lost maybe 8-10 places but I didn't care. My quads were trashed and it was just about finishing. I couldn't have responded even if I had wanted to.

Across the Downs and towards the Clifton Suspension Bridge. It was now a glorious sunny afternoon so there were tourists, day trippers, dog walkers and kids on scooters. All gave me and the other runners a wide berth. Across the bridge and then down into Ashton Court. The finish was insight.

I crossed the line so pleased to finish and be in daylight. Once across the line there's a lift in spirits that's almost euphoric. Not 5 minutes earlier I had been struggling and heading towards a dark place, now it was all smiles and a return of energy. Relief, happiness and adrenaline all combining.

I was helped out of my muddy shoes, took off my socks and calf guards and went inside the race HQ to get my t-shirt and bag. A change of clothes, some vegetarian chilli and a cup of tea and I felt like me again. My legs and feet were sore but in no way was I broken.

Some numbers...
Total distance run - 47.6miles (race is advertised as 46 so I clearly went wrong somewhere!)
Total elevation - 4,006ft / 1,221m
Avg. pace - 10:59 per mile
Slowest mile - mile #5 in 14:40 with 459ft of climb
Fastest mile - mile #20 in 08:01
Calories burned - 6,600
Position - 32nd/184 (there were 168 finishers)
Finish time - 08:42:59.

Posted onto my blog here... http://marcusbosano.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/green-man-ultra-5th-march-2016.html

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08:46 06-03-16

Great event doing a full loop around Bristol. Well organised. Navigation a bit of a challenge! Friendly people all the way round with some lovely bonus food stations laid on by random people along the way.

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09:51 13-01-16

I took part in this in 2015...it was my first one day ultra, and a brilliant way to ease in....quite a flat course....very good food selections at checkpoints, ...i would probably have got lost but stuck with a 'timelord' for navigation - in fact, a group of five of us did- by the end of the event were had chatted so much the event had become very enjoyable and the running passed quickly. Well organised, enthusiastic and encouraging marshals.

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03:25 02-06-15

First registered ultra. 95% of the race is beautiful apart from a few road crossings which are unavoidable. Really well stocked checkpoints and friendly crew. Will be back next year to better my time.

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04:42 12-05-15

Well organised & friendly. Mostly rural & scenic. Good food at checkpoints & end if you take the catered option. Reasonably easy to navigate.

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