Are there any minimum requirements to enter?
This is a tough challenge, so we will expect some prior ultramarathon experience. We will ask you to submit your race experience / biography to us after you enter. Realistically speaking, you’ll want to have completed a 50 miler, before entering the Mercian Challenge, and completed a 100 miler before entering the full King Offa’s Dyke race. Strong endurance, back to back training and the power or recovery will be crucial to your success.
Is it a stage race?
No, you can run non-stop. Realistically, most people are going to be sleeping at some checkpoints. That’s fine.
How easy is it to navigate?
This National Trail is perhaps the most well-marked footpath we have ever reccied. For the vast majority of it, you won’t even need to look at your map. You simply follow the National Trail symbol and Offa’s Dyke markers. You must carry a map(s) anyway, and we would recommend a GPS device as a backup and for some assurance. Why not join us on one of the training events to see just how well marked the National Trail is?
Are there cut-off times?
Yes. They are published on the Schedule page. There is a sliding scale of checkpoint closing times, varying from 3mph down to 2.05 mph (the minimum average speed required to complete the course in 90hours). The 100 miles event has a cut off time of 42 hours.
Are places limited?
Yes. 100 on the 185 mile and 50 on the 100 mile. We will operate a waitlist as soon as the event reaches capacity.
Will I have to carry all my kit? Are there drop bags?
No, but you will have to carry mandatory kit (which will be checked). You will also get access to a drop bags at some CPs
What about a finish line bag?
You can have a reasonable size bag. Climbing bags and large rucksacks are not acceptable. A towel, change of clothes, shoes are about all you realistically need.
Will there be medical support?
Yes. We have dedicated paramedic support for the entire 4 days. Provided by Ultra Medix
Can my family and friends support me on the course?
Yes certainly. There is limited parking at some checkpoints but there are no restrictions on where your family can meet you.
Will there be any coaches from the start/end?
No, for the sole reason we can’t rely on the M6, M5, A49 or any other number of potential road issues, to delay the start of the race if 50 runners are stuck on a coach in Friday night traffic. It’s up to you if you wish to travel by car and where you want to leave it, and we suggest rail travel between the start/end.
Will I be tracked?
Yes, we will offer RaceDrone tracking to all participants
What happens if I retire?
If you retire injured on the course you will be transported to the closest checkpoint, where you can make your own arrangement for collection or onward travel, or we will be make arrangement to drop you off at the closest railway station. You must collect your drop bag from the finish line or you can arrange to have the bag couriered to you home, at your own expense. We will not be able to transport you to the finish line if you retire on the course (unless the finish line is the closest checkpoint)
I have seen different distances for the National Trail given; varying from 168 to 177 to 182 miles. Which is it?
Well, if you believe the halfway sign it says 88.5 miles to each end (177 miles). If you believe the sign at Prestatyn finish, it says “Chepstow 182 miles”. Actually the Dyke path splits on a few occasions and this accounts for some difference. We will be taking the low route in the Wye Valley. Also, the lead in and out to some checkpoints makes the distance a little longer. Assume 185 miles and you won’t be short-changed!
How much does the event cost?
The 2016 Offas Dyke Race (185 miles) is £245. The Mercian Challenge (100 miles) cost is £145. This is payable in one non-refundable payment of £50, followed by the balance within 14 days, payable via BACS, or Paypal (+3.5%)
What is on the kit list?
- Rucksack / backpack
- Foil blanket (foil bag preferable)
- OS Maps, Harvey Maps or Cicerone maps.
- Dressed in appropriate clothing for the challenge and weather conditions
- Appropriate footwear (trail shoes recommended)
- Sleeping bag (must be carried, cannot be in drop bag). Sleeping bag should be suitable to sleep at an outdoors checkpoint.
- Waterproof jacket
- Additional warm layer
- Hat and gloves
- Blister Kit: ZO Tape, sterile needle, dressings Pain medication
- Head torch, plus spare batteries (At least set in backpack. Additional sets in drop bags)
- Drinks bottles and/or platypus to carry 2 litres.
- Fully charged mobile phone
- GPS device for backup navigation
- Spare clothing/shoes
- Thermarest, balloon bed, or roll mat
- Mobile charger
- spare socks
Does the race give me points towards events such as UTMB?
No it doesn’t. UTMB race directors (under the guise of a self-appointed organisation called the ITRA) have set a charge of 100 euros for a race to be ratified as a UTMB qualification events. This is a shameful money-making policy, and we join many UK race directors in refusal to apply. This event actually has a similar amount of elevation to the UTMB so save yourself a flight and do this event instead! Offa’s Dyke events can be used as a qualification distance for certain other events, such as Mark Cockbain’s series.
All entry fees, or profits and donations received in respect to Offa’s Dyke Training events will be donated in full to Macmillan Cancer Support. Beyond Marathon Ltd are constantly trying to increase awareness of Malignant Melanoma, which is the most dangerous form of skin cancer, caused primarily by sun damage. If you have attended any of our events, you know that we open our event presentations with advice on skin care. Malignant Melanoma is the most common form of cancer in people aged 15-34. Each year, approximately 2,000 people die in England and Wales due to melanoma and more than 10,400 people are diagnosed with it. We will provide some sunblock samples for all competitors for this event. Runners spend a lot of time outdoors, and don’t always slap on the sunblock. If you’re worried about a mole, please get it checked at your doctor as soon as you can, as malignant melanoma is very aggressive, and early diagnosis is vital. Beyond Marathon also donate all profits from their single-stage flagship race Dusk-til-Dawn to Macmillan Cancer Support, and have done every year for the past 5 years.