There’s a new event right on my doorstep—the Yorkshire Wolds Ultra! Hosted by Ultra Trails, this 54 km circular route starts and ends on the edge of Pocklington. It takes you through some of the less-trodden trails in the Yorkshire Wolds, climbing up hidden valleys with incredible views, and through fields and wild grass meadows. The undulating course is challenging, with over 4,300 ft of elevation. It is packed with ascents to keep it interesting from start to finish.

If you want to appreciate the Wolds, this is the way.

Race morning

When my alarm went off at 5:30 am on Saturday the thought of a long slog around the countryside seemed less than appealing. But I dragged myself out of bed, ready to take on the challenge. The weather looked great (despite storms being forecast all week), and I’m the kind of person who would rather try and fail than never try at all.

Registration was from 6.30 am with mandatory kit checked and race number collected it was time for a mass walk to the start. Just after 8 am, we were off.

The early miles

The beginning of the race took us through crowded, muddy woods and wide gravel paths before we reached beautiful wheat fields. As we headed uphill into the woods, we enjoyed views of patchwork fields and descended towards Bishop Wilton. Despite some tough climbs, I made it to the first checkpoint without much difficulty. Friendly faces warmly welcomed us at each checkpoint. Additionally, all the food and fuel at the aid stations were vegan and gluten-free, catering to as many people as possible.

The mental battle

The route took us through charming villages such as Bishop Wilton, Givendale, Kirby Underdale, Thixendale, and Fridaythorpe, with more challenging climbs, stunning views, and secluded valleys to explore. My friend had to drop out just before checkpoint two, so I was running solo just focussing on getting to the next checkpoint.

Halfway between the final checkpoint and the finish, the heavens opened, and this was where it got me mentally. But these things are meant to be a challenge, so I pushed onwards and upwards to the end. And I mean upwards because we were still facing elevation!

The last part of the course includes trails around Millington and a detour into Nettle Dale (and yes, it lives up to its name).

The finish line

I crossed the finish line, tired and chafed, and received a lovely wooden medal for my efforts. There is also a wildflower seed medal and an option to choose a t-shirt if you prefer.

Stats from the Garmin: 35.2 miles / and just over 4300ft elevation.

Ultra Trails: Inclusivity policy

I really cannot say enough good things about Ultra Trails. They aim to open up their events to as many people as possible and actively encourage women to take part. They have committed to following SheRACES guidelines. I was good to see a lot of women on the start line. What also stood out to me was the age diversity in the field. Among the female entrants alone, there were 20 under 40 and 60 over 40. I thought this was fantastic.

The cut-off was also a generous 12 hours, ensuring as many people as possible had a chance to complete the course. And because it’s summer, you’ll finish in daylight.

If you are considering entering your first ultra, Ultra Trails events are a great choice. The Yorkshire Wolds Ultra was a challenging but rewarding race, and the team were incredible!