Running Events Directory For The UK: Find your next 5k, 10K, Half Marathon, Marathon & Ultra Marathon

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Understanding Event Elevation Profile Levels (Hilliness)

In an attempt to give users an idea of the ‘hill profile’ of a race, we have categorised events into levels based on the elevation gain across the whole event. These range from 1 to 10 with 1 being the flattest and 10 being the hilliest or most extreme (see table below).

Obviously, a race usually consists of both elevation and descent but, in our experience, the elevation of a race, less so than descent, determines whether someone will want to enter an event or not. For example, some people hate hills and want to run on flatter surfaces whilst others (sadists, you know who you are) love them.

Also, if you are the type of runner who likes to go for records then these levels can help determine if an event is the type of race that you can get a PB on.

As stated, there are 10 distinct levels as shown in the table below.

Elevation Profile Levels

LevelLevel NameStart (ft)End (ft)Gradient %
1Flat (or downhill)0250% to 0.5%
2Rolling 25500.5% to 0.9%
3Undulating 501000.9% to 1.9%
4Hilly 1001501.9% to 2.8%
5Challenging 1502002.8% to 3.8%
6Very Challenging 2002503.8% to 4.7%
7Tough 2503004.7% to 5.7%
8Very Tough3004005.7% to 7.6%
9Extreme4005507.6% to 10.4%
10Absolutely Mental550>>>>10.4% and above

To give the levels some perspective the following table applies the levels to some well-known events.

Examples Of Popular Race Event Profiles

EventDistance (In Miles)Approx. Elevation (ft)Ave ft per mileRYHO LevelLevel Name
London Marathon26.1441171Flat
Great North Run13.1440342Rolling
Kielder Marathon26.12100803Undulating
St Cuthberts Ultra62.1480671304Hilly
Allendale Challenge26.2141401585Challenging
Montane Cheviot Goat5498001815Challenging
The Mcwilliams Round3260001885Challenging
Wooler Marathon28.560632136Very Challenging
Montane Lakeland 100100219392196Very Challenging
The Bob Graham Round66269004089Extreme
The Paddy Buckley Round62.1280004519Extreme
The Ramsey Round58285004919Extreme
The Barkley Marathons1006000060010Absolutely Mental

The data above is based on a quick Google search so variances may exist however it gives you a good idea of how races you know fit into the RYHO Elevations profiles.