|West Highland Way Challenge Race|
|Tough & Rugged|
The objective is to run, jog, walk or hobble the 95 mile West Highland Way Route in under 35 hours, from Milingavie. This time may be increased by the organisers in the event of inclement weather (race extentions occurred in the 2015 and 2018 races). The race is scheduled to finish at 11:00am on Sunday 26May 2019 at Fort William.
There are 7 'check points' (roughly 12miles apart), where cut off times have been realistically set to allow the competitor to reach that location at the average speed required to cover the 95 miles, in 35 hours. Also there are 4 additional Water Points.
In addition to the food and drink the race provide, the competitor can if they wish deposit at Registration their own 'Drop-bags' for 3 specific Check Point location. These drop bags will then be transported to 3 Check Point locations, roughly 27 miles apart at Rowardennan, Bridge of Orchy and Kinlochleven. It is recommended the 'drop bags' can contain changes of clothes, shoes etc and personal foods other than that which the race provides.
Drop bags will be transferred to Fort William when the Check Point closes and NOT to the next drop bag location.
The WHW Challenge Race is designed to require no outside assistance other than that provided by the race, accordingly the race provides food, drink and moves drop bags, rucksacks and a finish bag, along with transferring retired competitors to the Fort William.
In other events which use the WHW trail and where vehicle support in a race is manditory, vehicle obstructions by support runners and the hundreds of support vehicles have resulted in so much disruption and acrimony to those who live, work and operate buisnesses along the West Highland Way route, that police have been called to various locations along the WHW regarding these events.
THE RACE ASKS THAT NO SUPPORT PERSONS OR FRIENDS MEET THE COMPETITOR AT 'BEINGLAS FARM CAMPSITE' (41 miles) AS ACCESS IS VERY RESTRICTED
That is why in the WHW Challenge Race does not require 'back up' transport, as there are access problems for support vehicles to many parts of the WHW. In addition the support vehicles also generate inherant dangers to their drivers, passengers and other road users through congestion and sleep depravation. Experience has shown from other races requiring support transport that support vehicle drivers who after 30-hours awake, fell asleep at the wheel and mounted the pavement and roadside verge. Luckily in these instances no one was hurt.
WHAT IS THE 'WHW CHALLENGE RACE' ATTEMPTING TO ACHIEVE?
The organisers are attempting to provide a CHALLENGE to the competitor, that is uncomplicated, cheap, easy and simple, in transversing the whole beautiful scenic West Highland Way route. Also to encourage new people to take part in the joys of 'long distance trail' competition. Trail running is not like marathon running where you turn up and nobody speaks to you, you then run the marathon where again no one speaks during the run and when you finish again no one speaks, and you receive a £1.00 medal and go home. This camaraderie achieved in the races can be seen in the results tables, where so many come in together in pairs or groups.
The WHW Challenge is a simple 95-mile 'point to point' race in 35 hours where enjoying the scenery and having a good workout is the most important factor along with finishing the race. Several of our competitors complete the WHW Challenge Race in under 35 hours, just by steady walking they are not joggers.
The difference to a competitor in taking part, is the WHW Challenge Race is in 'CONFIDENCE' in that it will extend their endurance, their sleep deprivation and hopefully they will dig deep into their resolve and find the inner strength in many cases they did not know they possessed. In one week-end you can find out more about yourself and have a real sense of achievment than most people will find in a year.
The WHW Challenge Race does not set or require superhuman entry requirements. As such the WHW Challenge Race is open to marathon runners, Long Distance Walking Association (LDWA) members, or any other long distance related event competitors, or even if its your first time you may consider entering this challenge to see how you get on and how far you can walk in a oner, basically you don't know until you try. The main point is that the competitor is fit and healthy enough to undertake the 95-mile ultra endurance competition and they are sensible enough to pull out if they are having a bad day.
The final decision on entry, will be up to the discretion of the organisers.
REGISTRATION; CHECK POINTS (CP); and WATER POINTS (WP)
Race food and drink will be provided by the race organisers at the individual Check Points. The food and drink to be provided is detailed below.
In addition to the food provided by the race, competitors will be able to provide their own 'drop bags' at Registration for transportation to the 3 Check Points listed below. These drop-bags will be transported by the organisers to the designated checkpoints and the drop-bags will be transported DIRECTLY to Fort William after the Check Point has closed. The 'USED' drop bags will not accompany the competitor along the route.
RACE REGISTRATION TIME : between 18:00 hrs and 23:00 hrs on Friday 24th May 2019.
NOTE: IF AN 'UNSCHEDULED EMERGENCY OCCURS' AND AN ENTRANT IS GOING TO BE LATE FOR REGISTRATION, THEN PHONE JIM DRUMMOND on 07724 576337 and depending on the lateness we will try and accommodate a late start if we can, but have a good excuse for being late.
REGISTRATION LOCATION : MILNGAVIE TOWN HALL BUILDING , 71 STATION ROAD, MILNGAVIE. G62 8BZ. ( Grid Ref: 556745 )
The Town Hall building is opposite the entrance to the Railway Station Car Park, about 100m from the Railway Station.
REGISTRATION is in the Main Hall, also there is a 'quite room' for the use of competitors who arrive early and want to lie down and rest up before the start.
LIGHT REFRESHMENTS: At Registration tea, coffee and juice will be proivided to the competitors, along with light refreshments.
On registering the competitor will be required to sign a further 'disclaimer form'.
The competitor will then receive a Race Number and that will be required to be displayed on their front, at all times during the race.
The competitor will not be deemed to be out of the race, until their race number is given to a race official. This requirement is for safety reasons.
At Registration competitors will be advised of unrestricted parking locations nearby, where they can park their cars until their return on the Sunday.
'THE RACE BRIEF' The Race Brieff will occurr in the Main Hall at 11:00 p.m.
'DROP BAGS' if used are to be handed in at Registration. If a competitor wish they can deposit 'drop bags' for use at the CHECK POINTS at Rowardennan CP2 (27 miles), Bridge of Orchy Hall CP5 (60 miles) and Kinlochleven CP7 (81 miles). The dop bags may contain personal drinks, food, clothing, shoes, sun block, midge repellant, first aid kit, torches, batteries, Vaseline, Paracetaol, etc.
Bags should be of a type that can be closed again after use to retain the contents for transfer to Fort William.
REMEMBER THE DROP BAGS MUST BE CLEARLY MARKED WITH THE CHECK POINT LOCATION AND THE COMPETITOR'S RACE NUMBER
'FINISH BAG' should be handed in at Registration for transport directly to Fort William. For example, it should contain washing kit, towel, a full change of clothing.
A SMALL LIGHTWEIGHT TENT (1/2 person only) CAN BE PUT IN THE 'FINISH BAG' FOR USE AT THE END OF THE RACE FOR COMPETITOR'S WHO DON'T WANT TO PRE-BOOK ACCOMODATION IN CASE THEY FINISH DURING THE NIGHT. THERE IS PLENTY OF ROOM TO ERRECT A SMALL TENT IN THE GRASS AREAS AT THE FOOTBAL FIELD, WHERE THE RACE FINISHES AND THIS IS AT NO EXTRA COST. ENTRANTS WILL BE FINISHING CARRYING THEIR SLEEPING BAGS ANYWAY. The race week-end is also the English Bank Holiday so hotels, guest houses and hostels are usually full in Fort William and they don't take kindly to people disturbing them at 2:00 a.m. in the night looking for accommodation.
AGAIN THE 'FINISH BAG' MUST BE CLEARLY MARKED WITH THE COMPETITOR'S NAME AND RACE NUMBER
A 'SAFETY RUCKSACK' is required to be handed in at Registration. This will be returned to the competitor at Check Point 5, ( Bridge of Orchy; 60 miles) and is required for safety reasons to be carried by all competitors to the end of the race, in case of immobility. At CP 5 when rucksack is issued, then any bum bags, etc can be left and these will be transported to the Finish. Also this Safety Rucksack is to be carried by those wishing to climb Ben Nevis.
The safety rucksack requires to have have two mandatory items of equipment in it:
ITEM 1 : A minimum 800gram :- 'sleeping bag.'
ITEM 2 : A heavy duty orange type emergency 'Survival Bag'.
Also the rucksack should have enough spare room for the kit the competitor requires to carry in the race e.g.waterproofs, hat, gloves, etc.
The sleeping bag does not need to be waterproof, a simple minimum 800 gram (total bag weight) e.g. a £10 sleeping bag from Sports Direct is sufficient. The same shop sells Survival Bags for £4.99 (£2.49 during sale). These survival bags weigh 270 grams. A lightweight rucksack weighs in at 350 grams.
The total weight is 1.42 kg or 3 lbs 2 oz. Not a lot of weight to carry to save your life, if you are immobilised 2,000 ft up a mountain. If a competitor twists a knee and can't go on, then they can climb into the sleeping bag and then into the survival bag 1m x 2.1m and wait till the race sweepers, or help arrive.
AGAIN THE 'EMERGENCY RUCKSACK' MUST BE CLEARLY MARKED WITH THE COMPETITOR'S NAME AND RACE NUMBER.
As stated above at C.P. 5 (Bridge of Orchy Hall) COMPETITORS can DEPOSIT the bum bag, when they pick up their 'Emergency Rucksack'. The bum bag they have been using up till then will be transported to the finish at Fort William.
'CP' - CHECK POINT LOCATIONS & 'WP' -WATER POINT LOCATIONS
THE RACE START
At the 'WHW Post' START POST in Milngavie town pedestrian centre, Grid 554745,
This location is a 4 minute walk from the Registration site, at the Town Hall.
The Race must start promptly at one second after midnight to accommodate those targeting 'the race in a day'.
THE CHECK POINT 'OPENING TIMES' WILL OCCUR, PRIOR TO THE RACE LEADER
Dist. Location Map C.P. Bag Issues
miles Grid Cut-off
WP1 7m WHW/A81 road crossing 523835
CP1 12m WHW/A811 road crossing (1 km East of Drymen) 482888 04:30am
WP2 19m Balmaha Car Park (rear of Information Centre) 422910
CP2 27m Rowardennan Car Park (near Information Centre) 360986 10:00am Drop Bag
WP3 34m Inversnaid car park ( in front of hotel ) 337089
CP3 41m Beinglas Farm Campsite ('Falloch' cabin) 321186 03:00pm
CP4 50m Auchtertyre Camp Site (new C.P. location) 355290 18:30pm
CP5 60m Bridge of Orchy Hall, 50m before WHW crosses A82. 298396 10:00pm Drop Bag & Safety Rucksack (the hall has a shower)
The Safety Rucksac is issued for remainder of race.
CP6 72m Over old bridge, after Kingshouse Hotel 259547 02:30am
CP7 81m Kinlochleven astroturf pitch building. 183622 06:00am Drop Bag (short 'Sleep Point' if required)
The building is basic, but has toilets, lighting, heating.
WP4 88m Lundavra at the WHW track and road junction 101666
Finish 95m Claggan Football Park, Fort William. 120743 11:00am Finish Bag
AN A4 SIZE INFORMATION SHEET WILL BE ISSUED TO EACH COMPETITOR AT REGISTRATION
The INFORMATION SHEETwill provide the Check Point & Water Point information above,
ALSO the name/s of those covering the various CPs & WPs including their Mobile telephone numbers, in the event if they are needed to be contacted in an emergency. Also the names of the Race Director, Searchers, sweepers, and other officials along with there Mobile Numbers and Emergency Services Numbers will also be provided.
ALSO the directions for the last 1.5 miles to the 'finish' at Claggan Park, from the end of the forest road at Brave Heart Car Park
A list of the competitors and their mobile numbers will also be provided to all the Check Point officials incase competitors need to be contacted.
The 'PRIZE GIVING' will start at 10:30 hrs, on Sunday 26 May 2019 at the finish location.
TRANSPORTATION BACK TO MILNGAVIE or GLASGOW AIRPORT
Due to the number of entrants, the race will lay on a coach/s from Fort William back to Milngavie Train Station and then the coach will proceed on to Glasgow Airport. The cost per traveller is £15, to cover the hire of the coach. The coaches will leave Fort William at 12:00 hrs and arrive Milngavie Train Station car park at approximately 14:30 hrs and Glasgow Airport at approx 15:00 hrs.
'CHECK POINT' & 'WATER POINT' RACE PROVISIONS
'CHECK POINTS' PROVIDE THE FOLLOWING FLUIDS:
Diluting orange juice
Diluting berry juice
Milk - for tea, coffee and cereal.
Cup- a- soup
Hot water for competitors suppliments
CHECK POINTS PROVIDE THE FOLLOWING FOODS:
A vaiety of biscuits.
A variety of sweets.
Assorted packets of crisps,
Assorted fruit mainly, bananas
Sandwiches eg ham, cheese, tomato, banana.
( Hot foods, fruit and cereals will be provided at several Check Points. )
ALL THE 'CHECK POINTS' HAVE: VEHICLES LOCATED AT THEM
The Check Points are marked by a 'Flashing Triangle' and have the following:
A large first-aid kit
A sleeping bag
A stove & kettle for heating foods and drink.
A pot for heating solid foods
Vaseline, paracetamol, tissues
'WATER POINTS' WILL PROVIDE:
'Water Points' in the main are marshaled by the same people as cover the 'Check Points', so the above Check Point foods, drinks and items should be available in their vehicles if you reqiure them. Just ask, as everyone is here to make sure you finish.
IN ADDITION EXTERNAL RACE FACILITIES
There are various hotels, shops and restaurants along the WHW route for example: Inversnaid Hotel, Beinglas Farm has a cafe, the Auchtertyre Camp Site has a cafe. There is the 'Green Welly' cafe and 'Brodies' shop in Tyndrum, Bridge of Orchy Hotel, Inveroran Hotel, and in Kinlochleven there are various shops, hotels and even a 'chip' shop (closes 9:00pm). The opening of the above facilities are dependent on what time the competitor arrives at that location. The race organisations advice is always carry money in any ultra race.
BEN NEVIS CLIMB: ADDITIONAL WHW CHALLENGE RACE OPTION
The WHW Guide Book suggests the ascent of Ben Nevis is a fitting 'GRAND FINALE' to the completion of the West Highland Way. Colin Anderson in the 2018 race also climbed the Ben as the Grand Finale to his race, completing 105 miles and 19,162 ft of ascent in 34 hours 10 minutes.
John Vernon, one of the competitor's, with 15 race completions of the WHW, has requested The WHW Challenge Race, adds the ascending and descending of Ben Nevis into the WHW Challenge Race, as an addition race option and FINALE, for those who wish to do so.
AFTER CAREFUL CONSIDERATION IT WAS AGREED AGREED TO ADD BEN NEVIS INTO THE RACE, FOR THOSE WISHING TO DO SO. (If you take up the option and suffer, blame John Vernon who proposed it, Although in 15 completions of racing the WHW, John has never had the urge to climbed the Ben at the end.
If the competitor reaches the Finish in Fort William within approximatly 30 hours and at the Race Directors discretion. The competitor can continue in an extended race of ascending and descending Ben Nevis. Competitors can be solo, paired, or grouped for the climb depending on weather conditions. The competitor's time will stop at the Finish of the Race and start again when they leave to climb Ben Nevis. An additional Certificate will be awarded to those completing this climb with a total joint time. The Ben Nevis climb would add a further 9 miles and 1,324 metres of cimb to the race, but will not affect the 6 UTMB series points, which are based on a Fort William finish.
BEN NEVIS EQUIPMENT TO BE CARRIED.
Competitors must carry the following on the Ben Nevis Climb:
CLOTHING: waterproof trousers and jacket with hood (not Pertex, or other shower proof only garments), also hat and gloves.
EQUIPMENT: Map; Compass, whistle; mobile phone; two torches with spare batteries for both ( the torches and batteries are 'not' required if starting climb after dawn on the Sunday); a sleeping bag (at least weighing a minimum of 800 grams); a heavy duty 'Emergency Bag' (orange type); 'Yaktrax' style overshoes (as there is still snow and ice on Ben Nevis in May); emergency rations (at least 250 grams); and a First Aid Kit.
A KIT CHECK WILL BE CARRIED OUT BY THE MARSHALS PRIOR TO THE START OF THE CLIMB.
THE RACE DIRECTORS DECISION IS 'FINAL' ON WHETHER THE CLIMB, OR COMPETITOR GOES AHEAD OR NOT, AS PART OF THE RACE. IT WILL BE DEPENDANT ON WEATHER CONDITIONS AND THE STATE OF THE COMPETITOR. NO ATTEMPS WILL BE STARTED LATER THAN 6:00am on the SUNDAY.
The WHW Challenge Race Route
The WHW Challenge race route is the authorised West Highland Way route. The route is indicated in the official, 'West Highland Way Website'. In addition maps of the route are made by Harveys WHW map, or the 'Footprint' WHW map. Remembering the race finishes at Fort William.
1 AT THE ALTERNATE WHW ROUTE LOCATION AT 16 TO 20 MILES THE RACE ROUTE 'GOES OVER CONIC HILL'
2. AT THE ALTERNATE WHW ROUTE LOCATION AT 28.5 to 31 MILES (This is 1.5 miles after Rowardennan ) THE RACE ROUTE 'GOES THE EAST ROUTE ( THE HIGH FOREST ROAD TRAIL)' If you take the other path route, via Rowchoish Bothy it will bring you back onto the WHW trail 2.5 miles later, but you will loose about 15 to 20 minutes.