10 Beginner Ultramarathons to Try

December 07, 2015 - By: Sarah Pease

If you’re looking for a new challenge in 2016, consider
training for and running in an ultramarathon.
How Far is That? An
ultra is anything beyond 26.2 miles (marathon) and can be run on road, trails, or a combination of both. The shortest distance for most ultras is 50K (31 miles). Other distances include 50 mile, 100 mile, and 100K (62 miles).
Picking Your Race Nike Trail Elite team member
Chris Vargo (an
ultra veteran) suggests looking at races with: a manageable course, good race organization, good course markings/easy navigation, and good support and aid stations. To help kick your running resolutions in gear, we’ve picked
10 beginner-friendly ultras to try in 2016:

  1. Moab Red Hot 55K, Moab, Utah Enjoy varied race terrain—from technical slickrock—to wide, smooth service roads. Excellent organization and an awesome after-party complements this gorgeous trip through the red rocks. Registration is currently open
  2. Sulphur Springs Trail Races, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada Choose from a 50K, a 50-mile and a 100-mile race that weaves through the trails of the Dundas Valley. Registration is currently open
  3. Cayuga Trails 50, Ithaca, New York This race attracts elites and beginners, offers excellent organization, and just the right amount of challenge amidst a striking natural setting. Registration opens Wednesday, December 9, 2015
  4. Peterson Ridge Rumble 40 Mile, Sisters, Oregon Hit the trail (and some dirt) that takes you up and downhill, while enjoying the beautiful views of the Central Oregon Cascades peaks. Registration opens Thursday, December 10, 2015
  5. Ice Age 50K, La Grange, Wisconsin This course is made up of two sections: an out-and-back from start to Horserider’s Camp, followed by two counterclockwise 9-mile loops on the scenic Nordic Blue Trail. Registration opens Sunday, December 13, 2015
  6. Quad Rock 50 Mile, Fort Collins, Colorado Come for the trails and hills west of Fort Collins in Lory State Park and Horsetooth Mountain Park and stay afterwards for live music, great food, and camaraderie. Registration opens Tuesday, December 15, 2015
  7. Wild Woman 50K, Mt. Adams, Trout Lake, Washington This trail race is created by and for women and takes participants up, down, and around the base of Mt. Adams (a 12,276-foot volcano). There’s also post-run yoga and a water trough plunge. Registration opens Friday, January 1, 2016
  8. Mt. Hood 50 Mile, Clackamas Historic Compound, Oregon Ultra-runner Yassine Diboun says this race is ideal for a first 50-miler because it features two separate out-and-back sections from the start/finish area. Registration opens Monday, January 4, 2016
  9. Afton 50K Trail Race, Afton State Park, Minnesota Just over 20 years old, this two-loop 50K is one of the oldest and largest trail races in the country. It offers a well-marked course with ample aid and friendly, experienced volunteers. Registration opens Tuesday, March 1, 2016
  10. JFK 50 Mile, Boonsboro, Maryland As far as 50-milers go, this might be one of the more easily-runnable. You’ll cover ground on asphalt, the Appalachian Trail, and the C&O Canal towpath. Registration opens TBA

Tell us in the comments if you’d run an ultramarathon.
Photo Credit: Ice Age Trail 50