How was Ultra:5k conceived?

Like all good ideas, the idea came about over a pint and a discussion between two runners/triathletes/cyclists. There are two main reasons why the discussion led to the format of Ultra:5k.

Firstly, working with fun runners and elite runners alike, we sensed they were looking for something different to your average 5k, 10k, half marathon etc. Not to replace them, as they are the lifeblood of amateur running, but to enhance what is available and give another option. In particular, runners were indicating they wanted something different, that didn`t involve obstacles and water (unless it`s raining!).

And secondly, a frustration that quite a few events organisers are putting profit before participant experience. Promises of `goodie bags` that really turn out to be `baddy bags` with a green tea bag, leaflets and an energy gel. Granted, race organisers are running a business and need to make a profit, but there has to be a balance between profit and race experience.

So, we looked at what is available and other than progressing to marathons and then ultras there really wasn`t an alternative. We looked at other sports and found a weekend sprint triathlon that is based on completing as many sprint triathlons over a weekend. Boom! We could apply this to shorter running distances. The seed was sown!

The ultra format of 5 x 5k races on the hour every hour was born. This would allow an average of half an hour recovery before the next race starts. But 5 x 5k is a big challenge and may stop people relatively new to running entering such a tough event. So to make sure we are inclusive, we are introducing a 3 race option and a team relay option. Runners can move up from parkrun to the 3 race option, or form a 3 or 5 person relay team. We really believe it is catering for everyone.

The piece of the jigsaw missing at that point was how do we make the runners feel they are getting a quality event for the entry fee? The solution, in part, is that for the duration of the race we will provide all nutrition and refreshments free to competitors. From a straight forward cup of tea/coffee, to doughnuts and proper sports nutrition, energy bars, gels, protein etc. We will also provide the opportunity for soft tissue work, stretching and massage in the runners holding area during the event.

This is just the start. As we develop our plans we will update you with more inclusive offers which will enhance the event and your experience including a detailed training plan.

Thank you for reading our blog. Keep checking for updates, follow us, like us. We have just rolled a snow ball and believe us, it is going to get BIGGER!

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