The SBU35 is now entering its 4th year and is riding high on another wave of tremendous feedback from the 2015 event.
Check out some of the feedback here
We want the SBU35 (St Begas Ultra) to be your choice for your first Ultra, giving you a true appreciation of what ultra running is all about. Whilst tough, everything about this event has been carefully considered to support new entrants, from the choice of route and terrain, the stunning and detailed roadbook, the first class medical support, checkpoints in permanent buildings, the warmest finish line welcome you’re likely to experience and masses of super, friendly and supportive marshals.
The ultra race scene is like no other for the camaraderie shown between competitors. The record number of new ultra runners in 2015 (40 percent!) told us in their feedback how great the rest of you experienced runners were, in giving your support, guidance and friendship when it mattered. Thank-you, you are true ambassadors of the spirit of both the SBU35 and the sport.
Encouraging people to push their limits, to run with friends, old and new, in truly stunning surroundings and getting you safely to the finish line; that’s what we at UKanTrail are about. Taking you further...
And so without further ado, we are pleased to announce the St Begas Ultra 2016. Designed for new ultra runners, loved by all...
Important note for returning competitors. Please note that there is a possible change to the 2016 event, due to the uncertainty regarding the future of St Bees School and therefore our ability to use it as the race HQ. This may require the event HQ and finish, to be based at another location within a short distance of previous years’ finish line. This may slightly extend the distance of the race.
The SBU35 - St Begas Ultra
The SBU35 is an 'as tough as you want it', largely off-road 36 country* mile (approx) ultra trail race. It follows a point-to-point route, from the heart of the Lake District to the West Coast. Based on the long distance route the St Begas’ Way, runners follow the route of the legendary Irish princess, St Bega, travelling between two chapels, that both bear her name.
The Start is in the heart of the Lake District, overlooking Bass Lake near Keswick, and the Finish and race HQ is in the west coast village of St Bees, the start of Wainwright's coast to coast walk.
Between these two points, lay 36 country miles of some of the most varied and beautiful country the Lake District has to offer.
Leg 1 - From the wooded shores of Bassenthwaite lake, the route climbs on forest tracks and through a break in the trees, you get the first glimpse of the route ahead, as wall of fells you’ll traverse, tower over the open valley floor. Descending steeply though the woods, you cross the valley floor to the shores of Derwentwater. Through low level woods, the route hugs the lakeshore before breaking off toward Borrowdale and Checkpoint 1.
Leg 2 - Heading South, through the 'Jaws' of Borrowdale. Ahead a momentous climb is revealed, that you must ascend. After a welcome flat section to pass through Honister Slate mine and the source of our Finish line medals, the route climbs again on one of the steepest sections of track you'll have ever seen. The character of the route changes then, as runners enter the remotest section of the journey. Heading out over open fell on rough tracks and then descending, stunningly, into the uppermost end, of the secluded Ennerdale valley. There are no roads here and the only vehicle you're likely to see in this truly remote valley, is the Black Sail Youth Hostel warden's Landrover. Midway down this valley you reach Checkpoint 2, the main fuelling stop for the runners.
Leg 3 – Reaching the shore of Ennerdale Water the route again hugs the lake along its full length. Then after tracking the length of this isolated and beautiful place, the route climbs steeply once more onto gentler fells, wherein the discrete, but not to be underestimated ‘Bummers’ hill resides. At the top of this punishing climb you reach the summit of our local fell, Dent giving runners their first view of the sea and the welcome flat land ahead. Descending from Dent you reach the Checkpoint 3
Leg 4 - Renewed at the checkpoint, the finish line is a few short and level miles ahead, at the end of the St Bees valley. Here, a warm, warm welcome, awaits every runner. First, or last to cross the line, each finisher has faced their own challenges, their own mix of highs and lows and each and every one of them is greeted by the applause they deserve..
The SBU35 is a journey, in every sense...
General Event Details
Whilst we've set a very generous 12 hr cutoff time for the route, we've got two, stunningly fast course records, that'll challenge even top-flight runners. Fastest Male 5:12:31, Fastest Woman 5:49:56, Last 2015 Finisher 12:31, Average 2015 Finisher 08:38
Navigation is required, but simple! The course is unmarked, but all runners receive a robust, detailed and very well-received road book, with both OS based maps and clear text. In-experienced navigators who took part last year, loved it! There will also be a full .gpx file of the route, to download.
All of our checkpoints are based in permanent buildings, with toilets and will be continuously staffed by marshals, qualified First Aiders and radio operators.
For Every runner:
Our stunning road book, complete with mapping and turn-by-turn instructions
Access to qualified medical staff at each checkpoint
A great mix of trail food at each checkpoint, now featuring some local Cumbrian favourites
Access to a GPS file of the route
Free coach travel to the start
Free and freshly cooked Fish Chips and Vegan food at the finish line
Free pint of beer from our local, Ennerdale Brewery (This was a tremendous hit again last year and many a pint was supped after the event)
FreeTea and coffee at registration
An equal chance to win one of, as many prizes that we can get our hands on again!
Restricted to finishers only (We feel that you value most, those things that you work hardest to achieve)
Our unique handmade finishers medal, taken from the very rock over which you’ll toil, on the highest part of the route
A quality, race branded, date marked, Leisure, or Tech tshirt. (Your choice!!)
Safety There will be a reasonable, minimum kit list specified, reflecting the terrain, distance and the 'on the day' conditions. Our aim is simply, to get each and every one of you, over the entire route, safely, with the minimum of fuss and the maximum amount of satisfaction.
Logistics Race HQ/registration is located at the Finish in the West Coastal village of St Bees. Coach transport from there to the start, will be provided 06:30. Race start 08:00. Course cut off: 12 hrs. Checkpoints/feed stations at 10,20 and 30 miles approx. Checkpoint cutoff times will be pro-rata'd by distance and will be enforced. The course is approx.36 miles long, has 4000ft of ascent and 4500ft of descent. The route will not be signed, but an excellent, detailed, CLEAR, road book will be provided. Navigation skill level required - Low.
Our experience and feedback from previous entrants confirms, that this route is suitable for new ultra runners who are experienced at lower distances. Whilst a lot of runners have completed marathons before moving to ultras, our experience is that this is not a pre-requisite, to enjoying and being successful on the SBU35. Having said that, having a realistic expectation of your performance is essential. Be prepared to combine periods of walking with your running, don’t run the hills and make sure in your training that you gradually build up the time you spend on your feet, until you’re confident that you can manage the time that you’ll need to be on them on race day. A visit to the lakes to run and a recce of even part of the route, will make a tremendous difference on race-day.
*Country miles. Despite the advances in GPS technology it has not yet sufficient to ensure that your GPS distance recorded on race-day will match our declared race distance of 36 miles, or any of the other runners’ units either. The declared distance of 36 miles, is taken from the average of the total distance recorded by a number of GPS units, from a number of runners following the official route. We like then to use our term ‘Country miles’ to explain the difference between your measured distance and ours.:)
Note: This event is held under UK Athletics rules. Entrants must be 21yrs or over on raceday. Minimum kit as specified on the website will be required.
Trail Running Association Permit : TBA.
Updated details and race day information will be published on our website (currently under revamp). It is important that you keep in touch for updates. We will however, email out selected information and race day instructions, so please add the domain @sientries to your email list of safe senders.