A starting list of 800, including some of ultra-running’s finest athletes, will compete at the 2017 Highland Fling on Saturday (29 April). The race along the West Highland Way is arguably the UK’s biggest and most competitive ultra-distance event.
Last year, as host to the GB trial and the Scottish Ultra Trail Championships, the Fling attracted a depth of talent never seen before in the UK ultra. Both the men’s and ladies’ course records were smashed by Donnie Campbell and Beth Pascall respectively.
2017 will see representation from Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Poland, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, New Zealand, Australia, Russia, South Africa, USA, UAE, India and China.
The 53-mile distance is long enough to challenge the most experienced of runners, but it’s short enough to unearth some raw new talent. It’s especially popular for ultra-newbies and speedy marathon and hill runners moving up to ultras.
runABC’s Alex Osborne (Westerlands) will be among those tackling the 53 miles having last year competed in the relay. Alex is hoping to keep up with his training partner, Angela Reid (North Ayrshire Athletics Club), who has been named as ‘one to watch’ on the official race preview.
“I am thoroughly looking forward to what will be my longest ultra to date by 13 miles,” Alex explained.
“The route is fantastic – and the atmosphere and camaraderie of the Fling runners will see me through any difficult patches. My training partner being named on the ‘ones to watch’ list was great to read. Hopefully I can keep up with her.
“I feel fully prepared for it – it’s too late now to do anything additional if I wasn’t! Back-to-back marathons in Rome and Paris were a very nice part of my spring training, with some additional mileage in Milan and Geneva in between. Some good long 30+ mile runs on trails and hills have also been added in there.
“Some of the guys running, are going to copy the ladies and have their nails painted especially for the race – and I’ve been offered the loan of a collie pup to run down the finish line red carpet with!”
Further information is available on the Highland Fling website.