Entries for the West Highland Way trail race open today (Thursday 1 November 2012). Fresh from appearing in new James Bond film Skyfall, Scotland's most popular iconic trail will play host to the 95-mile (155km) race next June. Traditionally held on one of the weekends closest to midsummer to take advantage of the long daylight hours, the 2013 race will be held from Friday 21 June to Sunday 23 June.
The trail starts at Milngavie, just north of Glasgow and winds its way up along the eastern shores of Loch Lomond, through Glen Falloch, past Crianlarich to the Highland junction village of Tyndrum (52 miles). Continuing between the Highland mountains, the trail crosses Rannoch Moor to reach Glencoe (approximately 70 miles) before climbing over the Devil's Staircase, the highest point of the route before dropping down to the village of Kinlochleven (78miles) at sea level. The final haul through the remote Lharig Mor before reaching Glen Nevis, brings you to the trail end at Fort William.
Each year the race attracts experienced ultra runners from throughout the UK as well as runners from Europe and North America. Previous elite international participants include Jens Lukas, Michael Maier, Mark Godale, Czaba Nemeth, and Jan-Albert Lantink. While top UK ultra runners Jezz Bragg, Richie Cunningham and Terry Conway have also been past winners. Conway set a course record at last year's event with his time of 15:39:15. GB ultra distance internationals, Lucy Colquhoun holds the women's course record of 17:16:20 which she set in 2007, with Sharon Law and Debbie Martin-Consani also holding some of the fastest women's times on the route along with seven-time winner Kate Jenkins.
Bobby Shields (Clydesdale) and Duncan Watson (Lochaber AC) were the first two runners to challenge themselves over the trail in 1985. The race has since gone on to establish itself as one of the toughest challenges in Britain with organisers trying to replicate the simplicity of Shields and Watson's original challenge while paying heed to the obvious health and safety demands of this gruelling event. There is no prize money on offer, simply the prestige of winning such a demanding race.
Race director Ian Beattie said: "Planning is now well underway for the 2013 event, and we are expecting another high quality race. Last year's record breaking run by Terry Conway, in wet and difficult conditions, was a remarkable performance, and it will be interesting to see if anyone can get close to a record time this year. I am sure we will have another capacity field and look forward to seeing some old and new faces at the start line next June".
Entries are open throughout the calendar month of November, for more information visit the race website.