West Highland Way Challenge Race
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About the race

 

OVERVIEW

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 (this extention occurred in the 2015 race). The race is scheduled to finish at 11:00am on Sunday 28 May 2017 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, Tyndrum 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 directly to Fort William when the Check Point closes.


SUPPORT VEHICLES

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 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 race where again no one speaks, then you finish and no one speaks to you, and you receive a £1.00 medal and go home.

The WHW Challenge is a simple 95-mile 'point to point' race in 35 hours where camaraderie is the most important factor along with finishing the race. Many long distance walkers will complete the West Highland Way in under 35 hours, just by steady walking.

The difference to a competitor in taking part, is the WHW Challenge Race 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 superhuman entry requirements, as none are required. 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, basically you do not 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 once the Check Point has closedThe 'USED' drop bags will not accompany the competitor along the route.


REGISTRATION.

RACE REGISTRATION TIME : between 18:00 hrs and 23:00 hrs on Friday 26th May 2017. ( Regisration will remain open until 23:50 hrs in an an emergency only)                                               

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 rest up. 

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.

'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), Tyndrm CP4 (53 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..
REMEMBER THE DROP BAGS MUST BE CLEARLY MARKED WITH C.P. 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. 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, ( Inveroran Hotel; 62 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.
Note:  
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.

NOTE:-
At C.P. 5 COMPETITORS can DEPOSIT the bum bag, ruckssack ect that they have been using up till then and these will be transferred 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.
         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    

WP3
  34m   Inversnaid car park ( in front of hotel )                            337089

CP3    41m   Beinglas Farm Campsite ('Falloch' cabin)                         321186      03:00pm

CP4
   53m    Tyndrum Village Hall (200m after Brodies shop)               329308      07:30pm
                    [the hall has toilets, kitchen and a large hall]   

CP5
   62m    Inveroran Hotel, rear of 'adjacent' hotel bar building.        273414     11:00pm
                   The Safety Rucksack issued for remainder of race.

CP6
   72m    Over old bridge, next to Kingshouse Hotel                        259547     02:30am   

CP7    81m    Kinlochleven astroturf pitch building.                               183622     06:00am
                    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


Note:
Prior to the start of the race all the competitors will be provided with the above CP & WP information, including 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.
A list of the competitors and their mobile numbers will also be provided to all the Check Point officials.

The 'PRIZE GIVING' will start at 10:30 hrs, on Sunday 28 May 2017


TRANSPORTATION BACK TO MILNGAVIE
Due to the number of entrants, the race will lay on two coachs from Fort William back to Milngavie. The cost per traveller is £15, to cover the hire of the coach, which are 49 seaters with toilet's. The names of competitors who have reserved and paid for a seat on the coach are displayed in the RESULTS and ENTRIES page. The coach will leave Fort William at 12:00 hrs and arrive Milngavie Train Station car park at approximately 14:30 hrs.


'CHECK POINT' & 'WATER POINT'  RACE PROVISIONS

'CHECK POINTS'  PROVIDE THE FOLLOWING FLUIDS:

Water
Coca- Cola
Diluting orange juice
Diluting berry juice
Tea
Coffee,
Hot Chocolate,
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
Cheese savouries.
Noodles
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 is 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
Spare torches
Vaseline, paracetamol, tissues

'WATER POINTS' WILL PROVIDE:
Water
Diluting Juice
Note: 
'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, Beingglas Farm cafe at Inverarnan, The 'Green Welly' cafe and  'Brodies' shop in Tyndrum, Bridge of Orchy Hotel, Inveroran Hotel, Kings House Hotel and in Kinlochleven there are various shops, hotels and even a 'chip' shop (closes 9:00pm). The opening of the above facilities is 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.
John Vernon, one of the competitor's,  with 12 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, for those who wish to do so.
AFTER CAREFUL CONSIDERATION IT HAS BEEN AGREED TO ADD BEN NEVIS INTO THE RACE, FOR THOSE WISHING TO DO SO. (If you take up the option and suffer, blame John)  

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 will normally be paired, or grouped for the climb. 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 4 (old) /6 (new) 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 RACE DIRECTOR 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.


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.

NOTE:            
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
THE RACE ROUTE 'GOES THE EAST ROUTE ( THE HIGH FOREST ROAD TRAIL)' 
 

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