Are there any minimum requirements to enter?
This is a tough challenge, so we will expect prior ultramarathon experience. We will ask you to submit a race result as 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. We will vet all entrants for experience. If you aim to complete a qualifying event before our event, that is acceptable, but if you fail to evidence it later, you will not be able to participate and have to sell you place privately
Is it a stage race?
No, you can run non-stop. Realistically, most people sleep at one or more checkpoints.
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, during daylight hours, 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 and be comfortable using map(s) anyway. We recommend a GPS device as a backup and for some assurance.
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-mile event has a cut off time of 42 hours.
Are places limited?
Yes. 100 on the 185 mile and 50 on the 100 mile. Once capacity is reached, entries will be permanently closed. The only way to obtain an entry afterwards would be if someone drops out and sells you their place privately. We do not operate waitlists.
Will I have to carry all my kit? Are there drop bags?
You will have to carry all mandatory kit (which will be checked); see below. You will also get access to a drop bag at some CPs, which can have your food, some socks etc. Your drop bag should be a disposable/carrier-type bag, clearly labelled with your name and number
What about a finish line bag?
You can have a reasonable size bag, sub 40 litres. Climbing bags and large rucksacks are not acceptable. A towel, change of clothes, shoes are about all you realistically need. Clearly label with your name and number
Will there be medical support?
Yes. We have dedicated paramedic support for the entire 4 days.
Can my family and friends support me on the course?
Yes certainly. There is limited parking at some checkpoints and some restrictions on where your family can meet you, but generally they can meet you on most of the course
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?
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!
What is on the kit list?
- Rucksack / backpack
- Foil blanket (survival bag preferable)
- The two National Trail Harvey Maps are best, but you can use OS 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 a campsite
- Waterproof jacket
- Additional warm layer(s)
- 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. We will accept completion of UTMB as a qualifying race