One of the most enjoyable events on the Scottish running calendar, the Urbanathlon is back in 2011 with two events in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Expect a memorable day - you'll be sweating and smiling in no time...
If you turn up at Glasgow's Linn Park in June or at Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh in September then be prepared for something different! Those are the venues for the event with a twist that has won a place in the affections of Scottish runners who like to do something a little bit of out of the ordinary. And that's certainly what you get with the Urbanathlon!
Forget flat tarmac surfaces where the only challenge is maintaining a steady pace and making sure you don't run out of puff in the final stages of your bog-standard 10k. Think tunnels, tyres, inflatable obstacles and soap sud mayhem. Now you're starting to get a picture of the event that's not so much about competition, more about a great fun atmosphere.
Last year's Linn Park event was a huge success with an undulating 8k course which featured a variety of obstacles from an army boot camp station to an inflatable foam-filled assault course. Participants got muddy and soaked as they laughed their way round the fun-filled route. Capturing the flavour of the occasion, a field of around 300 included three penguins, several pirates, the Flintstones and a big cast of superheroes.
Runners took part as individuals, as groups of workmates and uniformed service teams but one thing they had in common was a determination to have a fun day out that included some strenuous exercise. Not too strenuous, this isn't 'Survival of the Fittest' by any means, simply a great day in the park.
It was a similar story in Edinburgh too, where a big turnout crawled through the top windows of old double-decker buses, scrambled under cargo nets and clambered over skips. What it's all about is reverting to childhood and pretending you are Dennis the Menace or Minnie the Minx as you slip and slide around a well-planned course for an hour or so. And there was plenty of evidence of juvenile behaviour from the crowd who frolicked around Arthur's Seat last May.
There is a serious side to the Urbanathlons though. And that is to raise funds to help Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland to continue the various vital services they provide for people and families affected by the conditions. Every day 500,000 people in Scotland are suffering from heart disease, stroke and chronic chest illness so most people will know someone who has been touched by these conditions. Participants in the Glasgow and Edinburgh events raised a minimum of £40 each. £40 might not seem a lot of money but it can make a huge difference, for example £40 can pay for two training sessions for six Heart Failure volunteers, people who will then visit and support individuals who suffer from this condition, helping to reduce their isolation and provide a break for their family or carer.
Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland is planning events in Glasgow and Edinburgh again this year - Linn Park, Glasgow on Sunday, June 12, and Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh on September 25, and the organisers are promising even more inventive challenges than before - expect higher haybales, meaner boot camp bullies and wetter suds!
You can sign up as an individual, pair or as a team. This year there will be special prizes available for teams of three in various categories including company, sports clubs, students, juniors and community groups.
WHAT YOU SAID...
"A great fun run... A lovely atmosphere and all the competitors friendly and happy throughout. I will for sure be back next time, beats a road run any day."
"Amazing day! Thank you for everything. Well organized and the marshals were fantastic, all were great fun and great at motivating us less abled!!!"
"Laughed so much!"
"Amazing event!! Did a lot better than I thought I would, the obstacles were superb. When's the next one? I'll be there!"
"Great event, Something different from just your normal run... enjoyable and rewarding."
"Great unique event"