The new Falklands Ultra in the South Atlantic is scheduled to take place in April 2023, featuring non-stop 100 mile and 100 km (62 mile) races that will offer runners the chance to traverse East Falkland.
The organising team note that this roughly follows the route taken 40 years ago by British Forces in the conflict with Argentina. There is also a trail marathon distance and the option of a four-person relay. Most of the time runners will be off-road, starting at either Goose Green or San Carlos, and finishing at the island’s capital, Stanley.
The Falklands Islands are a UK Overseas Territory, situated in the South Atlantic, and offer a getaway destination for adventurous runners and travellers. The islands are some of the most southerly in the world (next stop Antarctica) and are home to more penguins than people.
The race dates are 8-15 April 2023, and the weather is expected to be unpredictable and challenging.
A release about the event states… ‘Think of wild landscapes and wide-open horizons, abundant wildlife which is unafraid and approachable, and a small community which is 100% supportive of your run. Then add in a unique history for the route, and the chance to explore one of the most remote island groups in the world.’
The event is part of a week-long trip, which is an all-inclusive package; including return flights from Santiago in Chile, accommodation and excursions. Participants can include sea kayaking or rock climbing, battlefield tours, and wildlife trips that allow close viewing of albatross, penguin and elephant seal colonies.
The races will be on a marked course. It will offer a challenge for elite and experienced ultra runners; although there will also be generous cut-off times to allow for those with more of a walking pace.
The race will be organised under a permit issued by the UK Trail Running Association according to the rules of UK Athletics; and for the ultra distances there are ITRA points available. The routes will have full safety cover and support, and runners will carry satellite trackers, so friends and family at home can follow their progress.
The race is organised by Andy Hodgson and Stuart Edmondson, who have military and logistics backgrounds, with Stuart having served in the Falklands with the RAF. The two friends are accomplished sportsmen, and Andy is an ultra runner and Race Director of the off-road Clarendon Marathon in southern England.
The organisers have worked closely with the Falklands Islands Government and Tourist Board. Those taking part in the Falklands will also get the chance to take part in the world’s most southerly Park Run at Cape Pembroke.
The race website explains… ‘With so little land mass at that latitude the weather changes rapidly. It is not unusual to have warm sun, bitterly cold winds, hailstorms, blizzards and torrential rain on the same day. With no trees on the islands there is no shelter when the weather turns for the worse. The Falklands Ultra is not a hot-weather or a cold-weather ultra… it’s an all-weather ultra.’
Race organiser Andy Hodgson said “This isn’t just a challenging endurance race in a forgotten corner of the globe. The Falklands Ultra is an extraordinary experience of a lifetime – a week-long adventure in a country that few have visited. Nowhere else in the world has such a unique mix of epic terrain, friendly wildlife and iconic battlefield history.”