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Westcountry Ultra Flat 50 Miler

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

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3 REVIEWS
Trail Race Race Terrain
80KM / 50Miles
1 Day - 150 Runners

DIFFICULTY Race Difficulty Intermediate  

Entry From £47 GBP

Fancy a trip to the sea? Well we're afraid you'll have to run 25 miles to get there.

However, they're 25 of the flattest miles you'll encounter down our neck of the woods. Sure this is Somerset, so there's the odd gate, the odd stile, the odd but of slightly uneven ground here and there, but as Somerset goes, these are 25 of the easiest miles around. The next 25 are made up of coast paths, cross country trails, seaside towns and villages and a couple of slight diversions inland. You'll get to see a lot of our beautiful county in a day, and along the way will get to feast yourself on the fine spread at our aid stations, finishing up at West Somerset Community College in Minehead, where a medal, a banquet hall (a big hall with some food in it anyway) and the sharing of anecdotes with your fellow finishers awaits you.

OK, so the route in more detail; 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.

If you haven't used up all your energy banking some uber-fast miles then you can leave Bridgwater moving purposefully 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 about how you'll tackle the second half.

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 it's just the finishing leg into Minehead to go; this is a curious town, where the bright lights of the Arcades and Butlins give way to the enchanting forests of North Hill. You should arrive with enough daylight left to enjoy the ambience, and we can recommend Dean's Fish in the main town (other fish & chip shops are available)

At the college you will be able to rest, refuel and stay to cheer the runners from the other races as they come in if you feel like hanging around. This will also be a place to chat to your fellow finishers and reminisce about the race, basking in the knowledge that you've run a long way and have earned your finisher's medal

PLEASE NOTE: - This race is predominantly flat but is not 100 per cent flat and does contain a few hills, although these would have their lunch money stolen by the hills on Exmoor. The total distance is probably a little over 50 miles, although only a little over - this definitely isn't a 100k!

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Event Organiser
Dave Urwin

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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 Flat 50 Miler

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rach

02:31 21-05-18

I participated in the 2018 event, and really enjoyed it. This is a low key, relaxed race: the second half a bit hillier than flat. Partially marked - you need to take a GPS to get through the inland sections. I took extra food and was appreciative of it. This event is excellently priced for an ultra, and I hope it will grow in size. The organisers were superbly helpful, and I got the impression that they wanted everyone to run and really enjoy the day. A decent course, a decent race _ I would definitely go for this again.

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Rob lush

10:40 13-06-16

Cracking low key event, run by runners who know how to look after runners. Great choice of options at the aid stations, the route was as described for the first 30miles and then had some undulations for the remaining 20ish miles. As seems typical with off road events you need to be prepared for some leeway with the advertised distances. And for the price of just £47 you're getting a bargain when compared to the cost if marathons run by bigger companies. Navigationally the first third is following a canal and then a river, then loop round the power station ( markers were in place here) then the inland part which required more careful navigation. As I understand on ultras the onus is more geared towards the runner being able to navigate themselves and come prepared with relevant equipment. But I managed to not get lost and I have a long-term record of doing so on fully marked courses, so I would say it is a less challenging course for navigation. Overall a great first running of this event and definitely one to recommend for first timers an experienced ultra runners

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Adge

07:30 31-05-16

First of all, don't let the relative flatness fool you! It is by far the flattest ultra I've done and I probably (OK, definitely) should have conserved more energy in the first 30 miles, but without any enforced walk breaks (e.g. "hills") the temptation is there to keep on running. I don't think I was alone in this - most of the other competitors I spoke to also admitted to underestimating the challenge.

Speaking of underestimating - the total distance is probably closer to 54 miles. The first 30 are almost pancake flat (long section of canal and river bank) and then there are a few climbs as you make your way along the coast. I gather some people may have complained about this (personally I welcomed them!) but when the organiser says 'flat' I think he means in comparison to the sister event 'Hilly 50'/.

Aid station were well stocked and very friendly. Route marking was pretty basic, although particularly in the first half it's hard to go wrong (follow anal/river). Best take a map/GPS for some of the inland diversions though. My only slight gripe was that the GPS file was inaccurate in its positioning of the furthest aid station before we turned back along the coast - not the end of the world though as the previous aid station did warn me to ignore GPS for that section.

All in all a great low-key and friendly event, and I'm sure it will be even better next year.

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