April brings the beginning of spring.  The birds singing, lighter mornings and the evenings steadily getting longer before darkness sets in.  However, be warned, that doesn’t mean the weather is going to be nice to you as some of you may have a found out in 2018 on the Liverpool to Manchester Ultra where #GBUltras Athlete Charlie Sharpe wore a coat instead of going topless for the first time and wore crisp packets for gloves! The volunteers also battled the elements alongside the runners with icy cold winds, sleet and heavy rain.  I’m sure last year’s runners would agree they deserved a medal themselves.

This is not the first time GB Ultras runners have run along the Trans-Pennine route ( 2016, 2017, and 2018) but it’s a first to start at Old Trafford and run the route in reverse, so maybe you could put in your CV for the Manchester United Manager’s job before the start of the race.

Anyway, the Trans-Pennine way is a very easy to navigate course and very well marked and the only race that GB Ultras organise that have the map as a ‘Recommended kit’ item rather than a ‘Mandatory Kit’ item but that being said learning the route or having the map and being able to read it could save you time trying to find your way back to the route if your lost or knowing if you’re off route or not.

The route is a great route for anyone looking to finish their first ultra or anyone who is looking to see how fast they can run 50 miles as the route is very flat, well supported (with 7 Checkpoints) and thus a very fast course.  The course changes from canal paths to running beside wide river beds to shaded wide cycle paths to country road’s and is one of the best kept routes I’ve been on. The route is perfect for road shoes or light trail shoes as anything more aggressive will only wear the soles away and a road trainer should give more comfort on the terrain.

Sometimes flat routes can feel harder than those hillier races as sometimes the hills can give us a little rest from all the running so to that end, I would recommend finding a pace that’s sustainable for 50 miles. Finding a pace that you can hold comfortably for much of the race is hard to do, so get the training in, be consistent and practice carrying your mandatory kit ready for race day. Plenty of weeks between now and April to find the comfortable pace.


Our Coaches, Sponsored Athletes and our Ambassadors have come together to give you their Top 5 Training Tips for next year’s race.

1.      Work out a sustainable pace and stick to it! This race can be harder than it looks if you go out too quickly – Alex McMunn Athlete/Coach

2.      Train specifically to the race you have in order to achieve the best possible result. For example, replicate terrain and conditions best as you can – Charlie Sharpe Athlete/Coach

3.      Run to the conditions on the day and choose Race day kit based on the forecast. I carried two waterproof jackets last year after seeing the amount of the rain due – Charlie Sharpe Athlete/Coach

4.      Pace appropriately on the day, you should definitely be setting off slower than marathon pace. It’s an easy course to go too fast early on and face a big slow down later – Charlie Sharpe Athlete/Coach

5.      Cushioned road shoes are best suited for this race but make sure you train in them as blisters can be an easy end to your race. As trail runners our feet might not be as good in road shoes as our usual running footwear – Alex McMunn Athlete/Coach

Review by Alex McMunn – GB Ultras

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