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Grand Union Canal Race

Quick facts

Location Birmingham, United Kingdom

Distance Ultra marathon

About Grand Union Canal Race

The Grand Union Canal in England is part of the British canal system. Its main line starts in London and ends in Birmingham, stretching for 137 miles (220 km) with 166 locks. It has arms to places including Leicester, Slough, Aylesbury, Wendover and Northampton. The Grand Union Canal was also the original name for part of what is now part of the Leicester Line of the modern Grand Union: this latter is now generally referred to as the Old Grand Union Canal to avoid ambiguity. This is home to the annual Grand Union Canal Race.

 The 145-mile Grand Union Canal Race (GUCR) is a race that captures the imagination of ultrarunners who’ve witnessed it and it’s considered to be one of the classic ultras in England. Given it’s basically a flat run along a canal path, it doesn’t have mountains or dramatic scenery, but it creates a unique atmosphere that fosters a loyal following. 


Grand Union Canal Race

  • 233.3543km



Premier Inn Birmingham Broad Street - Canal Side,Jurys Inn Birmingham,

Aid Stations

Aid stations are few and far between with only nine along the 145 miles. Feed points at 11, 22, 36, 54, 70, 85, 100, 120 and 133 miles for unsupported runners. (Drinks available for all competitors at these points).

Award Medals

British Waterways trophy for 1st Man and 1st Lady; certificate and medal for each finisher.

Maximum Time

45 hrs


Provides transport for retiring unsupported entrants.

Grand Union Canal Race Route Map

Grand Union Canal Race Route Map


Gas Street Basin



Little Venice



Iron Trunk Aqueduct

Hatton Lock Flight

The Canal Museum


Held under UK: Athletics rules and with the kind permission of British Waterways, this non-stop race is from Gas Street Basin, Birmingham, along the way-marked Grand Union Canal Towpath to Little Venice, London. The race covers the 145-mile trail from the Britain’s second largest city, Birmingham, to London on the Grand Union Canal towpath with a 45-hour cut-off. This route is an amalgamation of several canal systems, created in its current form in 1929 to better compete for business transportation cargo with the road system.

The race information has been found on the official website of the event or through publicly available sources. Always refer to the official website the latest race information. Please let us know if any data is wrong or missing, by emailing us.