MORE ABOUT THE EVENT
The Old Harry Ultra is a unique event, circumnavigating Europe's largest natural harbour; Poole Harbour.
(It's taken us a while to get this event on! We've had a couple of years of exploring and planning the route, revisiting some of the route sections several times to get it the best that we can. Then there have been many hoops to jump through. Then Covid hit and we had to put it on the back burner. But here we are at last!)
CLICK HERE for a simplified version of the route on Google Maps
ABOUT THE ROUTE
The Start and Finish are essentially separated by a short (5min) ferry crossing and a 10 min (800m) walk
BUT, we're sending you the long way round! - with a carefully chosen route totalling 55km
The event STARTS at SUNRISE on 2nd October (07:09am) on the Promenade behind Sandbanks Beach Car Park near the beach huts. There is a flexible start for up to an hour until 08:09.
Because your journey begins on pavements, this is mainly to avoid congestion near the start.
You need to reach the FINISH by SUNSET (6:43pm) which gives up to approx 11.5hours (depending on your start time)
(as as idea of minimum pace required to meet the cut off; if you started at the earliest possible time of 07:09, you would need to do an average of 12:38 per km / 20:20 per mile or faster. If you started at the latest time of 08:09, you would need do an average of 11:32 per km / 18:13 per mile or faster)
There are 4 sections separated by the main aid stations (3 in total). In each section there will be an additional water station (4 in total) as close to halfway as we can get them.
The first section is from Sandbanks to Upton Country Park (approx 12km) and it is mostly tarmac.
It follows the the harbourside path for around 2km, then a short section along roadside pavements, with a couple of minor road crossings, before joining the harbourside path again which takes you to the historic Poole Quay. From there you pass the Twin Sails bridge and the RNLI headquarters, and then onto the shoreline path along the edge of the Holes Bay nature Reserve, finishing with approx 2km of shady flat trail into Upton Country Park, and Aid 1.
Section 2 is from Upton Country Park to Wareham Forest (approx 15km) and is roughly half trail and half tarmac.
After approx 2km through Upton Country park, there is 6km of roadside pavements, with some minor road crossings, through the village of Lytchett Minster, with some larger road crossings, and towards Wareham. You then head off-road into Wareham Forest, for approx 7km of easy running, on undulating trails, finishing near the Sika Trail, and Aid 2, which is also the highest point of the whole course!
Section 3 is from Wareham Forest to Middlebere Heath (approx 15,5km) and is mostly trail with shorter sections of tarmac totalling approx 4km. It is probably the most varied of the sections. After leaving Wareham Forest you pass through woodland and farmland, under the railway line and past an old Mill and then to a riverside path. A short section of pavement follows, crossing over the road and heading onto the old town walls, before dropping onto a quiet estate road and trail loop. After crossing fields the path narrows to a waterside single track, then heads back to Wareham. After passing the church, and the old Wareham Quay (once frequented by Vikings!) you cross the bridge and take another river path. The longest road section follows (around 2km) then heathland paths take you the last aid station.
Section 4 is from Middlebere Heath to Shell Bay (approx 12.5km). It is nearly all trail with a couple of short sections of tarmac. After a small section of woodland, you cross fields and follow heathland paths, then run along a small section of road (less than 1km) before heading onto sandy Forestry tracks. Then Farm tracks and fields and another short road section take you to the final push across seaside heath paths and sand dunes and a small section of beach, towards Shell bay car park and the FINISH!
CAR PARKING & FERRY:
There is a public car park right by the start (which should be 24hr) in Sandbanks, however please be aware this can be expensive for a whole day so car share if you can. There is a National Trust Car park at the finish at Shell Bay in Studland (opening early at 7am for us), which is cheaper (or free if you are a National Trust member) and also car parking along the ferry road near the shell bay car park.
If you park on the start side, then you will need to take the chain ferry and a short walk (as previously mentioned) to get back to the start area after the event.
If you park on the finish side you will need to take the ferry and the walk before you start.
The earliest ferry crossing is 07:10am. The crossing is free for pedestrians from Studland to Sandbanks.
There will be a bag drop at the start area. We will take your bags to the finish for you.
We will only take drop bags to the finish area; If you are in a relay team we are unable to take bags to the end of relay legs, you will need to organise that with your team members.
There are public toilets near the start area, they will be opened at 7am for us.
There are public toilets by Aid 1.
Aid 2 will have a portable toilet for runners use.
There are public toilets at the finish.
Currently we are planning on sending numbers by post. If this changes we will let you know.
If you are in a team, then all the teams numbers will be sent to the Team Captain.