Niall Colthart of Port Ellen has finalised the route for Scotland’s toughest race which will take place over six days from May 3rd this year starting at Ardbeg distillery. Around 50 competitors are expected and a part of each runners entry fee will be going to Islay and Jura Sick Children’s Fund. Niall: ‘We also have a guy from Australia competing who is asking people not to sponsor him with monetary contributions but by donating blood – which is at a premium in Australia after the bush fires. All of us in the organising team have done this.’
The event attracts some truly tough nuts. One girl who came last year is planning to swim to the start line from the mainland while another guy is competing having lost a leg in the Falklands conflict. He is now the High Constable of Perth. Niall says that the organisers are keen to see some local athletes competing. He says: ‘It is possible to do the route without actually running. Each stage can be completed at walking pace – and at least one competitor did exactly that last year. This is where the event differs from the likes of the fells race with its timed cut off stages. It is however being tipped as the toughest multi-day event in the UK.’ Competitors carry everything with them as they run, including all food and a tent, camping in makeshift villages overnight. The only thing supplied at support stations is water.
Day 1 – Sunday 3rd May: Ardbeg to Bunnahabhain via Claggain bay, Beinn Vicar, Kynagarry and Balulive above Finlaggan.
Day 2: Bunnahabhain to Feolin via Rhuval. Killinallan, Craigens and West Carrabus. Then Knockdonn, Loch Skerrols, Scarrabus, Balole, Loch Finlaggan and down to Port Askaig to camp across at Feolin on Jura.
Day 3: Feolin to Glenbattrick via Inver through the Paps, Knockrome, Evans Walk to Loch Tarbert at Glenbattrick.
Day 4 (the shortest but toughest!!) Glenbattrick to Rhuantailain along the shores of Loch Tarbert
Day 5: Rhuantailain to Tarbert Standing Stone via raised and shiant beaches to Corpach and then following the corpach river up to the watershed and then decending down to the road over five miles of tussock grass and bog north of Tarbert.
Day 6: The runners run down from Tarbert on the road to finish in the filling store at Jura Distillery for a well earned dram.
Niall is also appealing for volunteers to marshall some of the sections saying: ‘We hope to grow this event in the future to add another date to the island calendar and bring people to Islay and Jura in particular who might not otherwise have come.’
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