500 adventure runners descended on the stunning Isle of Arran earlier in April (Saturday 13 and Sunday 14), for the second edition of The Ultra Tour of Arran, the audacious 100km off-road adventure running challenge organised by Rat Race Adventure Sports.
Although there was an option to take on the challenge of ‘only’ the day one course (45km), this year every last runner signed up for the full two-day 100km ultra distance, complete with an overall vertical gain of 10,679 feet.
Day one (between four and eight hours of running) was again characterised by quiet paths, forest trails, some boardwalk sections, some tarmac sections through villages and a lot of forest dirt roads.
Day two (between six and 12 hours of running) was, like last year, virtually all off-road with some serious mountain sections, where the going is decidedly rough underfoot. There were several scheduled pit stops interspersed on the route each day, for much needed rest and refuelling.
Interest in the event was substantially up from last year, with a 50 percent increase in numbers on the inaugural UTA of 2018. Of the 500 runners who took part, at least 445 travelled to the west coast island from outside Scotland – including from the rest of the UK, Denmark, Netherlands, Dubai, Germany, France, USA, Canada and Belgium – in order to experience the mythical isle that has been described as 'Scotland in miniature'.
Matthew Aymard from Newcastle was the first male to cross the finish line on day two in a total time of 10 hours and 39 minutes (Day 1: 4 hours 6 minutes; Day 2: 6 hours 33 minutes).
Joasia Zakrzewski from Dumfries was the first female to finish in a total time of 11 hours 51 mins (Day 1: 4 hours 32 minutes; Day 2: 7 hours 19 minutes).
The third edition of the Ultra Tour of Arran
, also limited to 500 runners, will be held 4-5 April 2020.
Image: Leo Francis/Rat Race Adventure Sports