In 2021 Darkside Running’s two sell-out winter ultra-marathons will return on the UK endurance racing calendar. Starting at sunset and running through the night, our races follow the Norfolk Coast Path, passing through the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
The Norfolk Coast Path runs for 83 miles from Hunstanton to Hopton-on-Sea, travelling through the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). A stunning journey in its own right but we have added a couple of twists.
Firstly these events take place in mid-December. While Norfolk may not seem that remote, when the north winds blow it comes directly from the North Pole, and with the flat and open terrain, conditions could be challenging.
Secondly, the events will be run during the hours of darkness. As the sun sets in the west, you will be set off from the start in Snettisham. How far can you get before the sun rises in the east at 07:55, some 16 hours and 13 minutes later? For the speedier runners amongst you, can you reach the finish 83 miles away by The Britannia Pier in Great Yarmouth?
Support is provided along the route but is kept to a minimum, to minimise the environmental impact of the race, avoid disturbing locals sleeping in their beds and to add to the running adventure.
Please note that runners own crew will be banned from the course between the hours of 22:00 and 07:00.
A full indoor checkpoint is provided at roughly halfway, in Cley-next-the-sea. Here you will have access to a drop bag and also be provided with warm food and drink. A further indoor checkpoint is also provided at Sea Palling (no drop bag), along with five additional mobile checkpoints. The mobile checkpoints will be limited to cold water and snacks, so pack accordingly.
For those that don’t fancy the full Sunrise experience, we offer the Half Sunrise. This starts from the “halfway” checkpoint at Cley-next-the-sea at 22:30 and follows the same route to the finish in Great Yarmouth, some 45 miles away. Both events sold out in 2019 and provide an exhilarating pre-Christmas challenge and a great way to end the year.
Starting at sunset outside the Sailing Club at Snettisham, The Sunrise heads north towards Hunstanton. From here it turns eastwards, joining the Norfolk Coast Path, which it follows (with a few diversions for safety and environmental reasons) all the way to the finish 83 miles / 133 kilometres away, at Britannia Pier in Great Yarmouth.
The Half Sunrise starts in the pretty village of Cley-next-the-sea and follows the Norfolk Coast Path eastwards, also finishing at Britannia Pier in Great Yarmouth, covering a total distance of 45 miles / 72 kilometres.
Cley-next-the-sea also marks the first major checkpoint on the full Sunrise, where runners will be able to access a drop bag, take shelter and get warm food and drink. A second indoor checkpoint is also provided at Sea Palling, which is accessbile by both races (no drop-bag).
Additional mobile checkpoints will be set up along the route but these will be outside and will only provide cold water and simple snacks. Competitors are therefore expected to be self-sufficient for the majority of the race and pack accordingly for a winter ultra marathon.
Starting at sunset (15:42) outside the Sailing Club in Snettisham, the route first runs north along the shore of The Wash to Hunstanton, before picking up The Norfolk Coastal Path eastwards towards the finish at The Britannia Pier in Great Yarmouth, some 83 miles away. Can you beat the sun and arrive before dawn at 07:55? Don’t worry if not, as you have until 18:00 Sunday to complete your journey.
Sat 14:00 – 15:15
Race registration at start (Snettisham)
Race start (sunset)
Cut-off at Cley checkpoint
Sunrise at finish
Cut-off at Sea Palling checkpoint
Starting at 22:30 in Cley-next-the-sea, you follow the same course as the Full Sunset eastwards towards the finish at The Britannia Pier in Great Yarmouth, some 45 miles away. Could you also beat the sun and arrive before dawn at 07:55? Don’t worry if not, as you have fifteen hours or until 13:30 Sunday to complete your journey.
Sat 20:00 – 21:45
Race Registration at Start (Cley)
Sunrise at finish
As the sun rises you will race the sunset for 83 miles along the Norfolk Coast Path to the finish on Snettisham Beach. The shorter 38 mile Half Sunset is also available, as is the Sunset Marathon.
Starting at sunset, you will race the sunrise through a winters night, following the Norfolk Coast Path for 83 miles to the finish in Great Yarmouth. The shorter 45 mile Half Sunrise is also available.