We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Hey there, Don't forget to log in and join the conversation Log in

Westcountry Ultra 100 Miler

18-May-2019 Taunton, Somerset, UK (England)

YOUR RATING

Image Mask
0 REVIEWS
Trail Race Race Terrain
161KM / 100Miles
1 Day - 200 Runners

Alternate Distances: 80KM/50M

DIFFICULTY Race Difficulty Intermediate  

Entry From £75 GBP

In 2016 the Westcountry Ultra 100 Miler was finished by less than half the people who entered. This was most probably due to the challenging weather conditions as well as the toughness of the second half. The race was won by Alistair Higgins, who flew over from Dublin to take part and reportedly didn't look remotely tired at any of the aid stations, but he was run close by Dan Masters in second, who finished around half an hour later. A number of runners further down the field impressed by toughing it out, with one runner even doing an extra 20 miles due to a few navigational errors but still finishing!

The Westcountry Ultra 100 Miler combines the routes of the two fifty milers. Commencing in the bustling metropolis (as in our county town) of Taunton, you will follow the canal path all the way to Bridgwater Docks. If you're lucky you may spot a kingfisher along this section. If you're very lucky you may spy an otter. Look out also for the 'space walk' signs - one for each planet in our solar system, which also have approximate distances in km to Bridgwater; handy for breaking things down.

Hopefully you won't have used up all your energy banking some uber-fast miles, and then you can keep on plodding down the River Parrett Trail to Steart Marshes Nature Reserve. You'll be pretty much following the river most of the way, and so here's a chance to gather your thoughts.

From Steart, where you can keep your eyes on the skies for Peregrine Falcons and various wading birds, you will be following the original route of the West Somerset Coast Path all the way to Minehead.

There is much to help those miles tick by along the way; you'll want to zoom past the Nuclear Power Station at Hinkley Point (sorry, we couldn't get them to move it!), or maybe you'll gaze at it with intrigue. Either side of there are spectacular limestone formations at Lilstock, East Quantoxhead and Kilve. Off to your left you should see the Quantock Hills, where poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge was inspired to compose most of his famous works. To your right in the Bristol Channel you may well see the islands of Steepholm and Flatholm. You will actually skirt the edge of the Quantocks around West Quantoxhead, from where you should be able to see Minehead pretty clearly if the weather isn't too shabby.

From here you head back to the coast and into quaint old Watchet, then on to Dunster beach, where if you're lucky you may be able to get an ice-cream. From here you are approaching the half way point at; this is a curious town, where the bright lights of the Arcades and Butlins give way to the enchanting forests of North Hill. You can pause here and gather yourself for the second half, which is where the hills begin.

Starting off in Minehead, where a feast awaits you upon your return, you will head to the beginning of the South West Coast Path, which is symbolised with a large metal hand holding a map. From here (unless it is an extremely foggy day) you will see the enigmatic North Hill towering above the town. You'll be heading straight to the top, where you'll traverse along to Bossington Hill, from which the views alone will be enough to take your mind off the steepness of the descent. Then you'll head down an enchanting woodland path to Bossington car park; if you're lucky there may be some wild garlic still to snack on along the way.

You will make your way gradually along the coast all the way to Lynmouth, historic scene of a disastrous flood in 1952 (don't worry, it hasn't repeated itself since, even during the ferocious storms of 2014), which is a kind of half way point, although it's actually a little before half way. On the way here your eyes will get a four course meal of wonderful natural surroundings - occasionally you will run through coastal forest, but will often be able to see the sea off to your right. Along this stretch are some of the most runnable sections of the route, but there is plenty of up and down. You may find yourself wanting to stop often to take photographs, as the views along here you may see on a number of postcards in local shops.

After leaving Lynmouth you will head alongside the river Lyn for a while (keep your eyes peeled for Dippers and other wildlife) before heading up into the moors, following the Coleridge Way - this is a route devised to follow in the footsteps of famous poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who is said to have composed his best known works during walks at different places along the route. There have been no 'beast' sightings in recent years, but the wild atmosphere of this place will make you realise how it captured the imagination back in the 80s. Heading across vast hills to County Gate and onwards, where you will be surrounded on all sides by Exmoor at its most captivating, you will be preparing to drop down to almost sea level before a massive climb back up through ancient woodland. Depending on when in the day you arrive here you can keep your eyes and ears open for an array of wildlife - the woods at Webber's Post and Horner, due to the age of the trees, attract Redstarts, Wood Warblers, Pied Flycatchers and a host of the usual woodland birds.

At the top of the climb is Dunkery Beacon, which rises to 519 metres above sea level; hardly a mountain, but it still offers incredible panoramic views on a clear day. The cairn at the top may be a good place to pause, take in your surroundings and gear yourself up to make the most of some downhill miles. The descent back into Minehead is long, but at this point you will know you are on the home stretch and that there is a feast awaiting you at the finish. You can sit and eat, and share anecdotes with your fellow finishers as they arrive.

Avatar

Event Organiser
Dave Urwin

VIEW PROFILE
LIKE WHAT YOU READ?
SIGN UP FOR MORE

Beginner

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.

Intermediate

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.

Advanced

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.

Expert

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.

Brutal

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 Westcountry Ultra 100 Miler

You must be logged in to add your review, click here to login or register



Have you run one of these races?

Add your race review
to the race page for your
chance to win great kit
like these

Not a member?

Join Now

It takes less than
a minute