175 runners from around the world are set to take part in a new off-road foot race billed as the toughest in Britain.
The inaugural Ultra Trail South West taking place from 22 – 24 June 2012 will see runners from as far afield as Italy, the USA and Hong Kong test their endurance in an 100 mile run along the stunning Cornish coastline.
The Extreme Academy, Watergate Bay has been chosen to host the finish of one of the most challenging races in the world. The Ultra Trail South West is a non-stop point-to-point race which follows the South West Coast Path from Porthleven to Watergate Bay covering a total of 100 miles.
En route to the finish the runners will encounter over 6,500 metres of vertical ascent, the equivalent of climbing 1,000 metres beyond Everest base camp. Starting at 7pm on the evening of Friday 22 June, participants are expected to take between 20 and 34 hours to complete the race.
Will Ashworth, CEO of Watergate Bay Hotel and The Extreme Academy said: “Running almost four marathons back-to-back without stopping has to be one of the most challenging physical feats of endurance and we are thrilled that the Extreme Academy, Watergate Bay, has been chosen as the finishing point for this epic race.
“It’s the first time Cornwall has held an event like this which attracts ultra runners from all over the world and, after running through the night to reach us, we’ll be making sure that there is no better place for the competitors to finish their challenge. Our new active spa at Watergate Bay Hotel has a 25 metre pool with massage and treatment rooms to help with the recovery process, and The Beach Hut will be open all through the night on Saturday to provide a refuge for the runners after the race.”
Watergate Bay’s very own Rob Burnham, who runs The Shop on the Beach, is taking part in the gruelling 100 mile coastal race which will finish metres from where he spends his days providing all the essentials to beach goers.
An experienced runner, Rob regularly takes part in ultra-marathons which are any length up to 50 miles, but this will be the first time he is running such a vast distance.
Rob said: “I have been wanting to do an Ultra Trail for a while and have been training for the past few years, so this came at the perfect time, especially as it finishes on my front door.
“I am running it as a race and aim to finish in under 24 hours. The first 50 miles will be the easiest which I plan to do in ten hours, it’s after 50 that the real running starts. Your pacing strategy is difficult but I am hoping to be finished mid-afternoon on the Saturday, where there will be lots of supporters on the beach. The hardest part is once you have crossed the finish line, that’s when it all falls apart, so having the end at Watergate Bay is a real bonus.”
The race is set to become an annual fixture which will move to a different section of the South West coast path each year. Organisers are certain the event will come to rival some of the world’s greatest trail races.
Andrew Barker, Endurancelife Director, said: “If you’re a runner and want to take part in the world’s most iconic mountain race you automatically think of France and the Ultra Trail Mont Blanc. That race attracts 6,000 runners from across the globe with entire villages turning out to line the route and cheer the runners on.
“The Ultra Trail South West has the same potential to become the world’s most iconic coastal race bringing thousands of international athletes to the region and galvanising local communities along the way.”
Tourism leaders across the region have welcomed the news. Malcolm Bell, Head of Tourism at VisitCornwall, said: “The most iconic image of Cornwall is our spectacular coastline and one of the most precious assets we have is the coastal path. So, to hold such an amazing sporting event here in Cornwall which effectively showcases the coast path to an international audience is tremendous news.
“The influx of competitors, their friends and families, together with the media interest and spectators will help to boost tourism in the important Spring season. I am delighted to see the event in Cornwall in 2012 and look forward to seeing it build across the region year after year.”
For the full lineup of events at Watergate Bay please visit: http://www.watergatebay.co.uk/events.htm.
For more information about the race, or to find out how you can enter, go to: www.endurancelife.com.
High resolution images can be downloaded from our online press centre (click for direct link).
Notes to Editors
Ultra Trail South West
Highlights of the 100 mile Ultra Trail South West 2012 route include: St. Michael’s Mount, Minack Theatre, Land’s End, Geevor tin mine, St. Ives, Godrevy Point, Perranporth and Watergate Bay.
The Extreme Academy, Watergate Bay
Set on its own spectacular surfing beach on the north Cornwall coast, the Extreme Academy, Watergate Bay, has earned a reputation as one of the ‘must visit’ coastal destinations in the UK. The Extreme Academy, Watergate Bay, is one of Britain’s leading venues for beach sports and events. Founded in 1999, the Extreme Academy comprises specialist schools for surfing, kite surfing, waveski, hand planing and stand-up paddle surf; technical equipment hire; and the Shop on the Beach, stocking a wide range of clothing and technical equipment. www.watergatebay.co.uk/extremeacademy
Kate Ardron at Barefoot Media
Telephone: +44 (0)1208 895089
Gavin Priest at Endurancelife
Telephone: 07720 635666