I find that lining up the next big goal is the best way to motivate you to train.
That’s why I’ve tried to carry on doing a fairly big event each year even though I’m nowhere near as competitive as I used to be. (It looks like I'll be doing ÖTILLÖ Swimrun Isles of Scilly again this year - an event I'd highly recommend!).
If you're looking for inspiration for your next big challenge, here are 10 events the team at PH recommend based on personal experience or through working with the events as Official Hydration Partner...
1) Maverick Race Ultra Trail Series Peaks
What: 16-69km of trail running in stunning National Park scenery.
Wind down through valleys, cross stunning streams and climb up to Alport Castle, before heading across some epic open moorland.
Where: Peak District National Park, Derbyshire, U.K.
When: Saturday 13th July 2019
Good to know: There'll be PH on course so you can save yours for another day. Oh and if you do the Long/Ultra routes, you'll get ITRA and UTMB points if that floats your boat.
2) ÖTILLÖ Swimrun Weekend Cannes
What: 37.2kms, of which 28.5km are running and 8.7km are swimming across 9 swims.
Discover the monastery island of Ile Saint-Honorat and the fort-dominated island of Ile Sainte-Marguerite off the coast of Cannes, France by swimming between them and running laps around them!
Where: Cannes, France
When: Saturday/Sunday 19th/20th October 2019
Good to know: They've introduced a new format this year called the 'Experience' race, which is exactly what the name implies, a 7km swimrun experience for those completely new to the sport or for those not ready to compete over bigger distances. And, for the first time, you can swim this format solo.
And yes, the Energy Stations will be fully stocked with PH as ever...
3) Alps 2 Ocean Ultra
What: Self-supported adventure race from the base of New Zealand’s highest mountain, Mount Cook, to the small, historic town of Oamaru, perched on the edge of the Pacific Ocean.
This 323km race passes by eight lakes, takes in valleys, rivers and diverse terrain.
Where: Mount Cook, New Zealand
When: The 2019 race starts in just over a week but you can sign up for updates on the 2020 event, TBC Feb/March next year.
Good to know: All proceeds from Alps 2 Ocean go back into the local community (benefiting the people of North Otago and the Mackenzie Country, with a particular emphasis on youth). Plus they have SweatSalt capsules on hand if you're struggling with cramp ;-)
4) Everest in the Alps
What: The ultimate ski touring challenge. Ascend 8,848 metres – the height of Everest – on skis, over four days in the Alps.
It’s a gruelling event which involves approximately 32 hours of uphill ski touring and only 3 hours of downhill, with up to a total of 20 individual ascents. Each day the teams climb between 2,000m – 2,500m to reach the overall target of 8,848m. The average amount of time out on the snow is 8 hours a day, but it can be longer – however long it takes to keep on track.
Where: Verbier, Switzerland
When: The 2019 event starts in early March but you can register interest in next year's event in March 2020 (TBC).
Good to know: Temperatures can drop as low as – 30˚C (-22°F) but your drinks won't freeze because you get issued some PH 1500 for preloading/recovery...
5) Haute Route San FranciscoWhat: 315km and 5,800M+ of climbing, including the exclusive Angel Island Time Trial. The Original course features 315km and 5,800M+ of climbing, including the exclusive Angel Island Time Trial. Stage 2 will be integrated with The Jensie Gran Fondo, founded by the most entertaining rider in the pro peloton, Jens Voigt.
Where: San Francisco, California, USA
When: Friday-Sunday 27th-29th September 2019
Good to know: The new Compact course delivers all the services and support of an Haute Route experience to riders looking to ride fewer kilometers.
6) Maverick Race Ultra Trail Series Snowdonia
What: 17-64km of trail running around the formidable 1,085m peak of Snowdon.
We love Haute Route's events and the Utah event is new for 2019.
The course covers rocky, mountainous terrain and steep climbs with long technical descents, plus forests and lakes. Basically it's pretty challenging!
Where: Llanberis, Wales, UK
When: Saturday 21st September 2019
Good to know: It's a plastic-free event, so you can take your PH Soft Flask and fill up with the good stuff at the aid stations.
Maverick also do shorter events (8-20km) which are ideal training races if you're working up to something bigger. You'll generally find a few of the PH team racing the Dorset/Hampshire events too, so come and say hi if you see us...
7) Odyssey Swimrun Casco Bay Islands
What: ~40km of trail running and island-to-island swimming around the Casco Bay Islands off the coast of Maine.
Now in it's 4th year, Andy has raced this one and highly recommends it. He said "Compared with other swimrun races I’ve done the course was pretty swim heavy. In terms of terrain, it reminded me a lot of those in the Stockholm archipelago where the original ÖTILLÖ race began back in 2006, with some pretty savage rocky outcrops to climb up and down when getting in and out of the water, reasonably chilly water temperatures and a mix of road, dirt trails and narrow single tracks on the runs."
Where: Portland, Maine, USA
When: Sunday August 11th 2019
Good to know: The contrast of typically warm to hot air temperatures (mid 70’s F / mid 20s C) and sunshine mean that the running can be an especially sweaty business, which makes the swims all the more welcome!
Odyssey have added an event in the Boston Harbour for this year too, which should be epic!
8) Haute Route Pyrennes
What: 7 days of timed/ranked cycling stages over a total of 780km and 19,000M+ of ascent, featuring a time trial up the little known but stunning Col des Spandelles
Discover the empty roads, wild country and steep climbs of the French Pyrenees and conquer the iconic Col du Tourmalet and ride like a professional in a stunning mountain range for an entire week.
Where: Pau, French Pyrenees, France
When: Saturday-Friday 17th-23rd August 2019
Good to know: One of the great things about Haute Route is that you get almost professional level of on and off the bike services including mechanical support, massages, briefings and post race meals. Go on, live it up like you're on Le Tour for a week...
9) The Devon Coast Challenge
What: Up to 78.6 miles (3 marathons) over 3 days along the stunning South West Coast Path.
Now in its second year (Andy was involved in devising the route for the Series' original event, the Jurassic Coast Challenge), the DCC is one of the more scenic ultras you can do in the U.K. The course is wild and rugged, with steep climbs and descents that'll test your concentration as well as your strength. Each day is unique with its own individual challenges and famous landmarks to add to the experience.
Where: Devon, U.K.
When: Friday-Sunday 10th-12th May 2019
Good to know: If you're new to trail running or upping the distance for the first time, they offer different 'groups' that go at different paces. The relatively generous cutoffs also make this is a decent event for couples/families with athletes of varying abilities.
10) ÖTILLÖ Swimrun 1000 Lakes
What: 42.2kms, of which 34.6km are trial running and 7.5km are swimming across 10 swims.
The start in Wesenberg is spectacular, with locals decked out in traditional costumes and the finish line is just after a spectacular castle in Rheinsberg. The water is usually calm and flat, almost like a series of giant pools. 10 swim sections means lots of transitions, so you'll need to nail those in training if you want to be competitive.
Where: Mecklenburger Seenplatte, Germany (~70km from Berlin)
When: Friday-Sunday 10th-12th May 2019
Good to know: The climate at this time of the year is generally mild, with water temperatures around 14 degrees C (57 F)
We hope this has given you a few ideas and we hope to see you at some of these events in the near future!