Monday 7 January 2013

Potential Idea - Ultrarunning Holiday Camp

In my last post, I alluded to a mysterious event that I was hopefully organising later in the year. After a meeting today, it looks like I am good to go and can finally start actually organising things. So here is my idea:

Ultrarunning Holiday Camp!

A few months ago, Jen and I went for a little weekend break at Center Parcs in Elveden forest (in Suffolk), which if you've never heard of it before, is a holiday park in the middle of a forest with lots of activities to do like swimming, archery, sailing, etc. (kind of like a posh Butlins). There was a little trail loop around the perimeter of the park of roughly 4 miles which I ran a few times each day. I jokingly suggested it would be fun to have a weekend break with a bunch of ultrarunners, and could organise a race there.

Being me, I took it one step further, contacted them, and have now accidentally become an event organiser. I have also been in contact with Richard Felton, who organises the UK Ultrarunner of the Year Awards, and have arranged to hold the awards ceremony at this event as well, so there will be a bit of a do for anybody that likes to get fancied up in their glad-rags.

Given how close-knit the UK ultrarunning scene is, it seems like a social event like this could be a fun way to spend a weekend, and would also allow people's families to get involved as well. I know that Jen would love to meet some of the people that I talk about all of the time, but doesn't feel like hanging around while I run a 100 miler to do it! While we're all running, the running widows/widowers can get together to talk about how stupid we are!

So the weekend will look something like this:

Everybody arrives and checks into their accommodation, people taking part in the race collect their race packs, we have a few drinks.

Race day! The race will be a timed race, probably of 10 hours, with runners aiming to run as many loops as possible. Then the evening will be the Ultrarunner of the Year Awards gala dinner - think 'The Oscars', but with smelly runners instead of glamorous celebrities.

Activity day! Chill in the pool, go to the spa, have a go at archery, ride a horse, the choices are endless! Okay, not strictly true, but there are a lot of things to do.

Check out, say goodbye, and head back to the real world.

I'll also hopefully be able to arrange some other things, such as talks, training sessions, some form of mini-expo if any companies are interested. I may be getting a little ahead of myself here!

It will be held towards the end of the year (most likely the weekend of the 9th and 10th November), but need to work out the best date for avoiding clashes with other races (such as the Winter 100 and Brecon Beacons Ultra) and with the holidays. Again, I will release official details once they have been finalised.

But for now I need an idea of who would be interested in this event. I have no idea of costs just yet, as it is a bit of a chicken and egg situation - I need to know rough numbers to get an idea of cost, but people won't know if they want to come without some idea of how much they will have to pay. A rough back of the envelope estimate is about £200-300 for the whole weekend (bed and breakfast for 3 nights, race entry, ticket to the awards ceremony), with other options available for non-running family members, or people that just want to come for one day for the race and the awards ceremony.

For now it would be great if people could give me some idea of whether or not they would be interested in coming (regardless of cost), and if so how many people (family members, spouses, partners, etc.) they would be likely to bring. If you're interested, just leave a comment below or send me a message on Facebook. You won't be held to anything, I am just trying to gauge the interest! Is it a good idea, or will I be left at the party all on my lonesome?


  1. Sounds like a good idea - I'd be interested. Jen

  2. Isn't the 8th a Friday?

    I might be interested. Hope it doesn't clash with the Runfurther party though. :-)

  3. Ah you're quite right Nick, thanks. CenterParcs start their weekend on the Friday, so it's technically Friday 8th until Monday 11th. Any idea when the Runfurther party is likely to be this year? Don't want to clash!

  4. im in ;) I think cost is as expected. any long weekend break (with structured accomodation) in the uk pushes the £200 mark and an average ultra race now is £70+ so 2-300 for this seems right. would be good fun, especially the drinking part

  5. I'm definitely in. Happy to help with any coordinating that might be needed.

  6. Hi, I would like to add my name to the people interested in this - I like the idea of a 10 hour race too!


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