Sunday, 11 August 2013

UK Ultra Performance of the Year 2013: The Story so far

     Firstly, a couple of important notes when looking to add others in and comments. I feel the performance has to have been run at a UK race and by a UK athlete. I think UK performances abroad and overseas runners performances in the UK (like Jean Beaumont at South Downs Way 100) warrant their own categories.  The initial idea was to promote Ultra Running in the UK by putting UK athletes and the races they compete at on a pedestal and provide a bit of exposure. Please whack a comment on if you think of other great performances that would have undoubtedly missed and I can update as we go.

Mick Cooper-  Spine race 268mi 2nd 127:11:00
     Just finishing this beast is a huge undertaking. Phenomenal time and only just pipped by an overseas runner

Zoe salt- Country 2 Capital 1st and 10th overall (Course Record)
     Route was altered and shortened this year but it’s the 10th overall in a hugely competitive mens field that is most impressive

Dan Doherty  and Craig Holgate- Thames Trot 50mi 5:11:00 (Course Record)
     Shortened course but weather was atrocious.

Naomi Tier- Thames Trot 50mi 6:16:00 (course record)
     Again short course but well inside old course record in bad conditions

Debbie Martin-Consani- Thames Path 100 19:19 3rd Overall
     On paper not as impressive time wise but when you look at how bad the conditions were you realise just how good of a run this was. Beat a really good field including most the guys

Dan Doherty Self-Transcendence 100km. 7:05
     Beat an insanely fast field and put himself 3rd on the all-time fastest list at a really prestigious race

Holy Rush- Compton downland 40mi 5:10 (course record)
     Crushed the female field

Mark Perkins- South Downs Way 50 6:55 (course record)
     Not sure many expected a sub 7hour run on this course but Mark got it done

Lee Kemp- Highland Fling 53mi 7:03 (course record)
     A race that has been run by the very best over the years. To get a course record at a race like this is simply phenomenal. Had to work hard to chase Lightfoot down too and inflict his first and only Ultra defeat

Johnathan Steede- 100km causeway crossing 8:35 (Course record)
     Tough one as the race has no history but 8:35 100km on a tough trail path is very impressive. He also won by 2hours 45mins!

Jennifer Bradley 9:03 pony express 60mi 2days 3rd overall (course record)
     Mixed it up with the fast dudes again. Always tough to beat in these multi day races

Craig Holgate- North Downs way 6:47 (course record)
     I think generally people found it hard to find words for this one. Craig was like a freight train from start to finish. Who knows what he would have ran if he was pushed

Emily Canvin- North Downs Way 7:49 5th Overall (course record)
     This will be a popular vote. That time is World class

Shelli Gordon- Hardmoors 110 22:10 3rd overall (course record)
     When Shelli ran a 24:19 last year for a then a course record everyone said it was one of the best runs of the year….so how about 2 hours faster this year! Incredible

Mimi Anderson- Grand Union Canal Race 145mi DOUBLE. 31:50 + 36:49
     To run the GUCR twice is unfathomable to me. Running from Birmingham to London is a huge undertaking but to do it following a wee nap that was preceded by running from London too Birmingham is truly remarkable

Katie Roby- Ultra Brecon 40, Summer. 7:41 1st
     Anybody that wins a race that attracts some of the very best competition deserves a mention. Katie won a tight race against Lizzie Wraith. Lizzie then exploded onto our radars with her Lakeland demolition so what does this say about Katie? Watch this space.....

Sarah Morwood -Classic Quarter 44mi 7:28 2nd Overall (course record)
     This run was also 7th fastest in the history of the race…that includes Men’s times!

Robbie Britton- South Downs Way 100 15:43 (course record)
     On race day everyone wondered when Robbie would slow down. He never did- relentless. I don’t think anybody expected a sub 16 and I credit Robbie with altering the Mind set of other runners. Would a sub 16 North Downs way 100 have happened without this first?

Sonia Bracegirdle- The wall run 111km outright winner 10:53
     First Ultra and she beat all the chaps, not bad at all

Paul Giblin- West Highland Way race 153mi 15:07 (Course record)
     I can see this being a lot of people’s pick. He crushed a Terry Conway course record that use to be held by Jez Bragg. This could also be another defining run in the UK. Paul may have just proved sub 15 is possible. One aid station was not even ready for him which cost him time.

Ricky Lightfoot IAU world trail champs 77km, wales. 5:36 1st
     Big win on home soil against a truly world class field. Ricky led from gun to tape and was never  troubled by quality runners like Rancon, Riddle and Antolinos

Joanna Zakrzewski-  IAU world trail champs 77km, wales. 7:01 4th
     Not bad for a roadie. Joanna is a superb british talent and I’m glad all that road speed is coming over to the trails! 4th in a world class trail running field was mightily impressive

Ben Abdelnoor- Lakeland 50, 7:39 (course record)
     Stunning time on one of the hardest and most competitive 50 mile races in the country

Lizzie Wraith- Lakeland 100 24:15 (course record)
     I was convinced that Lizzie could not hold together her insane early pace. By mile 25 she wa already 90mins inside a tough course record. She ended up beating it by 4hours! If there are any doubts about how good the run is then you only have to look at her 8th overall placing and her win margin of nearly two hours against one of the country’s best runners- Debbie Martin-Consani

Stuart Mills- Lakeland 100 22:17 1st
     So it may not touch the CR but as rightly pointed out to me Stuart is 50 and he beat some incredible young talented ultra runners along the way. Stuart himself being the absolute competitor he would probably not think to highlight the age factor but its a cracking performance none the less

Ed Catmur North Downs Way 100 15:44 1st (course record)
     Big performance here- The north downs is tough, it’s a rhythm breaker and 15:44 for 100miles on it is stellar.

Feedback welcome :-)


  1. I would perhaps include Eoin Keith at energia 24hr race. Think he put in a huge 152miles! Thanks for the great round up though- totally forgot about some of those even though i thought they were amazing at the time. Mark Jenkins

  2. Perhaps you might consider Sue Harrison's bronze medal winning run in the European 100km Championship at Belves, France on 27th April worthy of consideration. Running for GB, Sue had only run the 100k once before. In the Champs she ran 7.48.12 to go 6th on the UK 'All Time List', ran 40 minutes faster than her previous run and was 4 minutes inside the course record for the race (set in 2002 when the Euro Champs were run on the same Course). Sue was 7th at 85k but her pace judgement saw her move into bronze medal place at 99km. Prior to this Sue had won the 50km at Perth on 31st March 2013. Currently Sue ranks No.1. in the UK for both 50k and 100k in 2013. Appreciate this is not a UK Race - but - have suggested it in case performance by 'UK Athlete Abroad' Category is introduced.

  3. Hi Guys,

    Two names to keep an eye on;

    Katie Roby & Hugh Aggleton both tearing up the Welsh Ultra Running Series and in addition Hugh has won Man v Horse and Katy has taken 2 hours off the South Wales Travers, two very athletes with a very bright future.

  4. Some fantastic performances there, thanks Richard. I would also include Stuart Mills' victory in last month's Lakeland 100, not a course record but an amazing result for an athlete over 50! His age exceeded the combined ages of the 2nd and 3rd placed runners!

  5. Hello All, thanks for the insightful comments. Sue Harrison would definitely make the list for a UK athlete abroad a category, lots have mentioned Steven Way for this category too which I cant agree more with. I was unaware of Katie and Hugh so thanks for that might contain nuts. Gwyn- I did not really consider the age factor when looking at his Lakeland performance but now you mention it, its absolutely stunning. Also to take almost 90 mins off his own race PB is just age defying. Brilliant. I will let a few more comments accumulate before doing an update with more inclusions. It was also mentioned that Mimi's double GUCR should be in and to be honest that's a huge oversight by me not sure how I forgot that!

  6. Wow! What a year. I think the guys will be a tough decision this year. I had the pleasure of watching some of these great performances - Dan's ACP, Lee at the Fling, Paul at WHW, Ricky at the World's and Ben passed on me during Lakeland race. All were jaw-dropping amazing. But Ricky lined up with the best in the world and annihilated field. That's worth a lot.

    With regards to ladies, it has Lizzie at Lakeland. I can't even make excuses for the margin she had over me, because I had a great race. One of my best runs. And she still beat me by nearly two hours. On her first 100 mile race, there's loads more to come for the tiny speedster.

    Mimi's GUCR double was bonkers. After doing the race once, I can't even comprehend how she managed to do it twice. And on both legs faster than most of the competitors. She's - as always - in a league of her own.

  7. Fantastic insights Debs, very valuable coming from within the race! Agreed that Lizzie kind of jumps off the page and guys is real tough. Some racing to be done yet though! The strength and depth of Ultra Running in the UK has been incredible this year. I thought last year would be hard to top!

  8. Stuart Mills at 50 winning L100 was incredible. Paul Giblin smashing what everyone thought was an unbreakable record at whw and Jon Steele last man standing winner and only finisher at the Hill Ultra are my three.

  9. Is this the final or provisional list of nominees as it's surprising that Tracey (fellfairy) Dean has not been nominated? She is the 2013 female highland fling winner 2013 (btw, she tore her calf after about 6 miles but still romped home in first place!)

  10. and to end the year the fellfairy (aka Tracy Dean) was first lady at the 2013 Tour de Hevellyn breaking the course record as well first lady at the High Peaks 40 in September 2013)....I think to win these UK ultras and not be on the list seems a bit harsh (just my opinion)

  11. hello wibbly. I think harsh is a harsh term :-) its more of a miss as opposed to an active decision to not include. You'll notice the above and ultra awards ( is very dominated by the south. That's mainly because the races in the south are generally better covered and more talked about on forums, blogs, twitter and facebook. Most of the discussion is leaned towards south runs or the big well known races up north like WHW or Lakeland and unfortunately when requests were made for nominations nobody (until you) mentioned Tracey which is so unfortunate as your absolutely right that her performances are worthy of nominations! How do we improve in the future?? The UK ultra awards for 2014 (the website will update with these soon) is working hard to secure contributors and ambassadors from the North that can report on races like TDH and high peaks etc as and when they happen which will ensure all those folks in the south know how incredible these performances are and just ensure the North gets its voiced heard properly.

  12. no worries Richard. I realise the list can't be endless, but I thought Tracy was worth a lil mention!

  13. Joanna Zakrzewski While working as a General Practitioner achieved the following:
    2nd in the world for 100 kms,

    Apart from the World Championships and the 100kms mentioned on the website she came 4th in Comrades, the huge S African 80 kms race, just a few weeks before the World Championships in Wales this summer.