The North Face Cappadocia Ultra Trail (CUT) is located in a region known for its troglodyte dwellings – hand-carved caves dug out of the soft rock in central Turkey. Looking out, it may seem that there is just an arid landscape, but as soon as you venture into it you find hidden valleys, full of lush vegetation, caves, tunnels, rivers and trails, all begging to be explored.

I have stayed in a few caves in my time, in the Arctic Circle, the Canary islands and elsewhere, but none have been as luxurious as those in Cappadocia. The Kayakapi Premium caves were like a five-star hotel built into a piece of history in Urgup, where the CUT starts and finishes.

The first 62km of the race – also an event in its own right – winds through the Goreme national park taking the runners along trails that go deep into the valley floors, through tunnels and under waterfalls. It is not your usual trail race.

The second half is more suited to fell runners, with flags marking a course across hillsides without trail, up gorges and over rocky landscapes.

From hot air balloons, touring underground caves and experiencing fine Turkish food, as well as eating your bodyweight in Turkish delight, it occured to be that this is more than just a race, it is a holiday too.

So where have you made a race into a proper break? Here are five other of my favourite holiday races – please share yours below the line.

The OMM (the Original Mountain Marathon)

Racing and camping built into one, a mountain marathon is the complete experience – and what’s more, it’s in a different location every year. A (literal) dirty weekend away.

Geneva Course de Escalade

One on the road but a huge variety of races up to eight kilometres around Geneva’s old town. The non-competitive Marmite race is for all – it’s not about speed, but how good your costume is.

Ronda del Cims

One of the toughest 100-milers around, in rarely visited Andorra. This also has races from 10km upwards for all the family.

Carlos Sa Nature Trail

From three to eight days exploring Northern Portugal’s mountains, you see things you never would on your own, eat with friends every night and hope it doesn’t rain all the time.

Mont Blanc Weekend

With the vertical kilometre (VK), 10km, 23km, 42km and 80km in Chamonix, come with friends or family. There is even a Mini Cross for children.

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