15th - 16th May 2021

51, 71 or 103 miles along East Anglia's most beautiful coastline
A 32 hour (max) Challenge for runners & walkers

Event starts in:

Inaugural Event 15-16th May 2021

A brand new race on the UK ultra calendar, we take full advantage of the Dedham Vale and Suffolk Coast & Heaths Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The route offers a relatively flat course through unspoilt countryside with sparkling estuary waters nearly always in view. More than 85% of the route is on soft dirt trail. Conditions underfoot are typically good, here in one of Britain's driest regions.

The Mayflower Connection

The race starts in historic Harwich, the original seaport home of the Mayflower ship and its Master, Christopher Jones. Our inaugural event also follows on closely from the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower's departure from Plymouth to America in September 1620. We hope the pioneering spirit of that long journey into the unknown will inspire our own modern-day adventurers!

Event Format

A continuous point-to-point race along the Essex & Suffolk coast, linking together sections of several well-established and waymarked long distance footpaths. The full 103 mile route ('5RU') circumnavigates 5 coastal estuaries. The 71 mile option ('4RU') bypasses the first estuary (the Stour) via a short ferry crossing from Harwich to Shotley, but thereafter shares the remainder of the full route. The 51 mile option ('3RU') bypasses the first two estuaries via a short ferry crossing from Harwich to Felixstowe and shares the last 48 miles of the full route.

The Five Rivers

The Stour - home of Constable Country
The Orwell - home of Pin Mill & Arthur Ransome
The Deben - home of Woodbridge & Sutton Hoo
The Butley - home of Marshes & Burrow Hill
The Ore/Alde - home of Shingle Street, Orford & Snape Maltings

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UTMB / ITRA Points

ALL THREE RACE OPTIONS WILL OFFER ITRA POINTS (5 for the 5RU, 4 for the 4RU, 3 for the 3RU), ALLOWING YOU TO USE THEM AS QUALIFYING EVENTS FOR THE 2022 UTMB RACES.

GPS Tracking

ALL COMPETITORS WILL BE GIVEN A GPS TRACKER TO CARRY DURING THE RACE, FOR SAFETY AND ALSO TO ALLOW YOUR FRIENDS & FAMILY TO FOLLOW YOUR PROGRESS IN REAL TIME DURING THE EVENT.

Regular Support

REGULAR SUPPORT ALONG THE ROUTE, WITH SNACK/WATER STOPS AND  INDOOR CHECKPOINTS WHERE COMPETITORS CAN ACCESS A DROP BAG & HOT FOOD & DRINKS.

Bus Transport

BUSES ARE PROVIDED IF REQUIRED  AFTER THE EVENT, TO TRANSPORT COMPETITORS FROM THE FINISH LINE  IN BLAXHALL BACK TO THE START LINE IN HARWICH. THIS IS AN OPTION YOU CAN SELECT AT CHECKOUT.

Eco-friendly

WE AIM TO MINIMISE THE USE OF PLASTIC AND OTHER NON-RECYCLABLE MATERIALS IN OUR EVENTS. FOR EXAMPLE, RACE T-SHIRTS WILL ONLY BE AVAILABLE AS AN ADDITIONAL PURCHASE. COMPETITORS WILL ALSO BE EXPECTED TO CARRY THEIR OWN REUSABLE CUP.

Giving Back

THIS IS A NON-PROFIT EVENT WITH ALL PROCEEDS BEING DISTRIBUTED BETWEEN A SELECTED LIST OF CHARITIES THAT SUPPORT PEOPLE FACING BARRIERS TO THEIR ACCESS AND ENJOYMENT OF THE GREAT OUTDOORS.

The Route

Starting at Harwich Low Lighthouse, the race route quickly leaves behind the coastal esplanade and escapes into the beautiful unspoilt countryside that surrounds the vast majority of the five Essex and Suffolk Coastal Estuaries that define the structure of the route. Over 85% of the race route follows waymarked dirt or grass trails. Of the remainder, the majority follows very minor tarmac lanes, with just a few short sections of more major road, and for completeness a few short stretches of energy-sapping shingle and sand to negotiate as well!

Stour Estuary: the route follows the Essex Way west for 15 miles to Lawford Church, before heading north on a connecting footpath across the riverside meadows to reach Flatford Mill in the heart of 'Constable Country'. Here the route crosses the river and turns back east, first via the Stour Valley Path and then via the Stour and Orwell Walk, to arrive at the  north side of the Stour Estuary mouth at Shotley Gate. (32.5 miles so far).

Orwell Estuary: the route continues along the Stour and Orwell Walk, heading north, then north-west up the estuary to reach and then cross the mighty Orwell Bridge via a dedicated footway  (protected by a barrier from the road traffic). The route continues south-east along the Stour and Orwell Walk as far as Loompit Lake, after which it heads inland to the major checkpoint at Trimley St Martin Memorial Hall. (52 miles so far).

Deben Estuary: from Trimley, the route follows a mix of quiet roads and farm tracks east for 3 miles before reaching the shores of the Deben and turning north along the river bank footpath. After following the riverside path through Woodbridge and Melton, the route crosses the river and passes the famous Sutton Hoo burial mounds before rejoining another riverside footpath heading back south along the Deben to reach the Ramsholt Arms riverside pub. (72 miles so far).

Ore Estuary to Butley: from Ramsholt the route heads east for 4 miles via country lanes and footpaths to reach the Suffolk Coast, where it turns north-east along the Suffolk Coast Path, passing through Shingle Street before following the course of the Ore and Butley estuaries, then deviating briefly to visit the major checkpoint at Butley Village Hall. (86.5 miles so far).

Alde Estuary to Blaxhall: from Butley the route briefly re-joins the Suffolk Coast Path on the approach to Chillesford. At Chillesford it splits off again, taking a footpath south-east through Sudbourne Park to reach Orford. From Orford, the route follows the raised bank of the Ore/Alde river for more than 6 miles before skirting round the Iken Marshes on the final approach to the finish line at Blaxhall Village Hall. (103 miles completed).

FAQ

Is there a mandatory kit list?

Yes, as you would expect for an ultra event of this duration, for safety reasons there is a mandatory set of kit you are required to carry at all times. This will be checked at registration, with further random checks during the event. Failure to produce items will result in disqualification.

Are there any entry requirements?

As per UKA rules for races of these distances, you must be a minimum of 20 years old on the date of the event. '5RU' entrants must have previously completed a trail event of at least 50 miles in the last twelve months. For '4RU' entrants: minimum 35 miles. For '3RU' entrants: minimum 25 miles.

What are the time limits / cutoffs?

You have until 16:00 on the Sunday to complete each course. This corresponds to 32 hours for the '5RU'; 31 hours for the '4RU'; 30 hours for the '3RU'. There will be two intermediate checkpoint cutoffs for the 5RU and 4RU courses (just one for the 3RU course), with time limits based on maintaining an even pace throughout the event.

Is the course marked or is it a self-navigation event?

Although most of the route follows reasonably well waymarked trails (Essex Way, Stour Valley Path, Stour & Orwell Walk, Suffolk Coast Path), you are ultimately responsible for navigating with use of map & compass and/or your own GPS unit.

What food is available on the course?

A full menu will be published closer to the event itself but expect a small selection of cold simple sweet and savoury snacks at the mobile checkpoints out on the course. For the indoor checkpoints at Trimley St Martin and Butley, we will also provide soup, warm drinks and a vegetarian pasta dish.

What if I change my mind?

Details of our refund policy can be found in our full T&Cs but in short we are able to offer some sort of refund up to eight weeks before the event and transfer to another runner/walker up to two weeks before the event.

May 15, 2021
SCHEDULE

Fri 16:00 - 21:00 & Sat 06:00 - 07:00
Event registration at start (Harwich)

Sat 07:15
Race briefing

Sat 08:00
Race start

Sat 23:00
Cut-off at Trimley St Martin

Sun 10:00
Cut-off at Butley

Sun 16:00
Finish closes

May 15, 2021
SCHEDULE

Fri 16:00 - 21:00 & Sat 06:00 - 07:00
Event registration at start (Harwich)

Sat 07:15
Race briefing

Sat 08:30
Ferry departs to Shotley

Sat 09:00
Race start

Sat 23:30
Cut-off at Melton

Sun 07:30
Cut-off at Butley

Sun 16:00
Finish closes

May 15, 2021
SCHEDULE

Fri 16:00 - 21:00 & Sat 06:00 - 07:00
Event registration at start (Harwich)

Sat 08:15
Race briefing

Sat 09:00
Ferry departs to Felixstowe

Sat 09:30
Short coach transfer to start line

Sat 10.00
Race start

Sun 04:30
Cut-off at Butley

Sun 16:00
Finish closes

Enter  now!

Join us for this tough but beautiful challenge along the unspoilt North Essex and South Suffolk coastline
TERMS & CONDITIONS
103 miles
32 hour time limit
2 Drop bags (52m & finish)
 GPS tracker
7 checkpoints
Checkpoint snacks/drinks
Hot meal (52m)
Bus transport back to start (optional)
£120
71 miles
31 hour time limit
2 Drop bags (20m & finish)
 GPS tracker
5 checkpoints
Checkpoint snacks/drinks
Bus transport back to start (optional)
£95
51 miles
30 hour time limit
1 Drop bag (finish)
 GPS tracker
3 checkpoints
Checkpoint snacks/drinks
Bus transport back to start (optional)
£75

Newsletter Sign-Up

For updates on the Five Rivers Ultra, please sign up here:

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