Local trail runner Sue Mercieca recently participated in the Dorset Ultra Plus – a trail race of over 73km along the cliffs of the fossilised Jurassic Coast in the South West of England. Forming part of the Coastal Trail Series organised by Endurance Life Events (UK) the race was 45.5miles long (73.2km) and had an ascent of 2451 metres. Coming second in her category, Mercieca finished the event in 12 hours 16 minutes, with the first male Toby Chapman (Open) (UK) crossing the line in nearly 7hrs and the first lady Juliette Norman (Open)(UK) in 8 hours and 40 minutes.
The event held on 3rd December 2016 consisted of five races – the 10 km, Half Marathon, Full Marathon, Ultra Marathon (54km) and the Ultra Plus (73.22km) in which event Mercieca took part. In total there were over a thousand trail runners with 86 runners taking part in the Ultra Plus and most taking part in the 21km race. According to the International Trail Running Association (ITRA) the Ultra Plus race is marked at level 4 (Endurance Points) and level 3 (Mountain level) and carries 4 new (2 old) UTMB points.
The weather proved to be quite a challenge during the race with the chill taking its toll when the sunlight disappeared just after 4pm. Mercieca was quite happy at the end of the race and looks forward to other trail challenges. She thanked her club St Patrick’s AC and Sport Malta for their support.
Trail running involves running over trails and differs from road and track running as there are much larger ascents and descents. Mercieca started running just two years ago and from 5km races moved on to ultra marathons.