This September will see a duathlon with a difference come to the Trossachs. Backed by World champion duathlete, Catriona Morrison, 'The Chase' is a unique event fusing both sport and culture to celebrate the iconic 200 year poem, 'the Lady of the Lake', as part of the Scottsland Festival.
The Chase, taking place on September 25 2010, will follow in King James V footsteps along a 40mile route, passing three lochs (Katrine, Venechar and Achray) in pursuit of the 'elusive' stag. Using a combination of cycling and running, participants will journey through the breathtaking landscape encountering several special challenges along the way. The course will be fused with elements of the poem bringing history to life in the modern age.
The origins of The Chase began in 1809 when Sir Walter Scott visited the Trossachs and was so taken with the area he wrote this epic poem which transformed popular perceptions of landscape. His depiction of this breathtaking landscape within the poem played a part in establishing Scotland as a tourist destination. 'The Lady of the Lake' describes how King James V, disguised as a knight, attempts to hunt a stag and eventually seeks shelter on an island on Loch Katrine, summoned by the beautiful Ellen Douglas (the Lady of the Lake).
The Chase will follow the themes of six cantos of the poem culminating in a gathering of the participants for a medieval style celebration with local food and entertainment; evoking a sense of magic from the poem.
Catriona Morrison, World Champion Duathlete and local girl, helped launch The Chase in the Trossachs this week. She said, "I am delighted to support this exciting new duathlon coming to Scotland. The Chase will provide a fantastic opportunity for people from all over the country to experience the thrill of a duathlon in one of the most amazing locations we have."
There will also be a family orientated version of the event, called 'The Wee Chase', taking place on the same day, which is aimed at people of all ages, families, groups of friends or work colleagues looking to get involved in the festivities. 'The Wee Chase' features a five mile bike route followed by an orienteering task inspired by the poem, ending with a cycle back to join the medieval celebration with the duathlon participants.
The Chase and The Wee Chase are signature events forming part of ScottsLand, a diverse programme of up to 44 cultural and literary events, promoted by Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, to celebrate the poem, the heritage of the Trossachs and its landscape.
Elspeth McLachlan, ScottsLand Project Director said: "This is the first sporting event ever to take place in the National Park with a direct link to our rich cultural heritage. We are delighted to invite so many people to take part in what promises to be a thrilling chase on bike and foot with the spectacular Trossachs as a backdrop. This will be the final event of our ScottsLand programme and what a fitting way to celebrate Sir Walter Scott's contribution to Scotland's cultural identity than to gather everyone together at the very place which inspired him to write the Lady of the Lake, in the heart of the National Park."