Entries open at 7pm tomorrow (Wednesday, 20 March), for one of Scotland’s most iconic hill races.
Organised by Deeside Runners, the Lairig Ghru is a category C Long Hill Race run over 43km (26 miles) between the police stations of Braemar and Aviemore.
This classic race, whose 2018 edition was filmed for the BBC’s Adventure Show, takes place in a spectacular setting and follows the historic drove road connecting Strathspey and Deeside.
The unmarked route
is a mix of road, forest trails and rocky single track, and rises to 2733 feet between some of the highest peaks in Britain.
As with any event of this type, the Lairig Ghru demands more than just fitness from competitors. The Luibeg burn can be challenging when in spate, and runners must negotiate the infamous boulder field at the Pools of Dee. Good navigational skills may also be required in adverse weather.
Those hoping to take on the challenge should typically be capable of a sub four-hour road marathon and be confident of completing the race in six.
Runners are also expected to be self sufficient – and carry the required kit – but there are drink stations at Mar Lodge and Derry Lodge.
In fairness to other runners, organisers state that competitors taking longer than six cannot be guaranteed coach transport back to Braemar.
In addition, there is a 1hr 30m cut off point at Derry Lodge. Runners not through within this time will be asked to return to Braemar.
The current course records are held by Murray Strain (2:58:10) and Lucy Colquhoun (3.32.28) from 2006.
A significant proportion of the race fees are donated to the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team and any additional donations are appreciated.