Can the Apple Watch Ultra 2 Handle an Ultramarathon?

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 is designed to cater to endurance athletes, but its performance in ultramarathons is subject to battery life limits. Can it handle the tough demands of an ultramarathon?

Currently on sale on Amazon for $749, the Ultra 2 offers a 12-hour battery life when used solely for workouts with full GPS and heart rate tracking. However, that drops to 10 hours if LTE is enabled. This might prove insufficient for many ultramarathons, which often last upwards of 12 hours. In low-power modes, the Ultra 2 can extend its lifespan to up to 60 hours, but the reduced accuracy of GPS and heart rate readings makes it less suitable for serious athletes. The regular 12-hour mode typically averages around 20 hours with mixed-usage conditions, though precise results depend on your use case.

Real-world tests show that in low-power mode with regular heart rate and GPS readings, the Ultra 2 might last up to 24 hours, adequate for most ultramarathons. However, the more demanding high-accuracy mode drains the battery more rapidly, burning about 37% over a 7.5-hour test, which could translate to nearly 20 hours of usage. While this would suffice for many runners aiming for 100 km events, it’s less certain for longer races. Comparatively, Garmin’s Forerunner 965 provides better battery life at up to 55 hours, making it a preferable choice for those who prioritize endurance and need highly accurate GPS tracking.

Comparatively, the Apple Watch Series 9, though not as robust in endurance as the Ultra 2, can manage a full marathon or shorter race day activities but is not suitable for ultramarathons without frequent recharging opportunities​.

To summarize, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 can under normal conditions indeed last an ultramarathon, but it may fall short in longer events. Its competitors offer longer battery life with comparable features, so your decision will depend on balancing functionality with the specific demands of ultra-distance running.