Which Scottish Endurance Challenge Is For You?
Although there are plenty of negative stereotypes that have dogged Scottish culture for decades – battered Mars bars, excessive drinking, drug use – there is a new international arena that the country has become a big player in recently.
The endurance challenge has grown exponentially in popularity over the past few years, with Social Media, and changing lifestyles, proving to be the catalyst in convincing more and more people to throw themselves into physically challenging situations.
With the the expansive reaches of Scotland’s four National Parks, as well as the daunting, rugged terrain of the Highlands, providing a stunning backdrop for any Ultrarun – the country has become the unofficial home of the endurance race. Conditions can be unpredictable at best, but the rewards are almost always worth the effort.
Here are the 5 most extreme races you can have a go at in Scotland:
During January, the temperatures in the Highlands are at their lowest, getting as low as freezing up in the mountains. What then, could be a better idea than a 24 hours mountain bike endurance event? Laps of 11km are undertaken throughout the day and night, with riders finishing the time trial by 11am the next day.
If you were hoping for the course to be illuminated during the night, then you’ll be in luck…kind of. Riders are kitted out with ultra-bright torches – one for the bike and for the helmet – so hundreds of lights can be seen winding their way through the forest during the course of the night.
The Mighty Deerstalker
Another all-night event that, this time with a real madcap sense of fun. The Mighty Deerstalker is a ’10k and a bit’ that combines the endurance challenge of a fell run with the exhilarating hilarity of a night-time obstacle course.
Although the event’s distance isn’t much of a challenge in itself, the sheer variety of challenges and environments here is enough to make any seasoned runner’s head spin. Once more the forests of the Highlands are lit by intrepid adventurers, all urged on by the promise of a Finish Line party, with music and beer.
The Great Glen Ultra
Never has the term ‘ultramarathon’ ever been more fitting. The 71 miles that cross the distance from the feet of Ben Nevis to Inverness are known for being as beautiful as they are challenging.
Not for the faint-hearted, each challenger has 22 hours to cover the mammoth distance in one piece. On the way they’ll run by gorgeous lochs and climb through sunning forests to reach dramatic vistas – but with the clock always ticking, there’s not any time to stop and look!
Artemis Great Kindrochit Quadrathlon
What could be harder than an open water swim, followed by a 15 mile run over 7 peaks finished off with a 35 mile bike ride? How about throwing in a 7-mile kayak? The total ascent of the hike alone is over 8,000ft – which is the equivalent of hiking up Ben Nevis twice.
To round it all off, the race isn’t even clearly sign posted. An extra challenge for competitors is navigating the route. With conditions varying greatly throughout July, it’s important keep your wits about you when attempting one of the toughest multi-discipline events around.
Charlie Ramsay’s Round
One of the oldest of it’s kind in the World, this endurance challenge takes place across the massive peaks that surround Ben Nevis. Undoubtedly one of the toughest physical challenges in existence, runners must ascend all 23 ‘munros’ around Ben Nevis, in the space of 24 hours.
Named after the original challenge setter, only 95 competitors have completed the event since its incarnation in 1978. Be warned, this is not Tough Mudder or any other similarly jocular event. Although many compete each year, usually only a handful finish in the allotted time.