Runners ready to face The Wall

Posted in At the Races by Matt Ward on Wed 11 Apr '12


Built almost 2000 years ago by Emperor Hadrian, Hadrian’s Wall was originally a military fortification. Today this Unesco World Heritage site is one of the UK’s most spectacular, iconic and visited tourist attractions.

On the 23rd and 24th June 2012 it is set to become the backdrop for Rat Race Adventure Sport’s latest running event: A new ‘Ultra Distance’ race called The Wall.

This unique Run will see participants traversing the frontier of the Roman Empire near to the route of the Wall itself, amongst land laden with history and against a backdrop of the stunning Cumbrian and Northumberland landscapes.


The sixty-nine mile route starts at Carlisle Castle and finishes at Gateshead Millennium Bridge, featuring both city and countryside over a mixed-terrain route. It can be attempted either as a two-day challenge (‘Challenger’ category), with an overnight camp in the central section of the Hadrian’s Wall corridor next to the famous Roman fort of Vindolanda; or in a continuous attempt (‘Expert’ category). It is open to solo participants or as a self-supported relay team of two, three or four.

The fully way-marked course, with many marshalling locations and full safety cover provided, starts at sea level and rises to an altitude of 1000ft before gradually descending to sea level again. Participants will encounter varied terrain including grass and tarmac paths, tracks and quiet roads, rough ground and gates and stiles. As the only organised Ultra at this World Heritage site, participants will experience special access with certain sections of the route.

The event has been organised by the UK’s leading adventure sports company Rat Race Adventure Sports, with guidance from Hadrian’s Wall Heritage and Hadrian’s Triumph, to ensure that a sustainable route is developed. Since its launch in summer 2011 the event has proved extremely popular, with entries coming in from as far afield as the USA, Australia and South Africa.

Rat Race expect to sell out this year 1 event, making this the UK’s largest Ultra Run, without ever having taken place. This early success not only provides an insight into the current growth in the adventure challenge market, but reflects ordinary runners’ desire to push themselves further across such distances in some dramatic settings.

Jim Mee, MD of Rat Race Adventure Sports believes that ‘The Wall’ is a ground-breaking event for the UK.

“This will be an Ultra-Distance running journey like no other in Europe and The Wall is capable of becoming an instant classic. Participants will be running the frontier of the Roman Empire – which in itself sounds dramatic. Hadrian’s Wall Country is very distinctive and provides a superb canvas for this adventure: Bleak in winter, bold in summer, this is the UK’s Big Sky Country.”

“The landscapes are vast, the Wall itself ever-present as a hand rail to your days on the move, and the facilities, people and places en route are continually stimulating. The varied formats we are offering on this event provide a real introduction to ultra-distance running for people looking for that next level of challenge. We have designed this event to be truly attainable, hence the mixed-terrain route. It will appeal to runners and fit walkers alike and a good basic level of fitness is required. But there are no excuses – after all – people have had two thousand years to prepare for this.”

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