Imagine being one of the first runners to start an iconic new ultra race, set in a stunning location, where few people have ever run before.
Think of wild landscapes and wide-open horizons, abundant wildlife which is unafraid and approachable, and a small community which is 100% supportive of your run. Then add in a unique history for the route, and the chance to explore one of the most remote island groups in the world.
That’s the dream race the new Falklands Ultra will deliver in April 2023, and entries are now open and filling fast.
The Falklands Islands are a UK Overseas Territory, situated in the South Atlantic, and offer the ultimate getaway destination for adventurous runners and travellers. The islands are some of the most southerly in the world (next stop Antarctica) and are home to more penguins than people.
The non-stop 100mile and 100km (62mile) races will offer runners the chance to traverse East Falkland, roughly following the route taken 40 years ago by British Forces in the conflict with Argentina. (There is also a trail marathon distance and the option of a 4 person relay.) Most of the time the runners will be off-road, starting at either Goose Green or San Carlos, and finishing at the island’s capital, Stanley.
This will be the home base for the week-long trip, which is an all-inclusive package; including return flights from Santiago in Chile, accommodation and excursions. These can include sea kayaking or rock climbing, battlefield tours, and wildlife trips which allow close viewing of albatross, and penguin and elephant seal colonies.
The races will be on a marked course, providing an exceptional challenge to the world’s elite ultra runners, but will also have generous cut-off times to allow for walking pace.
The race will be organised under a permit issued by the UK Trail Running Association according to the rules of UK Athletics, and for the ultra distances there are ITRA points available. The routes will have full safety cover and support, and runners will carry satellite trackers, so friends and family at home can follow their progress.
The race is organised by Andy Hodgson and Stuart Edmondson, who have military and logistics backgrounds, with Stuart having served in the Falklands with the RAF. The two friends are accomplished sportsmen, and Andy is an ultra runner and Race Director of the off-road Clarendon Marathon.
They have worked closely with the Falklands Islands Government and Tourist Board, and those taking part can expect a warm welcome from the small island community. They will also get the chance to take part in the world’s most southerly Park Run at Cape Pembroke.
It is a trip and a challenge which has already attracted interest from elite runners, one being U.S. ultra runner Mike Wardian, who said,
“When I heard about the Falklands Ultra, I thought about it for about two seconds before signing up. I am blown away by the organization, landscape, remoteness and ruggedness. I cannot wait to take part and explore everything the Falklands have to offer.”
The race dates are 8th-15th April 2023, and the weather is expected to be unpredictable and challenging.
The race website explains; “With so little land mass at that latitude the weather changes rapidly. It is not unusual to have warm sun, bitterly cold winds, hailstorms, blizzards and torrential rain on the same day. With no trees on the islands there is no shelter when the weather turns for the worse.
“The Falklands Ultra is not a hot-weather or a cold-weather ultra… it’s an all-weather ultra.”
Hodgson sums up what the new race will offer: “This isn’t just a challenging endurance race in a forgotten corner of the globe. The Falklands Ultra is an extraordinary experience of a lifetime – a week-long adventure in a country that few have visited. Nowhere else in the world has such a unique mix of epic terrain, friendly wildlife and iconic battlefield history.”
Full information on the Falklands Ultra, including a detailed brochure, is available at www.falklandsultra.com