Ultra races have always been defined as "anything over the marathon distance" which realistically in race walking, is 50km and longer.
A bit of info....
- The 50km mens event is also (currently) the longest race in the Olympic Games.
- The Continental Centurions qualifying 100 miles "WandelWeekend" hold several intermediate distances over their walking weekend: 50km, 50 miles and 100km as well as 100 miles and 24 hours. So lots to choose from!
- Many countries also hold 50km national championship races where many club walkers and aspiring Olympians compete.
Busy roads have meant most ultra races these days now take place in a park or on an athletics track and some classic races, especially in the UK, have ceased to exist - London to Brighton (55 miles) and back, London to Bath (100 miles) and many more.
However, the Isle of Man races, such as the Parish Walk and the End to End, still take place on the open road. Established in 1913, The Parish Walk takes in each of the 17 parishes of the island, covering a distance of 85 miles. A very tough 85 miles due to the undulating nature of the Isle of Man - but well worth the effort. It is a race you will certainly remember, forever. And you will meet lots of Centrions and very many friendly walkers along the route.
Many of the French races - Bourges, Chateau Thierry and the Paris Alsace races continue to walk on the roads, albeit, quiet out of town centre roads. The Roubaix 28 hour race now takes place entirely within a very picturesque park and the Dijon 24 hours is held within the grounds of Dijon University. Read more on ultra races in France
Other distances to try...
Apart from the straight 100 miles in 24 hour races, there are a host of other distances to try - ranging from 6, 8, 12, 48 and 72 hours all the way through to 6 and 8 day races 5000km. Wow!
Many of the multi day races are mostly running ultras, but luckily some do have a walking category with separate results; others, however, don't and basically it doesn't matter whether you run and/or walk.
Just a few of the multi hours and multi day races:
- Royan on the west coast of France holds a 12, 24 and 48 hour race every October and has running and walking categories (no race walking judges).
- International Ultra Marathon Festival Athens, Greece. A running race with 24, 48 and 72 hour races plus 6 days, 1000km, 1000 miles and 2000km up to 5000km... held in January through to March dependant on distance. Entry fees up to 2300 euros for the 5000km race; 6day race: 350 euros.
- EMU 6 day race - Balatonfured in Hungary. 2020 (May) will be the 10th anniversary.
- Italian Ultra Marathon Festival, Policoro Southern Italy. This race has many distances on offer: marathon, 6 hours, 50k, 100k, 24H, 48 hours, 6 days though to 1000 km in 10 days....
- 6 Jours de France held in Privas (France) does have a walking section which is a judged throughout by official French race walking judges.
- The Dome -USA. In 2020, the first 24 hour of this race was designated a US Centurion qualifier.
You just have to decide what is your priority... setting a race walking record, setting any record - or more importantly, just "going for it" : having a go and enjoying a new experience.
and there are loads of "Challenge"events too ...
These are not races but they do aim to test your endurance over distances in a given timescale. Read more about Challenge events