As 2014 draws to a close in less than a months time, aside from my usual Retrospect posts where I sum up my year in review, I thought I would list down my top 10 Ultra Trail Races that I dream of doing some day.
These races are listed based on whether I think it’s possible for me to both physically and financially commit and carry out within my lifetime. As I would love to visit every part of the world once, I took into consideration that each race on this bucket list should appear only once per country (with the exception of the #1 entry). The races are ranked as follows.
- #10 to #6 – Races that I dream of doing, but would only be possible after gaining more experience in ultra-racing and saving enough money to travel to these places.
- #5 to #3 – Races that I believe would be possible to be done within a couple of years.
- #2 to #1 – Races that I would do anything to take part in.
#10 – Grand to Grand Ultra (North America)
The G2G Ultra was introduced to me just a week or so ago when Colin Geddes, Co-Founder and Event Director of the race, came by Singapore to give a presentation on the event. You can find more pictures of the event here. I was rather amazed by the diverse terrain that was found in the race, something quite uncommon in a lot of stage races. The G2G is also the first and only self supported stage footrace in America. If I ever had a reason to come to America, this race would be it.
#9 – Le Grand Raid Réunion (France)
#8 – Transgrancanaria (Spain)
#7 – Salomon SkyRun (South Africa)
I have a fascination for South Africa, some of the reasons being that it has one the most epic mountains in the world. For example, the Table Mountain, Lions Head and the Drakensberg mountain ranges . It also helps also that Ryan Sandes also lives in South Africa! There are other races as well, such The Red Bull LionHeart.
#6 – Lavaredo Ultra Trail (Italy)
The Telegraph describes this race as the most beautiful running race you’ve never heard of. In the video below, even Anton Krupicka acknowledges the beauty of the course. The scenery alone is enough to entice to come to Italy one day.
#5 – The North Face 100 Australia (Australia)
As part of The North Face Asia Pacific circuit of races, this race takes place at the Blue Moutains National Park in New South Wales. I have never had the chance to run the trails in Australia despite having visited there twice, thus, a perfect occasion to do so with this race.
#4 – Tarawera Ultra Trail (New Zealand)
The Tarawera has been around for some time, but in recent years received a boost in attendance due to its inclusion in the Ultra-Trail World Tour circuit of races. A beautiful course set in a beautiful country.
#3 – Ultra Trail Mount Fuji (Japan)
The regional equivalent of the #1 race on this list, the UTMF leads runners around Mount Fuji, the highest peak in Japan. Despite the breathtaking scenery, the race itself is highly technical, providing a unique challenge for both local and international runners. Even the top runners do drop out from race, as evident in the documentary of the 2013 edition of the race.
#2 – 4 Deserts Race Series (Atacama/Gobi/Sahara/Antartica)
Stage racing has always had a special place in my running history, as it was the race format which kick started my ultra-running adventure. That said, I was drawn to the epic nature of the 4 Deserts; running/trekking across remote yet beautiful terrain over 7 days while covering 250km. I was further drawn into the race after watching the Desert Runners movie and getting a chance to meet the 4 Deserts event organizers while they were here in Singapore.
#1 – Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (France,Italy,Switzerland)
It is of no surprise that the grandest race of them all tops this list. After meeting Kilian Jornet in Singapore a couple of years ago and watching him race and win the UTMB (for the third time), I was instantly hooked. This was the race that I wanted to do and what started my ultra-running journey. The fact that other Singaporeans had done it before spurred my interest to qualify for the race even further.
What races do you dream of taking part some day? Let me know in the comment section below!